Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Thanks Bones.

I was reading Bones's blog and she mentions that her Boat Safety Scheme Certificate is due and this has caused a very slight ripple of urgency in her. This has made me check my paper work on TRB today when I popped up there to set the heating and pick up my IPod.

I have found 2 certificates of complience in my "The Robber Button" logbook folder. The frst one is from 2005 when the hull was completed by Keith Woods and then I have one for 2007 from James Barron-Clarke on the completeion of the Build and remedial work when we took over TRB as a new boat.

So I either need a BSS certificate this year or in 2011? I will ask Derek the Gas installer who fixed my gas leak earlier this year. I'd like to thank Bones as I could be in trouble if I hadn't checked all of that paper work.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Wolseley Bridge

Photo's will be added this evening

So Friday arrived and we met at TRB for a weekend of relaxing, Friday afternoon we did the usual shop and also bought a treat the new James Bond film. Once back from the supermarket and tea was made and enjoyed we settled down to watch A Quantum of Solace on my laptop. I nearly cried as they destroyed the Aston Martin DB9!!! (I really do love that car)

Saturday morning Mrs EB set off home to meet her sister who had just flown back from her holidays and then they drove to the marina. I made TRB ready and we set off about 11:30am for Wolsey Bridge, two locks and about 2 miles. Not a vast trip but enjoyable and it was freezing with a damp air with the odd bits of rain. We got there about 1:30pm and had lunch and a glass of nice red. A little bit of chat and stuff, I then took us to the winding and turned TRB round and headed back to Wolseley Bridge as we had planned on going to the Wolseley Arms for tea.

Waking early Sunday morning 8:30 (really 7:30 DST started), we had taken a day off Church (that doesn't happen very often) I set for home about 9 am we went via Tixall Wide as then sun was out and it was the most beautiful morning. Arriving at Great Haywood Marina at about 11:30 we needed to refuel and pump out, there was queue 1 boat in and one waiting, so I moored up at the side by John and Jons Marina engineering. Mrs EB's sister loaded her car and I went and said hello to Jeff, one of the owners of the marina. He was as rude as ever and even tried to stop me getting in the club house!!! I had the last laugh, he was helping to to moor a boat that was filling up and I had a bacon butty, and winked at him and said if he had been a little nicer he could have had on as well.

After filling up and pumping out I moored up and we cleared away, I topped up the water and washer TRB down, Mrs EB tidied up TRB. It was a wonderful weekend and very nice to see Mrs EB's sister.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Wet Black Bottom is now in the water.

So today after 3 days of jet-washing, and painting The Robber Button was trailered back into the water, a slightly nerve racking experience. Jon Sharpe an expert with the tractor and trailer reversed the huge lifting trailer upto TRB
This is when an amazing piece of driving is needed, one slight misjudgement and our wonderful boat could be damaged beyond repair, John made it look very easy.

After a short time I climbed aboard the trailer and onto the stern of TRB whilst John drove up to the rear gates and then revered down the slipway, I put the tiller arm on and made her ready to reverse off the trailer. I have to say I was slightly nervous, the wind had got up and there were waves on the marina. It went very smoothly and I was soon reversing off the trailer and up to our mooring. I was just reversing onto our jetty when the wind took the bow.... and I had to start all over again, I have never done this on my own, Mrs EB usually grabs one of the guide ropes and pulls TRB in whilst I am guiding the boat in with the engine and tiller. It was interesting and fun, I was offered help by a couple of very helpful people, but I declined as I really wanted to achieve this on my own, and I did it!!!! yay

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Very Wet Black Bottom (day 3 of Blacking)

I drove to the Marina with a scowl on my face it was raining and boy was it raining. It was also very cold, but at least it wasn't freezing. There are rules to painting blacking on a boat, rule 1 You can't do it with the risk of freezing or at a temperature below zero and rule 2 you can't do it in the rain.

The port side of the boat was in the lee side of the wind and rain, so I managed to get that done pretty quickly, unfortunately the starboard side was in the wind and was really getting a battering. I couldn't do anything at all for about an hour and half as the rain was relentless. After that it did ease slightly, so armed with a drying cloth and my roller I started again only to be rained on again after about 15 minutes. That was how it was until the starboard was done about an hour or so later.

Now The Robber Button has a nice Blacked Bottom and is ready to be put back in to the water tomorrow afternoon.

To have the backing done by someone would have costed £7 per foot plus the lift out of £150. which is a whopping £549.00 I am guessing plus V.A.T. I do have to pay for the paint I have used, about 1/3 of a large tin which I am getting at trade from the wonderful Jon & John as I have been helping them out, so I have saved a heck of a lot of money which is just wonderful, as being out of work means no money, but I do have to say I am well tired and in need of a large curry and cold beer.

This is my first real D.I.Y job on TRB, I am not in the class of Mortimer Bones or Captain Ahab, but I do feel very proud of myself for having done some major D.I.Y work on The Robber Button.

Knowing that TRB will be back in the water tomorrow we have a weekend trip planned Mrs EB's sister is joining us and we will be popping out to find a pub on the cut for a meal and few glasses of something of the vine or from the Hop.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

We have a Shiny Black Bottom!!!! (Blacking day 2)

So I arrived at Great Haywood in glorious sunshine. I was given an old paint brush and an old roller and a paint tray and off I went. Painting first with the brush the water line, I painted a good thick layer of bitumen paint 57 feet one side and 57 feet the other. Then I started on the roller and about 4 hours later she had a covering of blacking all over the hull and the swim.

I took a break at about 1pm and popped into Great Haywood and bought a lot of bacon for sandwiches and made us all bacon sarnies...Mmmmmm I love bacon sarnies. Then after lunch I used the roller again and painted the water line once again. That was that for the day, nature will take it's course and the paint will dry and tomorrow I can give TRB her final coat of Blacking.

TRB looks great with her Shiny Black Bottom.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Day 1 of Blacking (prep) (or cleaning a big dirty bottom)

I arrived at a rainy Great Haywood Marina, to be greeted by John and Jon I was to be the first boat pulled out. I helped John, for insurance reasons, John would sail the boat onto the trailer, basically if the boat was damaged or fell off the trailer I wouldn't be covered.

So by about 10:30 TRB was on the trailer being hauled out of the water. This is amazing to watch and is not an easy job, well I know I wouldn't want to reverse someone pride and joy and place it on blocks...... Anyhooo 8 large wooden blocks were placed under TRB and she was lowered onto them.

Once on them I made us all a cuppa and then I was shown the huge jet-washer, diesel powered and so strong that it is a fight to keep it spraying onto the hull of the boat. So for the next hour and half or so I was spraying the bottom of my boat, two and half years of grime and weed was just flying off, along with old paint and rust. With the help of very heavy rain, it was a very wet and messy business but highly enjoyable. The jet-washing job was done but it was raining and Jon and John had to go to do something away from the marina so I locked up a boat on stilts and headed home.

Tomorrow as long as it isn't raining too much the first coat of blacking will be going on.

To be honest her bottom wasn't too dirty and it would have lasted another year, but I am going on what I was told and that was 2 years should be the Maximum time between blacking's, she has never been blacked and I was really surprised that she wasn't as bad as I expected. One side had a heck of a lot of weed growing on it and some big rust pockets. It was also good to see first hand the propeller (read this link)

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Good weather...needed

I popped up to Great Haywood yesterday with my Mum, she hasn't seen TRB for a very long time and remarked how nice the boat looked and how wonderful the marina now looked now that the plants had settled in and the grass was now established.

Not at the boat today as Mrs E.B is in London at a meeting and I will be at the marina from Monday blacking TRB if the weather allows. It isn't looking good, the boat needs to back in the water by Saturday.... Lets hope and pray I can it all done by then.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Hammock

I thought I would add a couple of photo's from inside TRB below is the Galley and the Saloon, on the work top is the bulkhead hide from the bathroom where the leak has soaked it...well it is drying out nicely and I will be putting it back this weekend. Over the Kitchen hatch is the new fly screen which is a very welcome addition. The most comfortable bed in the world "The Hammock" it is just wonderful and is even better when it is a very windy night.....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Windy morning

I had a meeting with a friend on Friday afternoon so I didn't get to TRB until around 6pm and the marina was all quiet and deserted. I got on board and turned the heating on and lit a coal fire Mrs EB would be about an hour behind me as she was working late. I set about cleaning and making TRB all nice for her arrival, which was at about 6:50 I was listening to The Now Show on R4. Once that was over we had a drive up to Stone and found a wonderful Idian and had a great curry. The portions were huge and the herns and spices tasted fantasic.

Back on board I decided to sleep in the hammock, which was great and so comfortable, during the nigh the wind really got up... I was rocked to sleep. The nest morning I went to see when TRB would be pulled out and I was given a date of a week on Monday, so that will be a busy week of painting. The wind was really blowing across the marina so we decided not to go out but stay at the marina, John and Jon asked for a hand when they were putting a boat back in the water and taking a boat out and the wind wasn't playing so I was on a guide rope.... all great fun. I cooked the guys a bacon and egg sandwich which seemed to hit the spot.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hire or Not

There is an article in this months Canal Boat about how many people are now renting out their narrow boats, and not changing the licence and or their insurance, thus they are not properly covered. I have to be honest I would no more hire out The Robber Button than I would sell my own mother. But what worries me is what if a boat without the proper insurance damages my boat....

I love people to come along and and enjoy The Robber Button but she is ours Mrs EB's and mine and I am selfish I don't want other people taking her out and maybe damaging her.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Nice relaxing Saturdays

We arrived back from a cold Barcelona yesterday evening after eating and drinking far, far too much. Though Barcelona was cold it wasn't too cold to explore the labyrinth that is the Gothic Area, a wonderful place of tiny back streets crammed with tiny shops and Tapas bars or tapes bar as one said...hehehe
OK a heating update:- The central heating still has a slight weap on the feed to the bathroom radiator but I can live with that.... So after waking this morning we thought it was a fartoo nice a day not to go to The Robber Button. Arriving at Great Haywood Marina the sun was out and there was a definite feeling of spring in the air. It was decided to take TRB out and have bacon sandwiches and big mugs of tea moored up somewhere. So here was are moored at Tixall Wide, a coal fire burning away, Mrs EB sat in front of it reading her Dean Koontz book, I am listening to Miss Marple on BBC7, there is a large flock of black headed gulls flying around calling and a flock of sheep bleating away. There is quite a strong breeze staring up and to be honest all is wonderful with the world.
I believe that either next week or the week after TRB will be pulled out of the water for that blacking job that is looming...

Monday, 2 March 2009

Mini Update

Well I went to see if I still had a leak on the central heating and guess what? YES but it was only a small one. I have tightened up the nut a little more and also put some sealant around the joint... Lets wait and see...

It really gets my goat that I can't seem to fix the leak, but everything else seems to be OK, the boat is drying out but the bathroom & wardrobe doors still wont close...so I am guessing a good long stay on the boat will soon dry that out and they will fit again. It is getting a little closer to when TRB is taken out of the water for her blacking, I am also going to see about a little electrical job with the bilge pump. and brushing the flue, a full service and we should be all ship-shape for a good season of cruising.

No trip or visit last weekend as it's Mrs EB's 40th Birthday and we were out with friends having indian food and lots and lots of wine.