Archive | May, 2014

So What’s New…?

28 May


Most excitingly, the blue guitar…006 Which John bought for my birthday. Big thank you John – I love it!

As a lapsed pianist, I have been missing making music. Piano into a boat won’t go but thought a guitar would, so went along to the shop in Sawbo for a free taster session to see if I had any aptitude for strumming. Whilst I didn’t find it easy to hold correctly, let alone make music, I thought that, with practice, it would come.

I relayed this to the John and off we dinced to Gig Gear in Harlow (mega music store with hundreds of guitars to choose from) to set me up with an instrument on which to learn. Initially I thought the choice would be overwhelming but then this bright blue specimen spoke to me and I had to have it. Fortunately for John it was not one of the expensive ones and was duly purchased, along with complimentary set of strings and a handful of plectrums.

Even as we loaded it into the car, the guy from the music shop called me to see if I wanted to sign up for further lessons. He must be psychic! I was so impressed with his swift follow up that I agreed to 7 lessons, to commence this coming Monday.

In the meantime I am learning the exercises he gave me, diligently plucking away twice a day for 20 minutes or so – I’ve even cut the nails on my left hand really short to make holding the strings down easier. And I’m getting there. And I’m really enjoying it too.

So that’s a result.

Chestnut Avenue finally came about…003001 Close up… 100_3167And from the other end…100_3166 100_3164 100_3163 These last three being taken only a couple of days sooner but the difference is very noticeable. Though am not convinced that any of these these pics really do it justice. Still, gives you a flavour/some idea of what I was raving about. Maybe. The last one is, if nothing else, an interesting shot of a moody sky, a fork in the road – with a signpost – and the best side of my car.

The veggie patch is coming along…003 Really looking forward to sampling some of the broad beans. Love ’em. Have added some marigolds for colour along the front edge. There’s lots of buds waiting for the sun to appear and open them up so will do another pic when we have some blooms.

Extra radish and courgette have been planted in pots…004 005 Along with Nasturtiums…002 Which aren’t looking great but maybe with time..?.

And have hung up some bird feeders too…001 Already attracting some attention. Need more.

Lucky John has been given a car by a very nice man and good friend. It’s a very nice car…001 Which almost went through the MOT – just needs a couple of tyres, rear caliper freeing off and washer pump made to work. Nothing serious. We’ve sourced some very reasonable/inexpensive part worn tyres and, with luck, John will be able to fix the other stuff. He’s busy with that right now.

Speaking of tyres, cars and the fixing of…

Last Thursday I drove John to the airfield where he parks the aeroplane when down on the boat. He was ready to fly back to the fens for a day or two but the S10 had other ideas.

A flat tyre…005 Pumped it up but lost more air as we watched so was considered unsafe to fly. That is to say if flat by the time he came to land on the farm, unsafe to land, given the 10ft dyke on one side of the strip – you get the picture!! So off with the wheel…006 And off to the bike shop for a puncture repair kit. By this time the weather had deteriorated so went into Bishop’s Stortford to upgrade my phone at the 3 shop. I am now the proud owner of a Nexus 5 Android phone and, so far, am getting along very nicely with it – the old Samsung was about to die on me I suspect.

When we returned to the car park – guess what – my car also had a puncture!! Can you believe it, 2 punctures in as many hours.

When you live on a boat, the car boot tends to get packed out with stuff. Said stuff then has to be unpacked to get at the spare, which is stowed handily under the floor (and all the junk). My job then before wheel can be changed and John’s job after that.

Fortunately, the rain that soaked us when we arrived in BS had gone away so job done. Then I re-packed the boot. Really must have a sort out.

What a day.

And then there’s the little boat.

And when I say little… 100_3194_stitch Perhaps this picture gives you an idea of scale. It is standing next to a 60 footer ┬áhere, once you pick her out – just right of centre if you are struggling.

But more of that in the next post. Deserves one all of its own I reckon – lots of pics, progress made and ideas.

Coming very soon.

When is a Lemon not a Lemon..? (An antidote to all those marvellous boat fit-out blogs)

4 May

This is what we hope to find out.

But first, we need to do a little detective work, solve a few mysteries and partake in some tracking and tracing.

Stop talking in riddles I hear you say. What on earth am I on about?

Let me explain.

John has bought a little boat. A 25 footer…002

Made of concrete, or more correctly, ferro-cement, which we hope isn’t, but fear may well be, a pup/pig in a poke/lemon.

I plan to chart our progress (or otherwise) with pictures and words so do stay tuned and follow this scary journey, this being the first instalment, I suspect, of many.

She was filled with water when we first looked at her; the tiny wood stove being knee-deep in it…100_3100

And there must have been a few gallons under the engine…100_3101

See the paint can floating just the other side of the cabin door?

As the stern was completely open to the elements all winter, despite (interestingly) the entire rest of the boat being covered in a tarp…100_3104


It’s hardly surprising.

That’s what we told ourselves anyway.

It’s a real pretty boat though…078

If not a little unusual…006

The wooden frames on the roof are actually the bones of a windscreen that was started (but not finished) by the last owner.They have – we think – been designed to fit onto the woodwork that is fitted all around the stern.

It’s a feature I’m not sure about and, for now, am calling the garden fence. Time will tell though and it could be that, when finished, it’ll be the bee’s knees (John thinks so) or maybe an abomination of the first order (I’m leaning this way).

Someone else’s empties by the way.

First job for the John was to syphon out the bulk of the water, then we could employ my marvellous aqua vac to hoover up the rest. At least we’d then be able to properly see what we were up against.

Then I (being Mrs. Sensible) declared that we must remove all the shite and detritis, which we did by tossing most of it over the side – to be sifted through and sorted later…002 (4) 003 (3)

Now whilst this may look like a heap of junk/untidy mess to you and me, believe me, this is not out of place in this marina. Fits right in with the character of the place.

It’s John heaven. He will have hours of fun going through this lot at a later stage, no doubt discovering many treasures and a whole raft of things he didn’t know he didn’t want. Trust me and watch this space for future finds.

With Health and Safety being on the top of John’s list, he being its most ardent exponent, he set about constructing a secure boarding platform…004 (2)

I doubt he would have bothered but, needing Mrs Mop here on board (in every sense), realised this was essential.

Naturally, I am now reassured so here goes…100_3099

Into the abyss.

We took these out before John started drinking…005 (2)

And this…081

Full of course.

So, that done, what do we have?

Well, there was an engine under all that rubble…077

An air-cooled Lister SL3, which may be overkill but can’t wait to hear it run, though bits are missing or not connected so could be fun. John has already made a smart cranking handle…002 (5)

As yet, there is no battery.

A cosy cabin…067



That works!…076

Nice butler sink…068

Although no hole cut to cupboard below, let alone pipes.

Have you spotted a theme yet? As in lots of things started but not finished.

A future shower/wet room…070

Opening windows…066

And the stove may be tiny…064

And needing much TLC, not to mention some serious wire brushing and stove paint.

But it works wonderfully well…004

We are keeping it in as much as possible in order to dry out the boat’s insides.

It’s doing a damned good job of it so far, though some of the woodwork is going to need attention – nothing a good scrub/coat of paint won’t fix.

My home-making tendencies and talents are crying out to be employed – I can make this ship good and ship-shape, cosy and home – and am keen to get cracking on it.


The water has been syphoned and hoovered but still seems to seep back into little pools on the floor.

This is where the detective work comes in. Is it just innocent and slow running, to stop once it is ready?

Or do we have a leak?

To be fair, the little concrete boat does have a bit of a history according to the boys around here that knew its previous owner. Apparently it cruised down from Bishop’s Stortford to here – no more than 4 miles – then was rather hastily hauled onto the slipway as was taking on water.

So, is it a lemon? Our latest discovery would have one thinking it is…002 (3)

The jury is still out but BB is getting that sinking feeling.

What do you think?