The past few weekends, we’ve travelled up to Willow on Friday night, on the first off peak train after work. This week we had a change of plan, for some good friends were having a birthday party on Friday night, with a fellow boater and his band playing, and so of course we had to go to the party. We were good, though, and left before midnight, as it would be an early start on Saturday morning.
And an annoyingly early start it was, with the alarm going off at 5.45 so as to make the early train we needed. The snow was falling thick and fast, and we had to just hope that the trains were running OK and that. Wouldn’t get stranded.
We wanted to bring several heavy items up to Willow, and so on Friday night before the party we had put the two heavy toolboxes that I needed on a sack truck, and the other bits for Willow- inverter, water pump, water filter, the new 14mm Hempex lines, and the shower sump- into a very large wheels hold all and left them at the garage, to be picked up en route to the station in the morning.
We had a bit of a wait at Ely, before getting onto the Nottingham train, and so fortified ourselves with tea and cheese and ham toasted sandwiches in the Costa cafe in the Tesco store next to the station, all the while worrying about the snow. It was very surreal to be wheeling a sack truck with several toolboxes on through Tesco, however! The trains worked perfectly, and we arrived eventually on time.
Once at Willow, we lit the fire and set to work. Simon had been machining some new solid oak window surrounds, to replace the existing ones which were looking a little lacklustre. They look very good too!
Old window surround, new ones below.
Amy headed off to Screwfix to pick up the new vacuum cleaner, whilst I had a go at installing the water pump under the front step. There was space to mount it under the floor, with access through a large hole above. It is mounted onto wooden battens, which are themselves mounted onto an inch thick sheet of polystyrene, which with flexible hoses should hopefully cut down on the amount of noise it makes.
I finished off the plumbing for the Paloma water heater and installed the kitchen tap water filter. This will treat the cold water supply for the sink, to take away any taint from the tank. The tank itself, of galvanised steel, is in good condition, but using filtered water, I find, makes a better cup of tea, so of course we had to have one! It was a simple job to screw it to the wall and connect up the pipe work, leaving a stub for the kitchen tap to connect onto.
Once Amy returned, we sealed around the flue with high temperature black silicone, as the existing fire cement was cracking in places. We also assembled several of the kitchen units, and then found a snag.
The original plan was to have an L shaped unit in the corner between the kitchen and the galley, with a carousel of shelves inside to make use of the otherwise “dead” and inaccessible corner. However, whilst this design was fine on paper, when actually assembled, putting the oven next to it would have made the corridor past the kitchen far too narrow. There are various oak beams and protrusions, and it would have created a pinch point. After a lot of thought, we decided to adapt the cupboard. The side of the L that sticks out has been removed, and the end panel screwed in place. We will put shelves in the corner, and use it for pots and pans, with the most used at the front, and the least used at the back. I’ll put a 12v LED light in there, and the interior of the cupboard is white, so it should be relatively easy to extract things.
It’s very frustrating, but unfortunately that’s the nature of working in a boat. A design might be fine on paper, but there is often something sticking out in the way, or an unforeseen thing, that prevents the design working as well as you’d like. But that’s all part of the challenge.
Right, bed. It’s been an extremely long day!
Got to get some Solvol Autosol onto the flue to remove some of those stains!