Monday, 26 September 2016

A ship's lantern for Christina.

While mooching around the Kettering Steam Rally, I found a sorry looking ship's lantern. on my third visit to the stall, I cracked, coughed up £20.

After an initial clean.
As I cleaned, it became obvious that the lamp was not made of tin, but copper with brass fittings.

The copper and brass start to shine through.

I fixed a temporary bracket to get an idea of how the lantern would look in place.
 The plan is to put a soft LED light inside it, so that in tunnels it will light the stern of Freyja without blinding me or casting a distracting shadow. Then by switching on the workshop lights, the workshop skylight will illumunate the tunnel ceiling.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Improvements to our horn.

As some of you may remember, I bought an ex-New Jersey fire station horn online, from a Welsh speaking Turk!
It had a brass trumpet that had been painted black, I had one heck of a job to get that black paint off so that I could polish the brass.
I finally managed to remove the paint, but when I re-assembled it, it sounded pathetic!
I had a modern Arghoohah horn with a red plastic trumpet that had languished on a shelf for yonks, could it be a match made in heaven?
A few 'adjustments' to the mounting holes and I managed to graft the brass trumpet onto the modern workings of the new horn. On a few outings out on the river, the horn worked very well, scaring the life out of Glenda and her friends, even when I'd warned them!
But, it looked naff! I hatched a plan to hide the modern bit in a military brass shell case. Martin, our neighbour found one for me at a steam fair.

Our former fire station horn trumpet married to a modified military shell casing.
Once polished, it'll look the puppy's pebbles!

A lovely shock!

I was about to get ready for bed when there was a tap, tap, tap on Freyja's stern. I went to see who it was. There were two people on the pontoon next to our boats. 
"Hi, can I help you?"
" Dad, it's Jac and Nia!"
I was completely thrown! I couldn't quite grasp how my two youngest came to be so far from Wales.
Glenda had been in on it, but managed to keep it a secret. 

My daughter Nia, Glenda and Jac my youngest son.
We visited LyndZ's Stand up paddle boarding festival, which was held on the Friends of the river Nene's Woodford mooring.
A traffic jam on the Nene!
Goat's milk ice creams on sale.

Just one boat moored, the cruiser Jenny.

LyndZ steering her  over-sized stand up paddleboard, which can carry eight people.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Small steps in the new engine saga.

Paul Redshaw came to measure our engine 'ole prior to making our engine mountings. 
We've established that we need to shorten the propshaft by four inches and that we'll need to get a new, slightly larger, lefthand propellor with more pitch which will suit the lower-revving Sabb.
If this takes more than a few weeks, we'll probably miss the chance to take Freyja out for a test cruise due to the state of the river and E.A. closures.
We'll also have to work out a neat solution for our new gearchange, fit an improved speedwheel, and replace some of our gauges.
It's a slow slog, but we're looking forward to the day when we finally boof, boof, boof our way out onto the river.

Hoots mon, there's a mouse, loose about our (floating) house!

When the festival season finished, I returned from the No6 Festival in Portmeirion, north Wales. on returning to the boats, we realised that we were not alone!
We wondered how he was climbing up onto the tugdeck! (spoof photo! Not our mouse!)
There was scratching and munching noises coming from behind the bedroom panels and Glenda thought she heard it on or near the tugdeck. I pulled up the decking and Glenda left a few tasty snacks.
Next day, it had taken the bait, we definitely had a wee beastie!
So, with heavy heart, I bought a trap and some mouse poison.
First, we tried putting the trap on the tugdeck, the sneaky little bugger munched the bait three times without springing the trap.
So I baited another trap, this time it was a humane trap, this I put in the bilge under the cabin floor. Our little lodger now had a life or death choice!
We found that it had been chomping on a large packet of porridge oats, so everything munchable had to be moved and sealed and then stashed in the butty.
We decided to make things a little more difficult for the blighter. We used a sticky bit of Snickers bar with added chocolate and oats, but somehow he managed to tuck in and survived to squeak the tale (tail?) in the morning.
Oh, Oh! It looked like it was time to add the poison!
But, just then CLACK! He (or she) had gone back for a final fatal lick.
R.I.P. little mouse, a burial at sea followed (well, burial at lake actually).
Our wiring etc. has, hopefully, survived intact.

Friday, 26 August 2016

A good time to clean and paint our bilge

When I tried previously to clean and paint our bilge, it was only a partial success, as the engine stopped me from getting to some of the more difficult to reach bits.
So now, with the engine and gearbox out, I decided to give it all a birthday, before we drop the Sabb in.
This is the horrible sight that greeted us when we first went to pick up our boats! The muppets at Aqueduct Marina had dropped Freyja back into the water, without greasing the stern gland, water had mixed with oil and diesel and come up over the starter motor. Everything was filthy, it was a dirty job to do anything in the engine 'ole.
After removing a bag full of rust flakes and de-greasing everything, it's ready to paint

I had previously painted around the weedhatch and stern

After the first coat of 2-pack garage floor paint we've got an engine 'ole that looks more suitable for our shiny blue Sabb, there'll be LEDs under the deck drain channels so it will make life easier and cleaner, when we need to work down there.

Lifting our engine and gearbox

Mark Hanson from Nene Marine said he knew someone who was looking for an engine and gearbox, could they come and see our AMC 1.8 (marinised BMC 1.8)?
Robin & Matt came down to see it, hear it running and to have a little run out on the river. They were pleased with it and agreed to buy it. 
Marina owner Clive lifted the engine and gearbox out with the Matbro, Barry the marina manager keeps an eye on things.
With the engine out, Robin and Matt asked if I could get the spares that I'd promised to give them. We had moved the boat to a spot that gave better access to the Matbro, so it was that I had to jump to get back on the boat...I picked up a box of spares in one hand and a new alternator belt in the other, jumped off...landed on a loose bit of hardcore, wobbled, tried to grab for anything on the bank, then there was that 'Oh, Oh, here we go again' moment and them sploosh! I stopped the spares from floating off, and hauled myself out. When I splosh, splosh, sploshed back to the others, dripping muddy water, the others howled with laughter and started taken photos. Luckily, after my last impromtu dunking I replaced my ruined mobile phone with a waterproof one so no harm done, and I'd left everything but my phone and some keys on the boat. Everyone makes fun when we wear our lifejackets, and the one time I'm not wearing it, I fall in! Typical! Did save having to renew the cartridge though!