Thursday, 31 July 2008

Dog Scouts

When we go away caravaning with the dogs we have a full awning that we erect and inside this awning we then assemble an inner tent that acts as a 'bedroom' for the dogs. This follows our first experience of caravaning when the two dogs made it quite clear that a drafty windblown awning as a dog bedroom was not fit for purpose.

Having decided to sell all the caravaning kit in order to decamp to Caxton we cut up this inner tent and used it as a liner for the rear of our old Volvo dog wagon. Now we have decided to keep the caravan we need to replace their sleeping compartment.
We saw this two-man tent last week on sale for £20 and thought it would do rather nicely inside the main awning.

Fletcher and Floyd can be proper dog scouts now -no comments about their woggles please, this is a sensitive subject currently.

An added bonus is that the guy-ropes won't be necessary in the awning so it will take up less space than the old arrangement and can be moved about with ease. We are off next week to Norfolk so it will get its first outing - let's hope they approve.

Fitted kitchen

Here under construction is the only eye level cupboard in the galley. We have restricted cupboards at this level in order to enhance the feeling of space in this narrow steel tube. I imagine that when we get aboard there will be the inevitable confusion about what is to be stored where. Like others I am sure we will attempt to load too much aboard and have to thin things out again.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Prepare to be stunned!

Another Dave Moore masterpiece; behold Caxton's finery...

Here you see the detail of the sign painters art, a graduated shadow.

Dave Moore is in continuing the sign painting of Caxton today. The photo's provide an indication of what the boat will look like but they really don't do Caxton credit. It is only when we get Caxton out of the confines of a narrow workshop that we will really be able to appreciate the red sign written panels against the long black panels down the boats' flanks. Are we pleased? What do you think?

Medical Bulletin

Fletcher and Floyd Labrador are both recovering well from their operations. The first night home Floyd was very sleepy, clingy and completely uninterested in food; Fletcher was seemingly unaffected by his experience and only too eager to eat.

We have a course of antibiotics for them to take and instructions to keep them quiet for a few days. This morning they have had a short walk on their leads, tomorrow they go for post a Op check-up and Monday next the stitches come out.

All is well with their world, and ours thankfully, and as the hormone levels drop we trust that both boys become increasingly more reliable in their behaviour and are a credit to us and themselves when on the towpath.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Banger anyone?

Yesterday our new BBQ arrived and here it is assembled by my own fair hand and awaiting his inspection - I even read the instructions!

We have ummed and arred about what BBQ to get for Caxton, we both favoured a gas version and of those I wanted the Webber Q200 seen below
but when you cost in a small trolley and cover, the best price for this was about £175, just a bit steep we thought. Now if it was designed to do the ironing and change the engine oil then maybe it would appeal more but £175 for a few grilled bangers .. er no thanks. So we have looked again at the Son of Hibachi as reviewed by both of the Canal mags.
Just as an aside, I find the product reviews carried out by the Canal Boat Magazine to be a bit, well, limp. They never seem to criticise anything, nothing comes last, nothing is crap, useless, over priced, unreliable; now are they just very lucky with the choices of product to review or are they ducking the issue somewhere?
Sorry, back to the Son of Hibachi Grilletto (gags on name). It is compact and simple and we liked the chimney effect when it comes to getting it going and the carry case thingy. We hunted around and managed to buy it for £50 and we are going to take it away with us next week when we are off in the caravan. Provided that it doesn't rain all week we will give the BBQ a thorough work-out and report back.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Bribery and Seduction

Joe has just come in with a little present for the boys - PIGS EARS - do you think they might forgive us?
Pigs ears are their mostest favourite snack in the world. Fletcher scurries off to quiet spot in the garden and sets about rapidly devouring his treat, whilst Floyd, silly boy, throws his treat up in the air half a dozen times and attacks it from a number of angles, all the time checking to make sure we are watching him do it - he is just SO brave.

Erm, I think maybe they will be a little more subdued this evening though...


Things are very solemn here this morning. Joe walked the dogs and then went directly to the Vet where he checked them in for their operations. Fletcher and Floyd are to be castrated. Anyone who has had to leave their beloved pet at a Vet's will know just how it feels when you walk out leaving them to the mercy of strangers when it is YOUR job to be protecting them.

Logically you know that you are doing the right thing. Logically you know that this is a routine operation and all will be well. Logically you know that they're as tough as old boots and will recover rapidly.

But what place logic when you feel like a total scumbag?

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Crop circles explained

Reports are coming in from rural Lincolnshire about the latest series of crop circles. A combine harvester driver has just been interviewed about the circles he had created in a field this morning.

"I was distracted, I couldn't believe my eyes, I had to turn round and check on what I was seeing" explained the stunned driver. "She was dancing around in the bedroom, waving an iron about, music booming out of the window".

The woman who caused this poor driver to deviate from his course across the rape field has been interviewed about her behaviour.

"I bought a Reggae CD in Woollies yesterday", she explained, "I couldn't help myself, as soon a Shaggy's Mr Bombastic came on I was swinging my hips and stomping. Things just worse when Pass the Dutchie and Liquidator played. It was if I was 14 again and dancing at the local youth club!"

The woman has promised that she will be more discreet in future and has been bound-over to restrain her activities in the bedroom.

Just a few things to do

The build of Caxton is progressing nicely but the house sale ain't gonna happen in the foreseeable future. That therefore means mothballing the house and one of the cars. So what now has to be done to facilitate our smooth move onto the boat?

We need to shift our telecomms service provider and cancel existing arrangements.
Having decided to use a T-Mobile package we are going to switch over in early September so we can bed things in for a month before we are off to Caxton.

We need to reduce utility bills for the house.
Going to get the water company to fit a meter - no standing charges therefore, in theory, no bills.
Reduce our direct debit to the electricity provider to account for very little usage - we want to keep a supply on for when the house is checked.

Sort Insurance for Caxton and get a licence.
I have emailed a selection of insurers that are on the Waterscape web site and requested quotations. If anyone has view of the best insurer, let me know please.
I have also downloaded the Licence application in readiness.

We need to redirect our post.
Friends have offered to deal with our post so we will sort a redirection with the Royal Mail to their address. We will also reduce written communications to a minimum if possible.

Just a few things to be getting on with in readiness for our new life style!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

That's the last time you do that..

Joe returned this morning from the first walk of the day with the dogs. "I met a man with a chocolate Lab", he says "I think I met them when the dog was only a puppy but he is quite grown now" (What, the dog or the man? thinks I)
"I put the boys on their leads, you know what Fletcher can be like, but they seemed alright". "Then I realised," he continued, "that the chocolate Lab had been castrated".

This, folks, is significant because Fletcher doesn't take kindly to all entire dogs and every now and again there is a 'punch-up'. I have been saying that Fletcher needs to lose something; but the man of the house he say NO!
Today though, Fletcher is fine, Floyd is EXCITED and so it is into mark your territory time with Floyd, who incidentally is not at all aggressive.
So Floyd cocks his leg and... pees over the the sandal of the Chocolate Labs master!
OH God, abject apologies!
What can you say?
Fortunately the fellow was very magnanimous, "Don't worry, it will rinse off.."
So red faced, Joe returned home muttering 'that's the last time you do that' to the oblivious miscreant.

The result: both Fletcher and Floyd are booked for a trip to the Vet on Monday morning.

Me saying 'they don't need 'em' is not going down too well with himself though. It's obviously a man thing..

We might hate it!

We have had dogs most of our life together and the vast majority of holidays have included our canine companions. So, camping, hired cottages, pony trekking and narrow boating have all been on the list of suitable activities/holidays. When Joe and I retired, mindful of a now reduced income, we bought our first caravan.

Welcome to the world of Ebay!

We hadn't got a clue what we were looking at. There before us were lists and lists of meaningless names, where do you start? 'Let's look for two berth vans only', click, instant filter, voila, two berths. More lists of meaningless names.
We bought the caravan mags but they were of little value because we didn't want new, we didn't want expensive - we wanted dirt cheap because this was an experiment, we might HATE caravaning.
We eventually bid on what we thought seemed a likely candidate and a good deal, a 16 year old Bailey Odyssey (see what I mean about silly names) with a good service history and ALL the kit.

We then drove to Bedfordshire in our dog-wagon, an ancient Suzuki Grand Vitara that just happened to have a tow-bar, to inspect the purchase and if satisfied, drag it home . Well we were satisfied so the caravan came home. Then followed a period of frenetic activity where we scrubbed and cleaned the old girl, sorted what kit we had acquired, worked out what kit we needed, found the local camping/caravaning suppliers, bought more gear, insured it, joined the Caravan Club and, booked a week away in Buxton.

May 2006, look out Derbyshire, here we come! We had never put up an awning before; I can tell you, it doesn't make for marital bliss! The Club site was in a dis-used quarry surrounded by woodlands that we had access to for walking the boys, great stuff. Two days into this caravaning lark, late afternoon, the heavens had opened and the wind and rain were lashing the van. We were sitting, feet up, reading, enjoying a cuppa, the dogs were contentedly asleep, "Why didn't we do this years ago, its great?", and so it was.

We used the old Bailey a couple more times before buying a better van. We traded my petrol auto Nissan Xtrail for a manual diesel Xtrail, added a tow-bar and we were off. No regrets, we have thoroughly enjoyed our late introduction to caravaning.

- just need to get the beige jackets and the panama hats and persuade Joe to wear socks with his sandals - JOKE - he already does! No, no he doesn't honest!

Friday, 25 July 2008

I am Gorgeous

'Not another photograph? I'll try the 'eyebrow slightly raised' but will she read the message?

I know, I know, I am gorgeous. Now just GO away woman!'

Just doing Diners

This is a photograph that we spotted when trawling for ideas. We liked the look of this dinette and presented Barn Owl with this, saying ' One like this please'. But, (isn't there always a but), it has got to be only 5' in length, not the usual 6' or 6'6". AND, it has got to convert to a 6'6" bed for guests. AND, it has also got to maximise potential storage options.
Joe did a series of drawings to show how the conversion might work and Stuart stacked bits of wood and cans to check on seat heights, with me perched precariously on top as an integral part of the experiment.

And here's the baseplate of Caxton's very own all singing, all dancing, 5' dinette cum bed cum store.

The bench seats constructed showing cupboards saloon side that will house DVD recorder, sky box (if we bother) and radio etc.

The 12v freezer will be housed in the bench seat at the top of the picture.
Well done BARN OWL!!!!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Feeling Faint

I was speaking on the phone to Stuart at Barn Owl this morning. During the course of the conversation Stuart said something that left me feeling quite faint. Reaching for a chair, I hastily sat myself down and, admonishing myself to remain calm, I tried to focus on what Stuart was saying..

"Do you want an IRONING BOARD in that cupboard?" "Hello, hello are you still there?" a disembodied voice was saying.

"Yes, yes I'm here." I said as I lay on the floor twitching and convulsing..

Well alright perhaps I am being a bit of a drama queen but ironing, I ask you. What a boring, tiresome, soul-destroying task. Anyway, it was left that I would just throw a couple of towels over a work surface and wield the iron as and when really necessary. However when I was out later in the day at a local camping store I found this.....
It is 31" in length and 12" wide, so a short but conventional ironing board. The legs fold away so it takes up very little space.
Goodness knows what the assistants in the camping store thought of a middle aged woman buying an ironing board to go camping with!
I suppose I will still have to give in a get an iron though...?


This is the type of radiator that I would favour for Caxton. No, actually this is the kind of radiator that I WANT for Caxton, please Joe.

We are going to put a fin rad right at the back under the rear steps where the dogs beds are and that will help to heat the galley. At the end of the galley is the dinette and that will have one of these Victorian style radiators adjacent to it and a bit further along in the saloon another of these beauties.
The bathroom will have a heated towel rail and the cabin will probably have fin rads, though that has yet to be confirmed. That's quite enough heat for me because I am at that time of life where I could heat the entire boat without central heating or fires. 'God, open the window it's like an oven in here,' is a cry all too frequently heard at home - that's the polite version anyway.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Feeling Spacious

Shower tray in situ. This will be lined with waterproof boards rather than tiles. We had chosen the boards, make and colour, but Stuart the boat builder, had heard a series of negative comments about boards based on MDF so he was keen to switch to ply based boards. You can't ignore the voices of experience so we have chosen an alternative product.

One of the things that surprised me when I visited Barn Owl on Monday was just how 'spacious', yes spacious, the bathroom feels on Caxton. Adjacent to our cabin, the bathroom is yet another walk through number and it feels comfortable and roomy.
On the right the vacuflush toilet has been placed. The black cable hanging behind it is a power feed for the electric flush control. We wanted something that had the look and feel of a conventional ceramic loo and this fits the bill very nicely.
The doorway through the storage arch into the saloon is in the middle of the bathroom. Opposite the loo on the port side of the boat will be the vanity and hand basin. There is plenty of storage factored into this room - something we are trying to achieve throughout Caxton given that we intend live in this steel tube!
Things will be transformed here when the waterproof boards go in: this will then allow the shower and shower doors to be fitted. Roll on..

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bloggers Meet

After visiting Barn Owl to deliver the tiles for the galley, agree the colour of the oak flooring and catch up on the progress of the build I drove over to Stourport for lunch. Joe had been left at home with Fletcher and Floyd but I was not alone as my friend Val had opted to come and see Caxton. Stourport is only 13 miles from the Barn Owl workshop so we headed over on a beautiful SUMMER day (Can you believe it?) lunched briefly and the wandered into the basin to see if NB.Marmaduke was back from their cruise. And yes, John and Cathy were there sitting enjoying the sunshine.Being the very hospitable folk they are, we were invited to join them for a cup of tea and a chat. Val had a tour of Marmaduke while I chatted to Cathy and her sister-in-law Maureen outside in the glorious sunshine. It was lovely to meet them both again and also John's big brother Paul, if only briefly. Thank you folks!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Don't let her do it!

While herself is otherwise engaged we have been having a quick snoop at what other blogging dogs have been up to and to our horror we have uncovered a dastardly plot. In a bid to foil said plot here is a message for all Greyhounds everywhere. We know you are skinny wimps compared to a couple of rough tough boys like us but we can't sit here and let them do it to you . Some owners are talking about making their Greyhounds wear pyjamas OUTSIDE!

The shame. The ignominy. Dogdom ridiculed. NO we say.

Now there is nothing wrong with jimjams but we wouldn't be seen dead in the street with OUR Superman outfits on - it is just not done. So Ranger, take your owner in hand, don't let her do it to you.

Solidarity brothers

Fletcher and Floyd Labrador

Adjusting to Present Conditions

Friday I went into Grantham again and picked up the tiles I had ordered for the galley. I am going across to Stourbridge on Monday to deliver the tiles, finalise the colour of the oak floor, decide on the base for the woodburner and generally drool over Caxton. I will of course go armed with a camera in order to capture all that wonderful progress!
Below, the glass border tiles for the galley. The galley will have highly glazed white 4 inch tiles with a mosaic glass border AND, a chrome ceramic border.

In the mean time I have been out with himself to get some bits for the caravan. The caravan, along with the house and the car, were all to be sold, freeing us to go and live on Caxton. However the present economic climate means that we would have to give these assets away - I kid you not - so, we have decided that the house can be mothballed and we will keep both car and caravan until such time as things recover. The cost of storing the small amount of our household goods that we are planning to keep is roughly equivalent to the cost of mothballing and insuring the whole lot. The advantage of keeping the caravan and car is that we also get to use them! So we are off to Norfolk in August and then Wales in September. Next year we might moor Caxton up and take off to France for a few weeks with the dogs. That will be our first time abroad with the dogs. So some advice please; how easy is it travelling with dogs on the Continent?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Portholes IN

The portholes have been fitted to Caxton. These are made by Channelglaze and are 15" opening double-glazed portholes. Early advice was to go for double glazing if we could to cut down the condensation and noise. Time will tell if this has been a wise or foolish decision.

Make that BED!

Barn Owl have been pushing ahead with work on our bedroom. The picture above is work in progress on the cupboards that bridge the head of the bed. The cupboard doors have to be specially shaped to fit the arch that has been created over the porthole.

Caxton is going to have a five foot cross-bed . Above you see how the bed is being constructed in order to be able to extend across the corridor to its full length. There is provision for storage under the bed and also the vacuum cassette will reside here. Barn Owl are currently refining the operation of the bed to enable a single person to be able to extend it.

Friday, 18 July 2008


Not just a fire but an ECO fire. I can now feel better about myself and the impact my desire to keep WARM is having on our planet because the fire of choice is an ECOburn 7. It even has the ubiquitous GREEN label to prove its ECO worthiness.
Enough of the cynicism. This particular fire is apparently very efficient in how it combusts, producing more heat per ton of coal/peat/wood than the average power station. So that should do nicely when we feel the need to keep the old blood temperature above freezing on a cold March morning - can't be an eco-warrior, best settle for being an eco-wimp then.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


The view above is the port side of the galley looking to the stern. The cluttered look on the work-top template is an attempt to strike an authentic note, showing the galley as it will be when we live on board. No, not really. (Blimey, who am I kidding?)
In this run we have the fridge at the top of the picture adjacent to the steps, then a cupboard which will be under the sink, then the tumble dryer and finally the DISHWASHER. This last item has been cunningly placed so that we can load and unload it without having to suspend ourselves from the houdini hatch above. The space in front also allows us to fall upon our knees in front of said dishwasher in an act of dutiful homage.

And here on the port side of the galley is the cooking device in comely black. For years now I have opted for ceramic hobs, just sooo easy to clean dear! Now it is back to the tribulation of dismantling a cooker to clean it every time you so much as look at the damn thing. Nice cooker though..And here we are again, with another stab at the homely cluttered look, and showing two cupboard units beside the cooker. At the top of the photo you can just make out the full height cupboard behind the cooker, this is to be a larder unit. There will also be eye level cupboards on this (port) side. So I should be set fair to knock up the odd sandwich and cuppa if I meet you on the cut...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Introducing Samuel, a yellow Labrador. In the photograph above he is sitting at the bow of a hire boat travelling up the Stratford Canal.

We first got Samuel on 9th November 1987, five days after I had had my German Shepherd put to sleep. Samuel arrived a 12 weeks old and completely took over our hearts; my heart in particular because unlike Fletcher and Floyd, Samuel was very much a Mummy's boy.

Samuel grew into a dog that was a bit baggy, just a tad too much skin. He had a line down his face, the Labrador honesty line, he was very vocal and would grumble and grunt away to anyone who spoke to him. 'What are you doing Sam?' was always met with a responding grunt. 'Are you sure?' yet another grunt; he ALWAYS had the last word (grunt).

When Joe was trying to fix a car, we had a project at the time of converting an ancient Mini into a smart convertible Mini , Samuel would poke his head under it and have a word/grunt with Joe.

The dog was incredibly inquisitive an observant and these traits, combined with his vocalising, meant that soon Samuel was being consulted about any number of things; his 'opinions' were sought and he was never shy about sharing his thoughts/grunts with us.
This was dog that was clumsy, he fell in on every boat holiday we ever had. He rolled in gloopy mud at every opportunity, practised selective hearing, snuck bones into the house, snored incessantly and farted for Europe.
Yes, I know, if you are not a dog lover then I sound certifiable: It is ONLY a dog, get a life...
Well Samuel enriched our lives enormously and we very are grateful that he came into our lives. What we didn't realise was that our time with this incredible mutt was to be so short. At seven an a half years old we had to face the heart breaking decision to have Samuel put to sleep.
He has left an indelible mark on our lives and those who knew him. My two brothers are convinced that Floyd is Samuel reincarnated - they bear so many similar characteristics. But of course he isn't, Floyd is Floyd, Samuel was Samuel, a one off, a giant amongst dogs - My wonderful dog!


Here Dave Moore is starting the signwriting on Caxton's three panels. You can just make out where Dave has chalked the outline of what he intends to paint.

And here are the three panels already beginning to provide a sense of what is to come when the black and grey shadowing is added. We have a monogram, or is that a duo gram with BOTH our initials included? Actually there was a bit of leg pulling about 'Ladies on Top' given that my initial comes first in the device, but hey, what's the problem with that?
You can also see that Caxton is going to keep Khayamanzi, K2 and Matilda Rose (fellow bloggers) company at Brinklow.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Washing Machine deliveries anyone?

This morning we picked up a hire van, collected some muscle in the form of our friend Alan, and loaded our home washing machine ready for its journey to Stourbridge - destination NB. Caxton - where it will be swapped for the new washing machine we bought especially for Caxton.
Joe has now headed off, leaving me a list of chores to do as well as looking after the two dogs. In turn I have armed him with my camera and instructed him to take lots and lots of pictures!
Having spoken to Stuart at Barnowl this morning I know that he is now preparing to put in Caxton's portholes so I am really looking forward to seeing the pictures of this stage of the build.

Monday, 14 July 2008

No room for the ballgowns then.

Barnowl have made a start putting in the wardrobes, one each side of the front doors. There's no room for the ballgowns; I've told Joe he will have to dress conventionally when we move on to Caxton. When I think about how many of our clothes simply hang in our wardrobes month in, month out, (actually that should probably say, Year In , Year Out) while we use only a modest assortment, lack of hanging space doesn't seem to really present a problem. I hope I am not eating my words three months into this venture..

We have bought a number of those 'Vacuum-Seal storage bags' for storing linen and clothing during seasonal transitions - winter bedding and clothing can be sealed in these space saving bags under the bed and swapped for the summer gear and vice versa. These bags seal the contents from damp and dust (DUST under MY bed, surely not?) and reduces the bulk by up to 75%. I have tried this at home with a couple of sleeping bags and it really does reduce the size considerably - Very useful on the boat - now where are those dogs?

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Step this way

Here Barnowl have made a start on the steps at the stern of the boat. This will lead into the galley and the space under them there steps is the cabin for the boys (dogs), about 4ft by 2ft. Bit tight but then so is everything else in a narrowboat. At least they have a dedicated space that is not under our feet and they also have a unique vantage point for watching food preparation, that being of particular interest to Labradors!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Bumper Beds for the Boys

Today Joe and I went into Grantham for a few bits and pieces and saw these dog beds. Not so long ago I paid in the region of £50 for a bed for Fletcher. He promptly 'modified' it to his liking i.e. tore it into pieces; so much more comfortable don't you know? These beds were only £10 each and as you can see they are enormous. Fingers crossed that they meet with Fletcher's approval and he doesn't feel the need to check the innards..

Caxton gets an Arcade

Here is a view from the bathroom through our two foot arcade into the saloon. On the left is the tumble dryer with shelving above for, in theory towels and linen, but who knows what will end up residing there. On the right opposite the tumble dryer is full height broom cupboard.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Hundred and Two

The telephone rang this morning at 08.00 and a voice started singing..

'Happy Birthday to you,
You're a hundred and two,
You look like a monkey
And belong in a zoo'
It's ME!
'ME', was Jack my eleven year old nephew and our future lockboy. Aren't they just lovely? Gnash, gnash...

Mere Trivia

To add to the news that the washing machine does not fit yesterday, Stuart also reports that the shower tray, when it was unwrapped, has a manufacturing fault. The tile set I ordered for the fireplace turned up bright an early this morning and, when we unwrapped the package, the background colour was wrong. I have called the supplier and they will call back later today.

In the great scheme of things this is mere trivia; I must remember that when I get the next call to say that something doesn't fit, is faulty, broken, three times the price or delayed by twelve years!
Oh and another thing; the washing machine will not fit in our Nissan XTrail so we have had to book a hire van for Tuesday to take our WM to Stourbridge and bring the new WM back...repeat after me, trivia, trivia, trivia.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

It doesn't what?

Brand new, super deluxe, highly efficient, eco-friendly, gleaming washing machine -
I took a call from Stuart at Barnowl this morning to say that the washing machine we took so much time sourcing will not fit anywhere in the boat. My suggestion of an extension on the side as a separate utility got me a 'slap' from himself.
So the solution; after checking the dimensions, Joe is to take our Miele washing machine from home on Tuesday and swap it for the new one we bought for Caxton.
Would you believe it?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Another 'MASTER' piece

Dave Moore the MASTER sign painter has been busy again. Whilst I was with Barnowl on Monday, Dave arrived bearing gifts.. Caxtons' back door liners no less!

These have been decorated in the Birmingham Canal Navigation (BCN) style - excuse my lousy photo - they are stunning.
Thursday and Friday of this week, Dave will be at the Barnowl workshop sign painting Caxton - and it will no longer just another narrowboat shell but an individual boat. Can't wait..

Putting on the style with a tile

I have just ordered the Victorian tile-set for the solid fuel stove.
Ten tiles, five each side of the fire surround. You would not (actually, you just might) believe the differences in prices for these.
A local store wanted £112 for the ten tiles.
One web site wanted £135 for the set, another £82 and then I found Valley Fire Places in Chesterfield and they wanted , wait for it,
£47.50 for the same ten tiles!
Done deal.
They will be with me early next week.
Hand made, six inch tiles, lovely.
Do you think that Caxton will be impressed?
Oops, losing it, Caxton is ONLY a boat. Get a grip woman!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Visit to Barnowl, that was fun..

Leaving home a just after 7am yesterday I arrived at the Barnowl workshop about three hours later - well it was Monday and as anyone who drives regularly will know, Monday and Friday are just about the worst days for travelling. The kettle was on and in no time I was sipping a lovely strong cuppa - just the antidote for a tedious journey.
Unloading the car, we brought in the fabrics I had bought for the dinette and the curtains, the kitchen tap, TV an TV bracket. It was then time to have a look at progress and sort planning issues out with Stuart.

Caxton has now been lined out and the bulkheads are in place. Soon after I had arrived Stuart and his father loaded the washing machine and tumble dryer on board; that was no mean feat lugging heavy cumbersome items like that up steps and in through small doorways. God knows how they come out again..

The washing machine didn't fit where we had envisaged, the front was bowed slightly and wouldn't allow a concealing door to be fitted on the cupboard. There was quick change of plan and now the tumble dryer resides here.

Armed with the plan that Joe and I had drawn, a tape measure and a roll of masking tape, Stuart and I crawled around inside Caxton, marking and measuring happily. The bathroom has now been reconfigured slightly, the galley has got marginally bigger and the mechanics of how we get a 5' dinette to stretch to 6'6" visitor bed have been thoroughly discussed.

Five and half hours later I was retracing my drive home, well actually, not quite... the Sat-Nav took me on a diversion to avoid 'a traffic incident' - Say hello to Birmingham City centre!

'That was fun', she says - tongue firmly in cheek.