Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Rooftop Jacuzzi

It's rained, and rained, and rained... again. The worst spring, since last spring. We feel sorry for families who have hired a narrowboat for Easter. 1000+ pounds to sit inside and watch the rain cascade down the windows.

Our new view (and it's not raining!)
We're still enjoying living here, very much. Peter, and the marina staff have been extremely kind, in letting us stay on through the start of the boating season. We realise we're a 54ft floating steel problem for them, so we're trying to be as discreet as we can be, on our bigass boat.

If the sun comes out, so will a million boaters, all wanting to get on the river at the same time. Mayhem. So we're tucked away by the duck and swan feeding area, where we won't bother anyone. Having the 'general public' walking so close to the boat is also good practice for us, for when we are (eventually) out on the towpath. Sumo hasn't woofed at anybody yet. Though he always does when somebody taps on the roof. Good boy.

And, living underneath the crane, there's never a dull moment. This is what happened yesterday...

Yes, if you are extremely rich, you can get your swimming pool pre-fabricated, craned into the river, towed upstream, and personally delivered to your swanky riverside residence.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

How's Sumo?

Our good friend wEBBY wanted to know how Sumo is..

Sumo in actionHe's fine. and settled into the boat and river life very well. Hoisting him up the stepladder when we were out of the water wasn't such a problem. And now we're back in the water, he can just step on and off again. He loves climbing out the back door, and seeing water + ducks right in front of him. Always a fresh novelty, it seems.

We stuck to his normal feeding, exercise and nap routines from when we were living in a house. So he's the ideal weight. He's fit, healthy, and happy. People often remark that he's such a friendly and cheerful dog. Which he is. He's always making us laugh with his antics. We can even forgive him for the rolling in poo, because he's so adorable. Everybody loves their pets, but Sumo really is special. We feel lucky. But now he's hassling me for a walk..

slowly learning to drop things he's retrieved

I'm on a boat..

...take a good hard lookHumourous YouTube Video
Please do not click if you're easily offended.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Magnet Fishing

clang... splosh....

Maplins Suitcase Satellite KitSheena wasn't terribly impressed when I knocked our new satellite dish into the thames within an hour of setting it up. It bounced off of the rear deck, careened into the poo coloured water, and aquaplaned off into the depths with a certain tragic inevitability which only an ancient Greek playwright could fully express.

Thankfully, I managed to redeem myself (a little bit), by retrieving it with the boat magnet. I also fished out a counterweight for a sash window, some wire, and a couple of rusty nails.

Our magnet
Sheena's now thinking of taking up magnet fishing for a hobby.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Back We Go

We were slightly alarmed to see the crane coming extremely close to the boat. So we departed, and then it started to rain. And rain. And rain. And rain. It chucked it down all day, culminating in a lightning storm directly overhead. Thankfully, it moved off towards london, where big black angry clouds are much more at home.

whoaaaa there..
Seen it so many times, we're getting quite blase about it now. But Dogma was craned up off the sleepers, and down into the water with all the skill & grace that people who do this every day for their living, get accustomed to. Nothing was moved around inside, at all. No paint was chipped or flaked off. And we're still floating. Big success all round.

strops ongently, ladsup she risesearly in the morning

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Duck on a Plank

Today was our last day out of the water. Finished up in the engine bay, ready for the exhaust system, and new battery bank to be fitted. And the engine to be craned back in.

shiny bilgegrey grey or greylovely new drip tray
Steve also connected the gas cylinders to his re-installed (and 100% safe) pipes, so we can now use the gas oven and hob to cook whole meals for ourselves, rather than just warming stuff up on top of the stove. Home cooked food has made a big difference to our comfort level.

We're still wary of using gas in an enclosed space, but we're now comfortable with changing the cylinders, turning them on or off, and clicking frantically with the gas lighter to spark the oven up. It's propane too, so Hank Hill would be happy..

We are Proud Propane users
Sheena also saw a Duck surfing past on a plank. Which made her smile. Little things. But they help keep us happy. (sorry no picture of that, it happened too quickly).

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Choosing a Font

Our friend Phil asked if we're going to have a visible name.

a couple of deco examples
Yes, Ten letters and a discreet shadow shouldn't be too horrendously expensive.

We'll need to employ a professional signwriter, because a dropshadow effect is beyond my painting capabilities, and self adhesive lettering looks cheezy. We deliberately chose a short name so there would only be a few letters to paint.

We've both decided we'd like 'an art deco font', but we're not sure which one. There are lots of them available. When the decision has been reached, we knock up what we want in Photoshop, and a good signwriter should be able to copy from that.

Final Coats

Body clock woke me up at 8:07am
Was out there, paintbrush in hand at 8:30.

Finished Green ~ Sides.
Finished Black ~ Hull.
Finished Grey ~ Bilge.

It started out as another beautiful sunny day. And I got the timing just right, because when I'd finished painting the grey, it started to heave down with rain.

Everything external has been painted now.
Re-attached the fenders.

Job Done.

114ft of dead masking tapecheck out the reflection....of our shiny donegal greenbilge paint ~ extremely nasty toxic stuff

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dog in a Bag

lab in a bag
After a walk place your dog in the open bag and once the zip is closed to the velcro adjustable collar the drying process begins. Heat from the dog's body speeds up the process and any movement helps to clean off mud and dirt.

Smiths Country Pursuits

Thinking of getting Sumo one of these for his birthday.
Don't know how easy "placing" him into the bag will be.

Black & Green

Slapped on another coat of bitumen black, all around. It was stiff, and harder on the arms than the first layer. But, it took less time to complete. We've got about 1/2 a tin left, so I'll give it a third (and final) going over, tomorrow.

Then I was twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do next. Got out the Green, and got a bit carried away with the Zen of it all. Managed to avoid a masking tape disaster this time, and completely finished down one side.

Did not mess it upAll gone tarnished paintHoping it doesn't rain tomorrow, so I can do the other side.

Sorry about the picture quality. It had clouded over, by the time I'd finished, and the light wasn't great.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Harmony II

Richie's little narrowboat.
Value: Unknown.

He capsized when too many people climbed aboard for a lift back from the pub across the river, but managed to refloat her by using an old oak tree for leverage. I think it's one of the cutest boats in here. It's got loads of 'character', which the shiny executive toy boats seem to lack.

Nice Sit Down

Today is brought to you by the colour "Blue", and the number "2".

It was a beautiful morning, and the sun was providing a lot of warmth, when I cracked the hatch at 8am. Was delighted to find that for once, I'd beaten them all to it. I was the first one out there working. Plan 'A' didn't go so well, because I overdid it with the fairy liquid. Bubbles everywhere. Plan 'B' (just some hot water) worked a lot better, and I'd scraped off the masking tape gunk by about 9.30am. Then a quick slap of 'Mauritius Blue' with a one inch brush, and nobody would ever know what had happened.

over the bridge
Seeing as the blue paint was opened, I whizzed round, and gave everything that was a similar colour, a second coating. I also slapped it on thickly in the well deck, because that's where the chain will live, and chains kill paintwork. Finished painting by 3pm, and realised I was completely knackered.

freshly painted well deckmiddle of roof ~ looking aftprofessional two tone masking
So I had a nice sit down by the river. Watched the Swans, who never seem to sleep (there was one drifting past at 3am in the morning), and the Ducks fighting (they spin round and round in circles). Listened to Debussy, and enjoyed some coffee & nicotine. Everybody was in a summer mood, and of course, Peter wore his shorts.

hungry swan
Inside the boat, it was like a greenhouse! Lovely and warm. Had to open all the windows & doors to get some air in.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Shrink Wrap

shrink wrapped boatRichie says our neighbour (the 'Atlantis 42') is being shrink wrapped in clingfilm, craned onto a lorry, and tranported via road up to Scotland. Just the wrapping alone, costs £800! So it's going to be a very expensive journey for the owner. I suppose they can afford it though.

Will try and get some pictures when it happens.
It's not exactly something you see every day.

Mushroom Mushroom

Painted the roof shrooms, and the safety handrails.

shiny roof shroomAnd while I had the green brush in my hand, I touched up the tired looking cabin sides, to get rid of the tar from the stove. The rest of the green can wait until we're back in the water. It's an easy enough job, and will be quite pleasant in the sunshine.

all gone tar from stove
According to the iPhone's weather app, it is going to heave it down with rain all weekend. So I hustled Richie to finish off our new deckboards. The last thing I need right now, is four inches of water sloshing around in the bilge again. They are quite 'bouncy', but much easier to lift then the old heavier boards. I jumped up & down on them. They flexed a bit. But I didn't end up in the engine 'ole. Success.

lovely new deckboardsSo, now there isn't a patch of undercoat anywhere in sight. Everything on the boat has had at least one coat of paint on it. Tomorrow is the time to slap on the second.. before my hands sieze up completely from holding brushes all the time.

Badger Badger Badger

17 years ago ~ Today

BDP released this...

bytes ~ Black Dog ProductionsRecorded in a bedroom at Mile End, London, E3.
Feels like 3 lifetimes have passed since then.

Here is a website about our NEW ALBUM

Masking Tape

108ft of stuck on tape to removeDo not use in Direct Sunlight
Remove within 4 hours

Guess who painted the roof in direct sunlight?
And left the tape on overnight?

Arggghhh.... Shouldn't have boasted about my professional techniques. Now I have a one inch nightmare to deal with. Google turned up two solutions, which I'll try out tomorrow...
Start with an easy one using some warm water and a damp cloth. Wet the cloth and rub it over the dried-out tape, moistening it. Allow the moisture to work for a few minutes, then carefully peel back the tape. The warm, moist water should help soften the glue and the paper tape will peel off.
Did you ever start a painting job and then have to set it aside only to find that when you came back, the masking tape would not come off without doing damage to the surface it was stuck to? Here's an easy way to get it off. Use a hairdryer! Hold the hairdryer just three or four inches away from the tape. The heat will soften the adhesive as you gently pull it off. This technique will work on almost any kind of tape, and remove it from wallpaper, paint, wood finishes or even furniture.
Richie agreed that the roof colour "ain't navy".
I think they should have called it 'Kingfisher Blue'.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Bigger the Boat...

"... the bigger the arsehole."
(Alan's general rule of thumb).

Lovely sunny morning. But, by the time I'd finished enjoying my two coffee kickstart, the marina dwellers had been out there for two full hours with their paintbrushes. Felt like a late starter, so I was determined to steam through the jobs today. The sun helped dry everything out, and it was a real joy to be outside in the double digit weather.

Job 1 ~ Slapped more rust killer all over the engine bay. Was very happy when it worked within 10 minutes. The bilge is now ready for some "Danboline", it's top coat of oil and fume resistant paint.

Job 2 ~ Professionally masked up, and put 2 coats of nonslip deck paint on the roof. Unfortunately, it's the lightest 'navy blue' I've ever seen in my life. It will be cooler in summer, but it also highlights the areas where more grinding should have been done. At some stage, the whole roof is going to have to go back to bare metal. But I don't have time to do it now. It looks much better than it did, but it's not the great cover up, I'd hoped for.

Job 3 ~ Put first coat on front doors, and rear railings.

Job 4 ~ Painted inside of the Gas lockers, with the 'Rylard' paint that was knocking about. Because red oxide primer is porous, and I didn't want to have to do the whole job again in six months.

Job 5 ~ Painted second coat of red oxide primer in well deck. Ready for topcoats.

Job 6 ~ Painted 1st layer of dark blue topcoat, all around boat. I can see why the paint is so expensive now. It was great to paint with. It went a long way, and didn't sag, or show brush strokes at all. I'll have to slap some more on, but it's already gleaming. "She looks great from across the river", Peter said.

dogma's paint workshopnew roof ~ navy blue???newly painted sides
newly painted stern
Throughout the day, I was complimented on my hard work, and unusual painting method ... with a brush! Seems most people just roller it on. But I've always favoured the brush. You have more control, and you waste less paint, because you're not spraying it all over yourself in the process.

Found all the praise a little embarrassing to take, but I know I've done the best job I could have done, so I can accept it with good grace. The jobs I've completed haven't taken any great skill on my part, just all the many hours needed to see them through to completion.

I am the log King of Bourne EndFinished up the day with Broccoli and Stilton soup, accompanied by crusty brown rolls. hmmmmm...

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Oh Dear

Was queueing up in the chip shop. When the bloke in front of me, ordered a Cornish Pasty. Oh No!!! I couldn't tell him they were the spawn of the devil, without getting myself banned. And where would I get my chips from then? Shame on me. I remained silent.

I doubt he enjoyed it.

Ginsters ~ Better than Nowt

Paint it Black

"Why aren't you using a roller to do that?"
Because I want it on the boat, not all over me.

Blakes Bitumen VarnishSo, today was my first encounter with 'Bitumen Varnish'. The sun was out, and it was surprisingly easy to slap on, with my 4" brush. When the sun went in, it thickened up, noticably. But it wasn't as stiff and difficult to use, as I'd anticipated. One 5 litre tin was enough to go all the way around. But this is only the first coat of three. I'm hoping to give it a day between coats, to dry out properly. Which should also help minimise the brush tugging, and be less tiring on my arms.

The hull is looking much better now. Visibly gleaming.
Amazing the difference a quick slap of paint can make.