Wednesday 24 December 2008

Yes, it's us.....

We are staying with Mum in Northampton for Christmas, and decided to take a drive out to Foxton to see if we could find nb Caxton as we thought it was time we met. As we were walking along the towpath a duvet on legs accompanied by a lady carrying Christmas pressys came towards us. 'Morning' says we, 'Morning', says they. 'Wonder if that's Lesley', said Rog. We walked on a bit and came to Caxton, where we found Joe, and introduced ourselves, to be told that Lesley was helping Jill from nb Matilda Rose load up the car as they we going off to Norfolk for Christmas. Lesley (minus duvet) returned to the boat and we were kindly invited in for a look, and a very welcome cup of tea. Cassie had to be dragged on board at the bow as she took exception to the generator chugging away on the stern. Caxton is a beautiful boat, and Lesley and Joe are very happy with her. We spent a very pleasurable hour or two having a good old natter - we felt like we'd known them for ages.
And, unlike Lesley's, our camera was fully charged so here's one of me with Joe and Lesley, and Fletcher, Floyd and Cassie (Fletcher and Floyd are beautiful, and so well behaved - please can we swap ours for one of yours, Lesley). Thanks both for your hospitality, and we look forward to seeing you next summer 'on the cut'.

We also took a photo of nb Matilda Rose, but Jill and Graham had left for Norfolk by the time we dragged ourselves away so no photo of them, however, it was nice to meet them both and hopefully we will get to know them better when we next meet.

Thursday 18 December 2008

Progress report

We had a call from Beacon to ask if we could go up this week and chose the galley tiles from their supplier in Loughborough. They needed to know what size tiles we wanted so that they could determine the height of the bulkhead between the galley and the dinette. Of course we had to call in first to find out where we were going. We were amazed at how fast things were moving along - all the lining is in, the ceiling is almost finished, and all the bulkheads (apart from the galley/dinette one) are up. And very good it is looking too!! We are increasingly glad that we decided to go with maple walls and ceiling as it has a beautiful finish and, according to Ali and Neil, is a pleasure to work with. The photos show it looking a bit paler than it is, but that is just the flash on the camera - it has a honey tone. We have chosen oak for the floor and the framing around the doors, side-hatches, portholes, Houdinis etc as we didn't want it to be too bland - we think the contrast will be lovely!
Looking from the galley towards the bathroom

Bedroom/bathroom bulkhead from the bedroom

From the bedroom into the front well-deck

Bulkhead from bathroom to bedroom

The 'all important' khasi!

No more curries, chillis or kebabs for us then!

Or this will be full before we know it!

The calorifier

After we'd had a good look around we set of for the tile supplier - we chose the galley tiles, and also the bathroom tiles - unfortunately we left the camera in Beacon's workshop so we unable to take any photos of our choices, but will post them at a later date when they have been delivered. While we were having another coffee and a chat with Ali and Neil, an Aquafax delivery van arrived with the oven, hob, boat-hook and pole, freezer and various other bits and pieces. We will be going up again early in the New Year - I think it's about time that they had some time off, so we won't expect too much progress. although knowing Neil he'll be beavering away long before the rest of us have recovered from the festivities!

Sunday 7 December 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

On Wednesday, the man with the compressor arrived at Beacon to spray-foam the insulation.
Ali kindly took these photos for me and emailed them as we won't be able to get down again for a look until the week after next - thanks Ali.

The electrics all taped up and ready to go

Foaming in progress - looks like the blizzard that the north of England suffered on Thursday!

Finished and looking all Chritmassy!

Starting to cut back the foam to expose the battens and electrics again

The line-out is started underneath the gunwhales

Sunday 30 November 2008

Fitting-out commences.....

We went to Beacon on Saturday to ok the wiring setup. As you can see from the photos, they have made a good start - the ballasting is done, and the sub-floor is down, the battenning is finished, and the wiring is all but completed ready for the spray foam insulation to be done on Wednesday.

Looking towards the stern

Looking towards the bow

XR & D's hull number

The engine

Monday 24 November 2008

Narrowboat World

Rog was reading Narrowboat World on Saturday, and found a review of nb Merryweather, written by Pam Pickett, who had attended Beacon Boats' Open Day. The review was great, Beacon Boats was praised as "rapidly establishing a reputation not only in the best traditions of boat building as an ‘honest broker’ but for superb customer service before, during and after the build. " I must say that we agree whole-heartedly, and feel very lucky to have found them - purely by chance. Having read a review of one of their earlier boats - nb Golcar Lily, in Canalboat magazine, I emailed them to find out what the make of oven and hob was, as it was just what I wanted. We were subsequently invited to their Open Day which was happening the following weekend, and, the rest, as they say, is history!

I spoke to Neil at Beacon on Saturday - he says that the battening is almost finished, and the ballast and sub-floor is down. We will be finalizing the electrics this week, and will probably go up again next Saturday for a look - I will ask Ali to send me a couple of photos meantime.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

We are proud to announce Windsong's safe arrival.....

6.30am this morning saw us on the road in filthy weather on our way to watch Windsong's arrival at Beacon. Now, normally for me there is only one 6.30 in a day, and it's not in the morning - but I managed to put a matching pair of socks on, so that's an acheivement! It was still raining when we got there, as you can see from the spots on the first few pictures, but it stopped just as the work was beginning, thank goodness.

The arrival

It was so early because they make double use of the crane and the lorry, and Windsong's predecessor in the workshop - nb Merryweather - was to be launched at Pillings Lock Marina at 10am. Space is tight outside the workshop so it was an amazing feat of juggling. Merryweather was pulled out of the workshop yesterday on rollers (rather like the pyramids were built, with the rear roller being moved to the front when it became free)

Merryweather waiting patiently

Windsong waiting on the lorry
Windsong was then craned off the lorry onto sleepers - very scary as there was an alarming tip as they hadn't got the slings in the correct place at the beginning.
Going up!

And up!

And down!
Merryweather was then craned up and swung through 180 degrees onto the lorry, swinging over the top of Windsong at one point.

Don't drop it now or we'll have a double decker!

And down safe over the lorry! Phew

Windsong was then craned up, and also swung around through 180 degrees onto the rollers that had just been vacated - this time they got the balance right first time



Around a bit more


A bit more

Just about there
She was then pushed all the way in with a digger!!

They all did a grand job in such tight confines - you could tell they'd done it before! Thanks guys and gals!

After another cup of coffee, and another stage payment made, we were on our way for a McDonald's Sausage and Egg Mc Muffin - that's blown the diet again then!

Considering that we did no work at all this morning, by the time we got home again just after 11am we were exhausted - pity Rog had to go to work this afternoon! We shall be up again within a couple of weeks to ok the wiring setup before the foam insulation is sprayed so watch this space - things will really start moving now!

Thursday 30 October 2008

She's looking grand....

We didn't manage to make it up to XR & D this week as other commitments got in the way, but the lads have sent us some photos, and she's looking great, all decked out in her 'battleship grey'. Note that Gary managed to avoid being photographed this time. (Shame on you, Gaz)

Almost ready to go now. The move to Beacon Boats for the fitout will be on Tues 18th November. Unfortunately, it looks like Rog won't be able to get the day off so it will be up to me to go and record the occasion for posterity. I'm not very good with a camera (either behind it or in front of it!) so I think I'll just take loads of photos and hope that there are one or two that are fit to go on the blog. Watch this space....

S.A.B. signs

In the post that I did on 10th October, I said that I'd post some photos of the excellent work that Sheila of S.A.B. signs had done on Beacon's current boat 'Merryweather'. I have now got the photos from Ali and here they are :

We think that the little Cornish 'piskie' is absolutely beautiful, and we are planning to ask Sheila to paint something similar on Windsong - not sure what yet, but we have some ideas floating around! You'll just have to wait and see....

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Wednesday 22 October 2008


Just a quick post to stop the blog dying on its feet!!

The shell of the grand boat Windsong should be moving to Beacon Boats around the middle of November. The fit out will then commence.

We hope to be able to be there for the arrival and get some photos to record the event

Saturday 11 October 2008

Nearly there...

We paid another visit to XR & D yesterday, maybe our last visit as the shell is nearly finished - only about another week or two's work left to do now. However, we may go up again during the last week of the month to see her fully finished and decked out in her 'battleship grey' before she moves to Beacon for them to commence fitting out.
The bow

'Superbuilder' Gaz almost managed to avoid being photographed this time!

Chris & Lee - Lee is not in overalls because he's recovering from a back injury and only allowed to do things like paperwork and make tea

Bow well deck

Recessed panels where the boat name will be painted

How sad is this!! - Rog's engine still encased in plastic

Don't think much of this cafe - I had to carry the tea!!

After leaving XR & D we then went to Beacon of a 'fix' and to have a look at the progress of their current boat, 'Merryweather'. This is also nearly finished, and will be out of the workshop soon to make room for 'Windsong'. Sheila from S.A.B. Signs has made a superb job of the boat name, with a gorgeous little Cornish 'piskie' sitting on a toadstool underneath. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a photo before we left but will try to get Ali to take one and email it to me. Sheila will also be painting our boat name, and I am now desperately trying to think of a picture that we can use to do her beautiful artwork justice - all ideas will be most welcome!