Monday, 29 May 2017

Four corners

Inspired by Enceladus' post here, I got a map out (well, up on the screen) to check out the furthest destination I've boated to in each direction. And they are:

North: Brighouse Basin (Calder and Hebble Navigation), on Andante, 2005 or 2006. I have no photos from this abortive trip from Huddersfield to Sowerby Bridge, which only got as far as the aforesaid basin, but here is a picture of dear little Andante.

South: Woking (Basingstoke Canal), on Chertsey, August 2016

East: Downham Market, on Warrior.

West: Ellesmere Port, on Chertsey, Easter 2011

And as a bonus, the lowest and highest points...

Lowest: Holme Fen, (9' below sea level) on Warrior, April 2009.
That's easy, because it's the lowest point on the entire inland waterways system - indeed, in the entire country. No photos of the actual place, but here's our plaque for getting there (upside down for some reason).

Highest: Standedge Tunnel, (645' above sea level) Andante, 2006
I confirmed this with a useful table from Pennine Waterways - and this is the highest point on the whole system. So I may not have visited the most northerly, southerly, easterly or westerly points (by my rough reckoning, Tewitfield, Godalming (so should have done that last year instead of sitting in Weybridge for a week!), Brandon Creek and Llangollen), but I have boated to both the highest and the lowest. Which is a start.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Floor four

Jim has achieved amazing results today with most of the new joists in place, and a lot more solid that the old ones were, in many ways. Whereas the old ones were each in two pieces, Jim has managed to get the new ones in full length.
This is possible because he hasn't gone right into the pockets in the original brickwork - an additional precaution against lurking dry rot. Instead of being supported on one row of rather wobbly brick piers, they now have two rows of concrete blocks. And unlike before, they have noggins holding them rigid as well. Finally, they're screwed rather than nailed together. A very sturdy base for the Douglas fir floorboards we went to Hull to order yesterday.

And while Jim was doing all that, my friend Lyn and I took Ricky for a walk in the Rivelin Valley.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Skippety doo dah

The first skipful, beautifully packed and ready to go, containing old laminate flooring, some carpet, rotten floorboards and joists, earth that was packed up against the rear wall of the house, and a lot of dirt and old rubbish from under the dining room floor.
The next one comes on Tuesday!

Friday, 26 May 2017

More floor

I know this is very dull for you, but it's exciting for me, so please bear with me. The dining room floor has now been taken up completely and all the old rubbish, broken glass, old tiles, paper (paper!), rubble, moulds various and quite a lot of earth has been removed.
Jim has also taken out the hearth, which was a thin layer of concrete over some pretty amazing lumps of stone, which I shall take a long way away from the house and make into a rockery. Some of the plaster in the wettest corner has already been hacked off with more to go.
There is a full - and exceedingly efficiently packed - skip outside. The new joists are ordered and tomorrow morning we are off to the East Riding to look at various sorts of reclaimed timber flooring. A small but expensive parcel of poison has also arrived, ready to apply to everything within potential reach of the dry rot.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Floored again

Back in the house, the dining room floor has now been almost completely taken up - just the bits around the gas and central heating pipes to negotiate. Depending on the cost, we may well replace all the joists too, rather than just the obviously rotten ones. This would make it easier to shovel all the crap out from underneath, they could be better supported (at the moment the joins are sitting on wobbly piles of bricks); we wouldn't have to worry about all the old nails when laying the new floor, and it would be easier and more effective to buy pre-treated timber than to treat the old ones.

I think I will then go for reclaimed pitch pine boards (like on Warrior!) direct onto the joists, rather than laying new boards and then flooring on top. This should enable it to breathe better, and the height should be roughly the same as the sound boards in the front room, which I am probably going to have sanded and oiled as they are mostly aesthetically OK as well.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Chertsey in the dry dock

We drove down to Grendon at lunchtime today to see Chertsey in the dry dock. We didn't actually get to go down and poke about - there were a good few inches of water still to go - but from where we were looking, things looked fine.
The blacking certainly seems to have held up well over the last seven years - but as it was three coats of Coflex brushed onto shotblasted bare steel, I'm not entirely surprised. To have had Coflex again this time would have been prohibitively expensive so I'm having the Jotul stuff as recommended by Laurence.
What we did notice this time, that had either slipped our minds or escaped our notive previously, was how far the 'new' (1980s) baseplate extends - it could be that this is where we have mysteriously and invisibly stuck on a couple of occasions. As well as blacking, I'm also having the tunnel bands repainted - in proper scarlet and white this time. Martin meant well doing them in the same crimson and cream as Chertsey's livery, but I never liked it.
Finally, they're going to repack the stern gear, which has been semi-botched ever since I got her.
Chertsey will be in the dock for a week, and then Laurence is very kindly going to take her back to Alvecote.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Worthing Wurlitzer

I didn't even know there was a Wurlitzer in Worthing until we went to see Sebastian and Izzi playing in a concert with the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra at the Assembly Hall, when I saw a poster about it - and a list of forthcoming concerts, including one by historic narrow boating's very own David Lowe. So I got Baz to snap up some tickets for last Sunday and we got a little party together.

The snapping up wasn't strictly necessary, as it turned out, as West Sussex did not turn out in great numbers. I felt quite ashamed on behalf of The South - the audience was much bigger in Saltaire.
The console, from the Troxy, Stepney

The Worthing Wurlitzer is a massive beast - an amalgam of at least three different organs with odd bits from many more, and apparently the largest in Europe. Its specification may be found here (read it; it's poetry) and its history here.
The audience's view of the cinema organist

We had a lovely welcome from David - and he dedicated a medley of water-related songs to the historic narrow boating contingent. There was tea and very nice lemon cake in the interval.
After the concert we all repaired to a local Wetherspoons for dinner (sorry David, tea) and lively conversation. It was a splendid afternoon and evening - and the first time at a cinema organ concert for Jim, Sebastian and Izzi. 'Astonishing', 'entertaining' and 'brilliant' were some of their verdicts.