Wednesday 27 August 2008

Progress Report No 2.....

Progress last week is as follows:

NB Windsong now has her diesel tank, stern deck, stern cants and scrolls, floor bearers, and the side stringers have been commenced. Keel cooler next!

We went to the IWA National at Wolverhampton last Saturday, and got extremely muddy! We were a little disappointed as it all seemed a bit disorganised - we arrived both busting for the loo, and asked where they were as soon as we were in the gate. We had to ask 3 separate 'Show Volunteers' before we got the correct directions - the first one sent us entirely the wrong way, the second shrugged and waved a hand and said 'somewhere over there'! The third was in a tent by the disabled loo, and she said 'keep going this way - you can't miss them! And sure enough, there they were, behind the beer tent, right by the funfair. By then we were nearly disabled ourselves!! We then discovered, on the long walk back, that we had passed another set of loos tucked away behind another tent! IWA please note - some signs next year might be nice.

We bought a couple of little bits and pieces for the boat, but nothing significant. I have also lost all interest in viewing the new boats - fear, I suppose, that I might find something I really like and have to change my design all over again - bit late for that now!!

We wandered around in the mud for a while, then had a walk along the towpath to view all the historic boats, and then went back, had some lunch, bought our few bits and pieces and came home.

We are both going on an RYA Helmsmans course next week, 2nd - 4th Sept, run by TR Boat Handling on the Shropshire Union. Although we have been boating for over ten years, we decided that we might as well learn how to do things properly instead of muddling through as we have always done. We chose the 3 day course because it won't be so rushed as the one and two day courses, and it will give us a little holiday as well. We are really looking forward to getting out on the water again as it's almost a year now since we've been boating. The 'Shroppie' is where we first boated, and became total 'canal-araks' so it will be great to be back in familiar territory.

We making a little detour and calling in at XR & D on the way to Shropshire to have our first look at the boat - can't wait.

Wednesday 20 August 2008


This is an excerpt from an email I received from Ali at Beacon yesterday -

'Update this morning:
Your sides are now welded up, fitted, and the swim plates are also on. Gaz is starting on the floor angles as we speak!
So, all things considered, he's cracking on pretty well I think! Should at least be something worth photographing when you go up! certainly not just a pile of steel sheets!!'s not far off floatable!!!!'

Good news - he really seems to be getting on well, considering he's only been working on the shell for a week! We are off to Shropshire on Sept 1st, so will call in at XR & D on the way to have a look at progress and take some photos to liven up this 'not very exciting at the moment' blog.

We have been buying new stuff for ages - so far I've got new saucepans, crockery, toaster and kettle, table mats and other assorted galley stuff, and a Cobb barbecue. I don't really need new stuff, because what we've got is in perfect working order, but it's a good excuse!! The biggest purchase so far is the two leather 'captain's chairs' that we bought from Furniture Village - almost identical to the ones sold by 'Wilsons', but half the price! I've also spotted an ironing board in 'Argos' that folds in half, so I think that will be my next purchase. Now, I'm not one for doing much ironing, but I suppose that there will be times that we want to look reasonably crease-free when we go to the pub for a meal (they might not serve us if we look too disheveled!) and I'm useless at ironing on a blanket on the table, so an ironing board that I can fold up and put in the back of the wardrobe will be ideal - that way I won't have to look at it too often and feel guilty!! I want some new bedding too, but can't seem to find any that I like - don't know what I want really, but I'll know it when I see it. We are going to wait for the January sales to buy the telly, washing machine and dryer, to see if we can get them a bit cheaper.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Work underway

I had confirmation on Tuesday from Beacon that the base plates are together and that the side plates were expected either yesterday or today, so work is definitely underway. Hopefully we will be able to go over to XR & D in a couple of weeks time to see the progress - photos then.

Friday 8 August 2008

A big 'thank you'.....

Many thanks to Greygal on the DogsOnTour blog for getting us 'out there' and putting a link to our blog on theirs. Rog will be tickled pink at the reference to 'Swallows and Amazons' as he has been a HUGE fan since he was a very small boy - so much so that our first narrowboat - an old GRP top Harborough Marine ex-hire boat- was re-named 'Teasel' as soon as we bought her, after a boat in one of the books. You couldn't have known, Greygal, and we think that is a good omen for our future life on board - at least we have the names for it!!

And no, Greygal, I have never known anyone called Titty! however............ (and you know the rest from my email!!)

A momentous occasion……

Well, there’s no going back now!! We visited ‘Beacon Boats’ yesterday, signed the contract, and made the first Stage payment (and ate all their Jaffa Cakes to ease the pain!!). The base plate is to be laid at XR & D on Monday, and work will at last commence!! The shell should be ready in about 10 – 12 weeks, so will be delivered to Beacon early to mid November.

It has been so long in coming that we never believed that we would finally get to this point – now we are so excited that we can barely contain ourselves!! Poor Ali, Andy and Neil at Beacon are going to be sick of the sight of us by launch time! We can’t thank them enough for their help, kindness, good advice and Jaffa Cakes
– I’m sure that there will be much more during the coming months.

After taking on board Ali’s advice about not being able to sit too close to the stove, we have, at the last minute, changed the design of the saloon slightly so that we will have a bit more room for the chairs (and the dog’s bed!) The p
lan of the boat has therefore been updated.

And, speaking of ‘the dog’ – we have another crew member who so far has not been mentioned – she is Cassie, the 14 month old Golden Retriever. She has only had one trip on a narrowboat so far when we hired a boat for a week last year.

She was only a pup then and, after the first day, seemed to take to it very well. She did, however, have to be taught how to climb the back steps, which was challenging to say the least! She soon got the hang of it though and proceeded to thunder in and out of the boat whenever the impulse took her. We hope that she will enjoy life afloat as much as we will. Thank goodness she is not all that fond of water – she will have a paddle, and lay down in a shallow stream when she is hot at the end of a walk, but is not much given to leaping in and getting soaked – phew, what a relief!