Wednesday, 21 August 2013

New Life as The Princess Lucy

The boat can now begin to take on its new life as Princess Lucy. As part of the Canal Time fleet she was called Grasshopper 101 and painted  a vivid turquoise. We still see some of these boats and call out to each other -  'Look it's our boat!'. For the last six years, she lived out her existence as 'Florence II' with her previous owners. Last night we finished putting on the vinyls which we bought from The Graphics Boat Company. And we were quite pleased with ourselves for not making a spectacular balls up. Imagine living with the shame of a spelling mistake? Although we have seen plenty of other boats with misspelt names. Their owners obviously think it is funny to call their boat something like 'Anonymouse'.

Preparation is everything and so having watched a demonstration video, we copied their method. And it worked beautifully. You need a water spray, masking tape and a credit card. Patience, care and that's it.

She seems to be quite proud of her new name. Gone forever are 'Mike and Sheila' and 'Florence II'. She is still a long way from being fully painted but we figured that with a boat, it's a bit like the Forth Bridge.and it will be done as a matter of continuous maintenance.

She is now freshly painted black up to her gunwales, has cream name panels and will get a bit of red before the end of the summer. Next year, we will continue to paint the roof cream and finish the rest.

This latest flurry of smartening up is all in preparation for our trip to Manchester at the weekend. The more we get to know and love her, the more we also see how scruffy she is. TLC is needed and at least looks a bit tidier when our visitors meet her for the first time.

You will see from the photograph that we settled on 'Sheffield Basin' for her affiliation and, coincidently, our new boating friend Sarah very kindly gave us a postcard which is an old print of the historic Sheffield Basin. It's a lovely water colour and shows The Straddle Warehouse which still dominates Victoria Quays today. There are plans to take Princess Lucy to Sheffield next winter and so the name and the postcard is quite fitting. We both work in Sheffield and it is our adopted city. Given the number of times we have been snowed in, at home in the Peak District, it would be good to have a base in the city for when the bad weather comes in.

Jemma came with us and spent a few hours sniffing round the Furness Vale marina while we worked our magic with the water spray. She is unimpressed by the new name (probably thinking it should have been named after her) but at least she really does seem to be happy at Furness Vale. There are gorgeous views across the valley, its peaceful and she always makes a new friend - dog or duck - they all look the same to her with her fading vision.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Thugs in Whaley pelt us with Bourbons

Things continue to progress, albeit at the leisurely pace fitting of a narrowboat. We spent a lovely weekend pottering about the canal and the marina.We cruised all the way from Furness Vale to Whaley Bridge to give her an outing (about half an hour) and to meet up with Alton for a pump out on Sunday. We both thought we heard Alton whilst we were still in bed, having learned to pick out her distinctive chugging sound. So there was a bit of a scramble to get up and make ready. It surprised us to see Alton but without Brian and Ann-Marie. It is great that they can get away to Spain and still continue to provide their service to boaters.

On Saturday evening, it turned out to be much sunnier and nicer that the weather forecast had predicted. We mixed Cava cocktails with strawberries, kiwis, mango, passion fruit and orange juice. Our neighbours arrived in time to sample the recipe.

After a curry at Zayka we returned for coffee and to finish up the cocktails. It was just about warm enough to sit in the saloon and have the doors open. All was very chilled when some lunatic pelted us with a Bourbon biscuit. Now this wouldn't be the usual weapon of choice to liven up a a bunch of boozy boaters, but it had an effect.

We have paused the work on the shower room because the Captain is intent on smartening up the outside during what is left of the summer. That said, she looks rougher than ever at the moment as he has peeled off all her old lettering. The names of the previous occupants continue to haunt us. Even with the vinyls removed, the names MIKE and SHEILA are etched in undercoat. We hope to start to put things right by painting her in new livery, done in stages and adding her new name. What we achieve before we go on our next trip to Manchester will depend on the weather. This means we have had to make a final decision on the outside colour scheme and the name.
If you google the name 'Lucy Belle' you get quite a few hits for an international porn star. So we have decided this association is not something we want to promote. She will be named 'Princess Lucy' after our beautiful granddaughter and in homage to Tim and Shane Spall and their boat 'The Princess Matilda' - which they also named after their granddaughter. We have been much inspired by their courage and fortitude. Tim fought off the most aggressive form of Leukemia and they took to the seas in their dutch barge and sailed round the coast of Britain. It took them years to complete their circumnavigation of England, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland. Tim continued to make films to pay the bills so they kept having to leave their boat in various ports for months - including Penarth in South Wales, where the first mate lived for 2 years. We loved their boat and their story.

The tea is now brewed, and so it's time to spend more time what we do best: looking at the work to be done. Now, where is that bourbon?