... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday 24 May 2021

What's this? A boat?

Still afloat! Hooray!
 Yes! We went to Alvecote on Saturday - with some trepidation - to check on Chertsey. Given that Jim was last there in November, clothing her up with Aaron, and I last saw my precious boat some time in 2019 (later than August? Maybe. But only maybe) - our trepidation was understandable, but largely unfounded. 

The cloths were all still securely fixed, and it was very dry in both the hold and the back cabin, with no more than three or four inches of water in the back end. Given how much it has rained, this is testament to some really excellent clothing up. 

Where the neglect is showing is in the paintwork. The slides (wooden runners and tops covered in galvanised sheet) are in a pretty poor state; the wooden handrails likewise need fairly urgent attention, and the cabin top is horribly flaky. This last was done only a couple of years ago, but the (highly recommended) paint, whose name, perhaps fortunately I can't recall, has been very disappointing. It went dull and faded almost immediately and is now flaking badly. All Chertsey's 'red oxide' when we first applied it in 2010 was Leyland's gloss red oxide; fabulous paint - exactly the right colour, easy to apply and very durable, and not even expensive. The inside of the hull is still looking great ten years later. So naturally they stopped making it.

The starboad cabin side (in the photo) isn't too bad but the other side (which wherever we moor always seems to get the sun) is much worse. It will have to be satisfied however with a light rub and a varnish, while the other bits are going to have to be done properly. That, however, is a bit further into the future.

Immediate plans (for next weekend, in fact) are to get a new translucent sheet on (they seem to have a life of a couple of years) so that we can see what we're doing, then give it a bloody good clean and clean the water tanks. Then we can maybe check the engine and inspect the diesel (more trepidation), and make more detailed plans for the painting. Small steps ...

I have a week booked off at the beginning of July, and have vaguely pencilled in a trip up the Ashby. You may be getting a strong sense of deja vu here, as the times we have planned and then aborted a trip up the Ashby are without number.

Our new neighbour behind the pub is Lancing, a boat which I had a little steer of in 2009. It looks very different now, and has lost both its PD2 and its licenced bar. I'm not sure which is the greater impoverishment.


  1. I'm increasingly giving people the benefit of the doubt on the discarded mask front. I see a lot randomly on country walks, and unlike crisp packets and the like it's hard to see any reason for them having been deliberately abandoned. More likely they've fallen out of a pocket unnoticed when digging something else out. Still look unpleasant, but at least they can be picked up carefully using one of the aforementioned crisp packets!

  2. I have been making no moral judgement, merely remarking on their ubiquity. It is notable that all but one of the total I've seen (far more than I've blogged so far) are of the 'disposable' variety, suggesting at least that people are more careful not to accidentally discard non-disposable ones ...

  3. We used to use Johnstones red oxide gloss, and damn good stuff it was, but that too is no longer made. I have tried Craftmaster Raddle Red, which is nice paint, but too brown in colour for my taste (although Phil Speight assures me it is the historically correct colour). I have been disappointed with the only branded red oxide gloss I could get, and a couple of years on, Belfast's roof definitely needs repainting again. I think it's going to be a standard gloss marine paint, tinted to a red oxide colour next time.

  4. Do you know what David, I think it might have been Johnstones we used, now you mention it. And yep, we'll be doing the same! Fully agree about the Craftmaster, lovely paint but (accurate or not) the colour just doesn't feel quite right. We followed Phil's advice to use Union Blue rather than Oxford Blue, and again, right or not, I wish I'd gone with my instinct for the darker blue.