Friday, 31 October 2014

What Watts?

We can report three weeks of steady progress on Princess Lucy's galley refit. At two or three days a week, and at Captain's working speed - which is slow and involves a lot more looking (thinking he says) than doing - the galley is probably two thirds of the way there.

If all that seems a little mathematical, then you haven't seen anything! Captain's post on CANALWORLD explains how the washing machine is fooled into using less power than it might! And it details the electric and water consumption. If you are interested you can follow the link HERE. We have now run the machine three times and the towels came out fluffier than our big machine at home. So we are very pleased with it.

Anyway, the new worktops are in, as is the new sink, new tap, washing machine (as you know), the new hob is half in, and a new oven is to go in on Monday.

We had a moment where we wavered about the new hob. We have quite a soft spot for the cream enamel Vanette's retro appeal which is almost trendy. We have a horrible feeling that the new replacement won't be as well made or as durable. What we are ripping out is still clean and functional and, as we can't bear to skip it, it might just go on Ebay for a modest sum. We replaced a 4 burner hob with a triangular 3 burner having figured that no one uses 4 gas rings at the same time. However, the new hob seems so small and wobbly that we have had to replace our large frying pan with a mini wok. How long will this new kit last? We'll see.

That just leaves tiling and a good few days miscellany and snagging.

Our next trip out is scheduled for Boxing Day so we are well on target for that, We are longing to finish up and tidy all the tools away in time to put up some Christmas lights, maybe.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Candy Girl

We have just passed the last weekend on Princess Lucy until after Boxing Day which will be our next trip. This is because, and this is very exciting, the galley is finally due to get her refit. It is almost exactly two years since we bought this boat and it was meant to be the first job. It has ended up being the last internal job having done the shower room, fitted a stove, replaced the floor and sorted out the lighting. Everything has taken longer than we expected because we have spent way too much time enjoying ourselves instead of working.

We are not tampering with any of the layout, cupboards or any of the original Canal Time features. The galley looks tired after 15 years or so of numerous boaters. There is good chance that no one will even notice that she has a new hob/sink/worktop/ tiles/under cupboard lights. Everything still works fine and it is a credit to whoever designed the boat that you would struggle to come up with a more practical or ergonomic working space.

We love our little galley but she deserves a smarten up. A year or so ago, there was a cookery programme about a young Corden Bleu trained British woman (Rachel Khoo) cooking in a tiny French apartment in Paris. She managed to whip up fantastic stuff in about the same amount of space.

So, it's not about having acres of granite worktop and hangers full of kitchen cupboards, it's about using the space intelligently. And it's about loving working in the space you are in.

The weekend was Autumn at its best, full of sunshine again (in spite of predicted rain that never arrived). We entertained a good friend from Manchester and had dinner at Zayka. Not having Rocky to worry about, we ended up in The Goyt Inn for the first time which is a nice proper good old fashioned pub. We stayed there until it was time for her to stumble on to the last train to Manchester, where apparently she was serenaded by a group of twenty year olds and had a photograph taken with all of them. So, I think, she enjoyed it.

Sunday, after a supreme lie in until 10 am, was all graft. Clearing the cupboards out and packing away china and all the nonsense on the worktops. We then managed to woman/man handle our new washing machine into the saloon in readiness for fitting. We have also come up with an ingenious plan for drying small loads of washing come rain or shine, We are fitting brass rails inside the boat in front of the hatch and on which we will hang a couple of airers designed for Italian balconies.

There is a radiator under this hatch that will dry clothes in the winter. However, If the sun shines and the breeze blows, we can open the hatch doors and roof and the washing will be inside and outside at the same time,

We also discovered that the same airer will fit on the front rails around the tunnel light and so we can dry stuff properly outside even when we are cruising. So we have options (and we have seen various solutions as we have passed other boats). We are determined not to have stuff dripping in the shower like a Sixties film about a Northern girl in a bedsit - except that in those films it is always a a pair of stockings and a yellowing corset hanging forlorn over a bath. In Sixties Britain they hadn't invented showers.

As you know Princess Lucy is all about the comfort and glamour - but clothes do begin to whiff a bit after several days on the cut.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Clotted Cream Ripple

When we started to think about this year, one plan was to get some paint on the boat. Maybe not all, but a fair bit of it. September came and we had painted virtually nothing. Anyway,  there was a modest start on the roof, but then we went away for over 2 weeks with a half finished and by now multi coloured boat, By the 22nd September, it dawned on us that the summer wasn't going to last for ever. 

It seemed logical to start painting from the top down. We like this because (a) We could cover any drips on the sides later, (b) The roof is by far the worst paint on the boat, (c) The rust and peeling paint is a nagging reminder of what needs doing as we potter along.

The roof has been flaking and making a mess everywhere for a good year. I think maybe the bloke who sold us the boat (2 years ago) put a very thin coat of something on it: something that was probably not enamel. 

The boat started its life (in 2000) with the roof a sort of Grand Union CC Co pale blue, but since then it has had at least 2 other shades of dark blue, and even more shades where it has been touched up. 

International Mauritius Blue seemed the closest we could find. But despite that being a good match we chose Rylards Cream!

Winter has now arrived. By our reckoning Summer ended last Thursday (2nd October) - a day when the Captain managed a final coat on the roof, and winter began the day after. 

We are quite pleased with the paint job. It has gone all strawberries and cream on us - a reminder of a fabulous summer. It will cheer us on when cruising through rain. When viewed from the other side of the canal, in fading light, and without your glasses - it looks pretty bloody good.

Next year WILL be mostly painting and we will get further with it. We will. We even plan to repaint the name by hand and move this from the centre to the panel nearest the stern. Those lovely vinyls will have to go.

But for now, we have the coming weekend planned for cruising and then - the galley gets it: new worktop, sink, tap, hob, tiles, lighting and a washing machine.