Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Into the paint dock

It's been a very different sort of day today and we're moving into the period when these blog posts may become a bit even more erratic. The first job this morning was to get Sanity Again into the paint dock and Priscilla II onto the space we were occupying on the Deeps. As part of this, Ice Breaker had to come out of the yard, hang about and then go back in again.

As it turned out, Graham and Beryl were having just a bit of a well-deserved lie-in, so Martin took Ice Breaker onto the Deeps for a while until they were ready to move. The other complication is that the paint dock is just under 70 feet long. We went in bows first for today, allowing work to start on repainting the bow deck and bow locker lid. Once they are done, we'll come out and turn round so that the full length of the roof is under cover, probably on Thursday.

Other folk are starting to arrive – Cala made it just before lunch, the Siviters have turned up to stay on Just Siviting and finally Graham (another Graham, yes, it gets confusing) and Victoria arrived on Sapphire. They will go and take Cala's space in a bit so that Cala can come into the yard to have some work done. An attempt has been made to move Gladderbrook again, but she's still hard aground on Cala's mooring in Victoria Pit.

We're all feeling very cheerful already, despite unreliable weather that absolutely tips it down from time to time. I have to be careful what I say here for the next week or so – quite a few of the Braidbar Owners are followers of this blog ;) .

Tonight, a gang of us are going down to the Boar's Head, just for a change. If the forecast is right and it's dry in the morning, we'll get the marquees up.

Monday, 31 August 2015

A wet day but a good one

We dropped the cratch cover last night so that the overnight rain didn't make the well deck wet. This in turn meant that we could move stuff out of the saloon into the well deck to make the final section of the current phase of the big clean easier. Sheila dealt with the dinette whilst I did the saloon. The dinette is smaller but takes longer because of the more complex shapes involved. Most of the saloon is a matter of zooming along the walls and bulkheads.

By the time I'd finished all of it bar the bookcases, Sheila was about finished her end. We turned out the books together, I polished the shelves and then Sheila took batches of books in turn, dusted them and handed them to me to reshelve. My can of Pledge ran out as I finished, so I took the can of Mr Sheen Sheila had been using to do the reclining chairs. It was all done by coffee time – we had used two and a half cans of spray polish to do the entire boat.

The rain had almost stopped by now, so we went to the Trading Post for hot choc and coffee. Whilst there, the trip boat from the Ring o' Bells at Marple turned up, looking to water and pump out. Unfortunately, as the skipper aimed for the water point and went into reverse, the engine stalled out. A couple of restart attempts just led to it stalling again when put in gear.

By now, the boat's bow was over the other side of the canal in the bushes and aground on some of the sunken boats over there. Three of us managed to drag her off whilst her crew went down the weed hatch to find it choked with something filled with polyester padding. It proved to be a sleeping bag and took quite some time to remove.

After lunch and a bit of quiet time, I started a batch of dough (malted multiseed and oat) to make rolls for tomorrow and Wednesday, on the assumption that I'll be too busy in the morning to have time to do it. Whilst it was rising, we ambled back to the Trading Post. The rain had stopped by now and Martin joined us for tea. We got so taken up with nattering that it was four o'clock before I remembered the bread.

It was well risen and was soon shaped into rolls and put back in the just-warm oven to prove. I'll bake them in a bit. I'm having a lazy evening, cooking wise tonight, fresh pasta with bought-in sauce again.

Well, I've been working hard... ;)

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Busy day

It's been a hard working but successful day. A batch of onion and herb bread was started straight after breakfast, after which we got stuck into cleaning the bathroom and study bedroom. Actually, as Sheila wanted to do the whole of the remaining ceiling, I first cleaned and blacked the Squirrel, using the Hotspot stove black which was so good last year.

The ceiling cleaned, Sheila got to work on the bathroom whilst I dealt with the study bedroom. One side of that is very straightforward, over and around the side berth. The other half, the desk side, means taking apart all the IT gear and stacking it on the berth so that the desk can be properly cleaned. It was mostly done and half reassembled by coffee break, which we took at the Trading Post.

Back at the boat, I baked the bread and finished restoring the desk gear. We had a quiet sit down to recover from these exertions whilst the bread cooled, then ate lunch. Shortly after the meal, Graham and Beryl arrived on Priscilla II and we helped to moor them on a spare slot by the Trading Post. If no-one else has turned up by Tuesday, Priscilla II can come and occupy where we are when Sanity Again goes into the paint dock.

A final burst saw us clean the galley, another case of moving loads of bits and pieces around so as to get the dresser thoroughly cleaned. Once done, we ambled back to the Trading Post and saw the denouement of a hassle caused by a GRP boat that, against advice, had chosen to moor in the Mary Sunley II disabled trip boat space. The MSII had returned to find her space blocked. It finally transpired that the splitter's crew had not, as they had said, "popped to the loo for five minutes" but were ensconced in the pub. They seemed quite aggrieved at being told that they needed to move their boat.

We finally got a cup of tea and a good chat with Graham and Martin before coming back to the boat to finish off a productive, if tiring, day. Tomorrow, we'll clean the dinette and saloon, leaving only the floor to do once we are in the yard and on a shoreline to power the polisher.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A bit more exercise than planned and starting the big clean

The plan for today was firstly to go down to Poynton, shop in Waitrose and take the bus back and secondly to make a start on thoroughly cleaning the interior of Sanity Again. Almost all of this programme has been achieved, with the sole exception of the bus bit. On the way down, I checked the timetable on what seemed to be the nearest stop to Waitrose and noted that the buses ran at five minutes to the hour.

We managed to leave Waitrose just on ten to ten and walked briskly to the stop, getting there just before five to. We waited... and waited... and waited, until an old chap coming past told us he'd seen the bus going by Waitrose a bit before ten to and that we'd missed it. Shortly after, a woman waiting at the stop on the other side confirmed that the bus usually went by in our direction between a quarter and ten to and that she was now expecting it to arrive at her stop on its way back from Middlewood.

It's an hourly service, so we set off to walk back up the hill. (Those who know the area will appreciate that this is not a trivial decision; it's only a mile and a half or so, but steeply uphill for much of the distance.) A bit futher on, sure enough, there was the bus on its way down. Fortunately, we hadn't bought huge amounts of stuff.

Back at the boat the goodies were stowed away and we retired to the Trading Post for much needed hot choc/coffee. Whilst consuming this and chatting to some of the other customers, we were joined by Martin who'd just been shopping too. He told us two useful bits of info: a) the bus passes Waitrose at ten to or thereabouts and b) although it doesn't have a timetable on it or even the words "Bus Stop" at the top, the bus will stop at the old sign right outside the shop. Heigh ho, we'll know another time. We've been spoiled by Derby's excellent bus services, obviously.

After lunch, we made a start on the cleaning, working from the stern. The engine room and bedroom have had their ceilings washed and vertical surfaces cleaned with Mr Sheen and Pledge. We plan to do all the compartments this way, then do the floors in a couple of further sessions.

After all this hard work, ice cream from the TP was consumed on the bow and I'm cooking some fresh pasta with bought sauce tonight – we're both quite weary, strangely enough.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Gardening nearly done

After a relaxed start and getting another batch of bread dough on the way, we got back to the gardening, clearing out an area that won't be very visible when the marquee is up, which is why we'd left it to last. We'd more or less finished when Susan turned up bearing some trays of pansies to be planted into the strawberry pot and some other containers.

We saved that job for this afternoon, having first gone back to the boat to finish baking the bread and to sort a wash load Sheila had run in the machine in the bungalow. After lunch, Sheila got busy planting with some help from Susan whilst I trimmed back some hawthorn branches which were overhanging the lawn and liable to get in the way of the marquee when we put it up.

Meanwhile, a squad from the yard had gone over to Victoria Pit to move Gladderbrook to another pontoon. This was a total failure; the canal had dropped four inches overnight and Gladderbrook was firmly aground. It's always a bit of a surprise to discover that a boat which can normally be pushed about is now immovable, but there's just no way twenty odd tonnes of steel can be shoved along the mud by purely human effort.

Graham and Beryl on Priscilla II, whose mooring it is, have been warned and are happy to use one of the other moorings when they get back on Sunday.

The second half of the afternoon was spent largely relaxing, drinking tea and watching others work, hee hee. Tiree has gone out for her week's hire and Ice Breaker has been released from durance vile, emerging smartly from the paint shed to spend the weekend on an open mooring in the yard.

We've got two main aims for the weekend, firstly a trip down into Poynton to do a bit of shopping in Waitrose and secondly, a thorough clean of the inside of Sanity Again. By doing one or two compartments at a time, we'll spread the load out over the three days.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A successful shuffle and a bit more gardening

The first task this morning was to shuffle some boats around and for us to get a pump out, all without losing our mooring spaces on the Deeps. First off, Martin went and fetched Freedom from her place on the Victoria Pit moorings. As he approached the bridge, we started Sanity Again and pushed her out so that Freedom could take her place. I then moved Sanity Again onto the Trading Post mooring and Nigel pumped her out.

Once that was done, Martin started Tiree on her temporary mooring on the Deeps and I reversed Sanity Again back into that space. Martin took Tiree through to put in the yard, with a slight hiatus as Peter had decided to move Gladderbrook out and onto Freedom's place on Victoria Pit. Tiree then went where Gladderbrook had been. (Tiree is the hire boat and needs a wash before going on hire tomorrow afternoon.) As it turned out, Gladderbrook was too deep for Freedom's space and had to go on Priscilla II's instead. Since Priscilla II is due back on Monday, this may be a problem, but one we'll face tomorrow.

Martin's own boat, Ice Breaker, is due to come out of the paint shed tomorrow and may well go onto Tiree's proper space near the Trading Post. There's a shell waiting to be fitted out on there at the moment, but that can be moved onto a vacant space further up. If this all seems very confusing, you should hear the discussions that lead up to these plans.

After all this was done, we had a coffee/hot chocolate at the Trading Post and then got stuck into a bit more gardening. At ten past eleven, we went into the bungalow and had a Skype interview with Abi from the TV company. This went fine for the first 15 minutes, but after that the connection kept failing so we had to give it up. Abi called me on the mobile to confirm that she had enough stuff for her immediate purposes, preparing something to show the commissioner on Tuesday.

More gardening took us up to lunchtime, spraying weeds, mostly. After lunch, we did a final session of tidying up and trimming. There may be one or two little bits to do yet, but the bulk of the garden is sorted.

Tomorrow, I'll bake again (multiseed and oats) and we'll take some recycling to the tip.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Gardening leave

Several bushes have had their annual haircut and the areas of bed beneath them tidied up. We've filled three dustbins and two gardening skips with the result and the environs of the yard are starting to look better for it.

I've had a long chat with Abi from the TV production company about the documentary about life on the cut that they are hoping to make. She's planning to interview me over Skype tomorrow in order to have some video of my performance. We'll just have to wait and see what transpires; the show hasn't been definitely commissioned yet, so I'm controlling my excitement without too much difficulty.

I think the only other activity of note was baking another batch of onion and herb bread rolls. I made a full amount of dough and divided it into 10 buns so as to have a couple to give to Peter and Susan. They seemed to be appreciated. Tonight's meal will be veal stew, the next job for me after posting this so that it has plenty of time to simmer.

Tomorrow, we need a pump out and will take the opportunity to do a bit of boat shuffling at the same time, with Martin's invaluable assistance.