Saturday, 5 April 2008

the owl and the (kamikaze) pussy cat

While the family were here we borrowed next doors rowing boat and had a pootle about the marina. Just across from Peter is a lake which we rowed into, and a had a closer look at the lighter barges moored up there. From an estate agents perspective, as liveaboards i would say they have excellent room for development, great fixer-uppers, with lovely views and plenty of original features...

The constant gardener

This weekend my parents and my brother and his girlfriend all came to stay for a few days, before my brother and his girlfriend head off to work in South Africa for a year. the weather was fantastic so we all spent some time out on deck and Lorna did some gardening.

feng shui presto!

After the success of the 10 minute job that was putting up the shelves, we decided that we would try moving the bedroom round (well, the furniture in the bedroom at least) to see if we could get it to work better. Lorna did some magic with the arrangement of the furniture, i hung up some star shaped fairy lights and hey presto, it's like having a new bedroom!

shelf respect

Sometimes it's the little things, which it's easy to push to the back of the 'to do' list', which bring you happiness.
Recently we were given some kitchen cabinets and bits and pieces by a friend of a friend who was getting a new kitchen, which was fantastic

this included some shelves, which i've now got round to putting up and filling with nice things:

insulation exploration

You may remember that our corridor was long and partly uninsulated, so i bought a load of celotex insulation to remedy the situation. I put off the job for a while as i wasn't sure exactly how i was going to do it, but eventually i grasped the bull by the horns and got on with it, and it went very smoothly.
First step was to attach a wooden baton to the wall to hold all the celotex in place. After considering various options we went with glue, for simplicity and strength, and after advice from our next door neighbours used the fabulously named 'Sticks Like Sh*t' complete with asterisk.

I had to cut lengths of scrap wood to size to press the batons against the wall while the glue was drying, which was fiddly but worked really well

before then cutting the celotex to size and just pushing it in between the baton and the ceiling. We will ultimately be replacing the ceiling (and putting an interior wall over this insulation) but this is just a temporary solution in the meantime to keep us warm now.

Also, after the tantalising glimpse inside the walls i couldn't resist doing the same into the ceiling;

It looks like there is a tiny bit of rockwool insulation in the middle there, but basically there's room for an awful lot more celotex in there, hurrah!

go solar!

One thing i've been really pleased to start seeing in the shops is solar powered gizmos, especially garden lights. The more of this kind of stuff that sells the more money will be ut into research and the sooner it'll be before we can mount great big solar panels on our roof and have free, renewable energy.
Anyway, we bought some solar powered fairy lights, which may not exactly be going off grid, but they look great on the rails as we get on board at night.

wi fine

Rather than succumbing to the tyranny of BT (we tried to succumb to their tyranny but they didn't turn up to connect us so we cancelled them, ha! Damn the man!) we get our internet from wifi broadcast by the marina. We can't pick this up inside the boat so rather than carry on putting my laptop in the wheelhouse where it could see the signal and then bouncing it down into the office via an ethernet cable we bought an arial, a cable and a usb adaptor to plug the arial into my computer.

The first challenge was to get the arial down into the office. There was a hole already in the back wall which was JUST too small,

so i got out my big man drill and shredded the nut that was screwed into the hole,

making it big enough to pass the cable through.

Next i needed to mount the arial. Initially i used a clamp which was already attached to the post on the back deck, which worked ok,

but i wanted it higher so that it would get a better signal. SO, i got out the blowtorch and used it to help get the clamp thing off the post (along with a lot of thickly encrusted paint)

and then made a mast for the arial by taking a piece of scrap wood, drilling a big hole down through the top with a wood borer to take the mast itself (an IKEA curtain pole - £3.99!) and then drilling one hole through sideways for a bolt to hold the mast in the base and another the other way to act as a pivot and hold the whole thing in the top of the post. some metal brackets to stop it falling over one way and a line attached to the wheelhouse to hold it up the other way and it's solid as a rock!

We then clamped the arial to the top and ran the wire down it (taping it round at several points after this picture was taken) and it all works perfectly. Just needs a good coat of white hammerite over everything to stop it rusting and make it look a bit more like a proper mast and less like a homemade bodge job...