Friday, 31 May 2013

Party, a Prairie and Picturesque!

This last weekend was the occasion of Chris' 60th birthday party – held here at the Marina Coffee Lounge. It was a great party with a splendid buffet provided by the Cafe and a special cake made by one of their staff.

Family and friends gathered to wish Chris all the best!

Candles lit – Happy Birthday!

Birthday Girl!

The cake!
The weather held fair for the weekend and a small group took the Audlem Lass ferry up to Audlem for the music festival.

On the ferry with Poppy and Dan up from London and Cassandra and Jorge over from Lisbon, Portugal
Song of the Waterways – as seen from the ferry
This last week, we have been stopping at Telford to continue Chris' 60th celebrations.

We visited an old favourite, the Severn Valley Railway, in the rain. It didn't dampen our spirits though as we travelled behind the Large Prairie Great Western Railway 5164. This is a Collett designed medium size tank engine for branch lines, rated as 4MT.

Setting off from Bridgenorth – a steamy affair!

5164 at Kettering Station

Not a steam loco – though a resplendent historic diesel D8059 – from about 1967?
One of 20 such Diesel-Electric locos in preservation.

True steam enthusiast?

On the way back from Telford, we stopped over at Ironbridge, the picturesque village that heralded the start of the industrial revolution.

The famous iron bridge – the first iron bridge in the world to be made of cast iron – opened in 1781


Tourists via Telford!

 Looking across the River Severn (with plenty of water flowing)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Whit Friday Marches - Rode Hall Silver Band

Friday 24th May 2013
This last Friday was the Annual Whit Friday Marches, up at Oldham and Saddleworth.

And our band competed as in previous years.

This year I was on the 3rd Cornet Team and we all played the march, though rotated on the contest march as the rules only allowed two 3rd cornet players.

Our 3rd Cornet Team – Mike, Niamh and me

After a drenching on our first march the weather settled and we played at 9 venues.

Our results placed us ? No Overall Results yet!

Here is a You Tube link to our march and contest playing. [ link]

We came 40th Band here at Grotton – the location that Sue Perkins conducted at in the TV programme?!


Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Final Day of 2013's Docking

May 22nd was our final working day in the dock area.

Jobs completed included fitting the wooden hold decking with screws, painting up the odd bits still showing bare wood/screws with red oxide, painting the underside of the king board, giving the cratch board a white undercoat, and touching up the starboard kitchen doors ready for re-fitting.

A very red hold decking!

The other major part of the day was undertaking our 4 year Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) assessment. Guy Holding, from Portland Basin (link) kindly came over to Audlem. He has done our BSS since we bought the boat, so has seen many changes/improvements. As always, Guy is a mine of helpful information.

I had a minor scare as our gas test 'wobbled' on a first test. Simon the Engineer responded quickly testing the joints – which had been tested previously – and must have said something to the gas system?!

A second (prolonged) test showed no problems – a gas system mystery?!

Anyway, the boat passed it's Boat Safety and we now have our 4 year Certificate ready for the July renewal of the licence.

Later in the day, the ducklings were on 'walk about' – growing all the time.

Others on 'walk about' – or should that be paddling about? - were the intrepid Morris brothers, secretly testing their prototype raft for the forthcoming Raft Race.

 In choppy marina waters, the Morris brothers panic and head for the slipway - shovelling as fast as they can!
The Raft Race is part of the Audlem RNLI Festival 1st/2nd June, here at Overwater Marina.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Work in Progress!

We have been back in the water for a couple of weeks now, in the 'wet dock' area.

On the wet dock

Warmed by the evening sun

Spring ducklings for company
I have been working on the boat pretty much full-time, often into the evenings.
Painting jobs have been coming on and our colour scheme is extending through the boat.
It is a slow process to do thoroughly.

Kitchen doors painted up
The other major activity has been to 're-instate' the wooden floor deck in the front hold – removed when I investigated the source of water getting in.
This resulted in pulling forward the water tank and cleaning up, rust proofing and re-painting the fore hold and tank.
I also re-designed how the sheets are attached to the hold (subject of a future blog!) in order to keep dry!

Archive photo of the saloon during our diy refit – showing the hold - 2007

Archive photo showing the water tank and rusty hold 2008

Water tank boxed-in with the 3x2” framing 2013

At the wet dock, I can spread out onto the hard bank and make some nose and dust!
Yesterday it was drizzling. Rob the Boat Joiner is also working on a boat next door – he comes fully equipped!

Rob's professional set-up

Anton's diy set-up

After much measuring, sawing, planning – oops, sawing and in and out the boat:

Deck planks laid ready

These were then varnished (2 coats) on the back and painted in red oxide – today they get fitted!

A pleasant diversion – the tug Zephyr being re-floated after it's blacking docking.

 Simon and Gary – our happy engineers – job done!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

There's Painting and PAINTING!

We have come to the end of our 5 weeks docking.

The new gas locker is fabricated and I am very pleased with the neat welding work and tidying up of the locker bulk head done by Simon together with a new gas pipe shut-off, armoured pipe and regulator. Alan, also from Overwater Services Gas Safe tested the gas system and gave advice on ventilation, in advance of our Boat Safety Examination later this month.
We now have the gas locker for two 13kg bottles and a dry locker.

I finished the weekend painting up the locker and preparing the boat to go back into the water this week.
Posh painting of one of the top lights

Gas locker and red oxide primer

Gas locker front with angle bar footing for the new wooden platform to go over the (white) water tank

The bow painted up – 'starters' before the bow pattern

Also see the tarpaulin over the cratch board as a 'temporary' measure to keep the rain out!

We left Cheshire to travel up to our Durham Co. family.
They live just a short drive from the Shildon Locomotion Railway Museum [link ] and so a brief visit was in order.

My son had been down to see the A4 Dominion of Canada, in an undercoat.

Today, the No. 4489 A4 was in it's garter blue finery.

Work in progress for the July 3rd Great Gathering of the 6 remaining A4's at York

The Dominion's unique bell – a Canadian Pacific Railroad type bell – put on in June 1937 when re-named from the original 'Woodcock' to the Coronation Commonwealth A4's
The bell was apparently operated by steam!

Shiny LNER (in stainless steel lettering) tender
 Another shiny loco – the Duchess of Hamilton in streamlined 1938 newly built colours




Friday, 3 May 2013

Welding and Painting!

We are now into our 5th week of our extended docking.
The Tuesday boat turn around saw the paint shed empty and us alone.

Tues at 10.00am

Tues at 12.00 noon

The next boat coming in for painting is nb Foxglove, a 70ft Roger Fuller Tug with a lovely throaty Gardener 2LW. The skill and care taken by the engineering team to get this big boat into position was pretty amazing to watch.

nb Foxglove waiting it's turn

Loaded and underway

Simon, the engineer, with a cheery wave!

Swinging 70ft
Reversing in

At an awkward angle – driver Gary makes it look easy!
Tight fit though!

Almost there!
As this week has seen improving weather, I have taken the opportunity of our extended stay on the hardstanding and next to the paint shed to get a lot of painting done.

At last, the rear panels have a second (and final) coat of dark grey gloss.
With much appreciated help from Alex from the paintshed!

The replacement gas locker is nearing completion – hopefully in time for re-launch next week?!

Still work in progress!