Thursday, 20 August 2015

Painting session 2

This longer painting session (4 days) has got:

  • Starboard side prepared and Fertanned
  • Starboard side primed
  • Starboard side 1st coat of gloss
  • Starboard side 2nd coat of gloss
  • Port side 2nd coat of gloss
  • Deck rail and stern prepared and Fertanned
  • Deck rail and stern primed
  • Deck rail and stern 1st coat of gloss
  • Deck rail and stern 2nd coat of gloss
These before and after shots taken from the same viewpoint show what a difference has been made!


The starboard side was done before the port because I took the boat onto the cut to do the work (marina does not allow sanding etc.) and that was the way I was pointing on the first day.

Had a bit of a disaster after finishing the starboard side. Was untying the boat ready to pop down to the winding hole to turn around so I could do the port side when I managed to sprain my ankle... Final two days of the trip were accomplished with a certain amount of whimpering and painkillers... 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Painting session 1

As can be seen from this picture of Mind Like Water moored outside the museum at Etruria, her paintwork is a bit tired...

The blotches at the front end are from a little scraping and rust treatment done last summer but winter arrived before we could get any top coat on and the rust is re-appearing.

The green section at the stern is from an exploratory session earlier in the year when Andrew tried scraping, priming and glossing. This went reasonably smoothly except for stupid insects landing on the wet gloss and the vagaries of British weather leaving the surface rather rough after an unexpected rain shower.

With the end of the summer break fast approaching, Andrew decided to keep a close eye on the weather forecast and do as much painting as possible to avoid Mind Like Water spending another winter with rust nibbling away at her sides...

Bought a couple of additional batteries for the cordless drill to facilitate use of a sanding wheel where possible.

A hectic 24 hours this week saw the whole port side scraped, primed and a first coat of gloss applied. Have taken a bit of a gamble by not applying Fertan to the scraped areas. (Fertan is a strange chemical which smells like a mix of soy sauce and molasses and converts any remaining rust to an inert substance). Not using it here means that patches of rust may come through but at least we will go into the winter with the surface protected and can treat any spots next year.

Is that a shiny boat I see?
The painting makes quite a difference to the look. Have gone for plain green at this stage just to get a covering on and will review the decoration next year. The red name panels are self-adhesive vinyl graphics which we bought last June to cover the previous name. They seem to have lasted very well so far with no fading of the red. Was even able to use white spirit to remove splashes of green gloss from the surface.

I did the work out on the cut since the marina does not allow sanding etc.

The simple act of turning the boat to come back turned into a more drawn out operation when I picked up a load of chicken wire round the propeller in the winding hole...

There were some wry comments from our kids when Alison gave me a pair of pond gloves for last Christmas. However, in this first use they were fantastic! Protected my hands and arms very well from the cold and mucky water. Even remembered to put some string on my wire cutters to avoid dropping them in the cut.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 14 - Audlem to Swanley Bridge Marina

Engine:5.8h Miles:10 Locks:10

Traffic picking up through the morning mostly going in the other direction - a queue of 6 at Hack Green Locks by 11am.
Through Hurleston locks by 1.30pm - the hill very busy and plenty of mingling crew as boats were worked through.
Sun coming back out and temperature rising appreciably.
Back home to Swanley Bridge Marina

Journey's end at 14:00. 142 miles and 136 locks, by far our longest trip to date on this boat.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 13

Moored at Audlem
Miles: 0 Locks 0
Nice quiet day. Checked out the pubs again in the evening but a bit pubbed out...

Friday, 7 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 12 - Goldstone Wharf to Audlem

Engine: 5.7h Miles: 9 Locks 21

Engine started without any alternator squeal so that fix worked (for now!).

Found that the spare toilet cassette fits well under the bathroom sink. Just need to cull some of the myriad cleaning products which were in the basket there!

After the Tyrley locks, we caught up with a 30' Springer who warily agreed to share locks with us. In the event it worked out so well that we continued together to Audlem. Alison says to remind her of this day though if she is ever tempted by a Springer. It handled like a drunkard (though that might have been the inexperienced driver..), had no reverse gear to speak of and an absurdly slow tickover. Alison, who was driving while Andrew worked the locks, had a bit of a struggle to follow closely enough to not cause delays at the locks without ramming them as they dodged about...

Dinner was rather fab Hairy Biker style burgers, patates sautees with salad then to the Lord Combermere (free wifi and papers) for a very pleasant couple of pints.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 11 - Brewood to Goldstone Wharf

Engine 7.3h Miles:18 Locks:1

An early start to cover the long lock-free stretch until Tyrley after which the locks will come thick and fast.

Alternator belt tending to slip so unable to cruise at full speed though moored boats - miles of them - tended to keep us at tickover.

Canal quite busy - especiall at Norbury Junction and Gnosall. Sunny intervals and showers made the next coat of varnish a challenge. The brolly got its first use today sheltering the freshly stained back door.

Found a good mooring opposite the pub at Goldstone Wharf. Alison started preparing a very nice bolognese sauce before we tried the Wharf Tavern. Unfortunately the pub didn't open till 18:30 so we headed back to boat to finish cooking then eating the meal. Many wasps attracted by the pleasant smell...

Moored opposite Wharf Tavern at Goldstone Wharf

Andrew had a go at tightening the alternator belt. Some success but will have to wait until we start the engine to see full result. Tightening operation ideally needs at least 3 hands, possibly 4... Made use of a one-handed clamp but not ideal as one of the clamp pads pivots so tended to slip off.

Adjourned to the pub afterwards for a quick pint before bed.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 10 - Penkridge to Brewood

Engine: 7.6h Miles:16 Locks:7

Autherley Junction
Visited Penkridge Market (Open Weds and Saturday) and were well impressed. Well worth a visit.

Underway about 10:35. Filance Lock empty ready for us. Aiming for Brewood on the Shropshire Union today. Need to get some diesel.

12:30 Gailey Wharf. Filled up with diesel and water. Emptied Elsan. Book swap in the toilet. Crew employed on laundry while cruising!

15:30 Autherley Junction and onto the Shropshire Union. Now heading for home!

17:15 Moored up. 2nd coat of wood stain on rear doors.

Went to find the Curry Inn but it was not only posh but empty so we returned to the canal-side Bridge Inn where Wednesday is Curry Night! £6.95 including any drink. Our Hobgoblin Golds were delicious and a very reasonable £3.09 a pint. Curries included rice, naan, poppadom and mango chutney which rather stopped us in our tracks!.

Pleasant evening over more pints discussing how to declutter.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 9 - Tixall Wide to Penkridge

Engine:5h Miles:9.5 Locks:6

Breezy morning. Weather could go either way.

Dry during the night so gloss on bow is dry. A few insects stuck there but not many.

Alison went to seek out the farm shop near bridge 74 on the Trent and Mersey after breakfast.

Andrew cleaned the laundry dryer and hung it in the shower. Did a few pants and socks. Will see how well it dries. Added some extra hooks above the key rack for padlocks.

Under way 10:30. Farm shop well stocked but eye-wateringly expensive! Beautiful meat however - lamb leg steaks a real indulgence. And mint sauce from the canal bank!

Varnish strip continuing while under way. Once moored at Penkridge (14:45) put on a 2nd coat of gloss and 1st coat of wood stain.

Annoyingly then had some rain that wasn't forecast leaving the gloss rather pebble-dashed...

Monday, 3 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 8 - Trent & Mersey (bridges 88/89) to Tixall Wide

Engine:4h Miles:7.5 Locks:3

Woke to bright sunshine, swiftly clouding over. Remained variable but mostly dry all day.

An easy run down to Great Haywood although it seemed that every other boat that we met was in a bridge hole.

Moored on Tixall Wide at 12:30. Had lunch then went to visit Shugborough Hall museum and gardens. Quite fascinating especially the Patrick Lichfield apartment and his wall planners.

The weather still cloudy and windy but dry so gambled on a coat of gloss paint over the primer on the bow. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 7 - Etruria to Trent & Mersey (bridges 88/89)

Engine:8.7h Miles:11 Locks:15

Watered before heading off. No. 4 in queue for first lock behind a couple of novice hire boats and another boat. Boat 2 in particular was very slow to pick up the drill so Alison and crew of Boat 3 (Constance May) went ahead to whip them into shape - disappearing for so long that Andrew had donned windlass sling and gloves in case he needed to single-hand!

Sun trying to make an appearance from behind clouds.

Slow heavy locks - by 12:30 we had only got through the first 5 locks though crew had worked the locks several times!

Once boats 1 & 2 stopped at Barleston, progress was a lot better. Stone looked interesting and pretty but we pushed on through. We had heard that there had been quite a queue at Aston Lock this morning so we headed out into the country side to get through.

Towpath beyond is quite overgrown so continued for another half mile or so to find a lovely spot with the railway - never far away - comparatively discreet.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

4 Counties Ring - Day 6 - Caldon Canal - Consall Forge to Etruria Museum

Engine:9.1h Miles:12.5 Locks:15

Debated whether to spend the day painting. Forecast good but cloudy and chill morning not promising. Decided to push back to Etruria and within 30 mins the sun came out. Still, a beautiful day for boating.

Lunch on the move once through Hazlehurst Junction - BLT in pitta. Cloudier again and headwind appreciably slowing progress. Topped up with water and offloaded rubbish at Park Lane Wharf (recycling bins not reached there yet).

Several heavy rain showers during the afternoon (which validated decision not to do any painting!) and quite windy at times too.

Shadowed a green boat all day that made good progress away from us but was slow at locks. Couple from Durham with two very chatty kids.
Moored at Etruria Museum by heritage boat Keppel

Arrived at Etruria and were able to take the very last berth right outside the Museum and under the nose of the heritage narrowboat Keppel - celebrity neighbour!

Really enjoyed the hot free showers before spending the evening at the Holy Inadequate - a very good real ale pub.