Friday, 12 August 2016

Flecknoe (and latest progress on the new boat)

The towpath where we are moored this week is hardly used and is consequently getting quite overgrown.  We usually like it when it’s like that but it’s a pain for Karen when she walks to the car in her work clothes as she has to duck and dive to stop them getting torn.

Towpath is a bit overgrown for going to work

I spent a couple of hours or so on Wednesday cutting back the hedgerow to make Karen’s life easier.  A couple of passing boaters assumed I was in the ramblers’ association – I couldn’t be bothered to dissuade them of it.

Neatly trimmed hedgerow - reduced chance of toppling in

At six o’clock on Wednesday morning when Karen was getting into the car she saw a guy walking along the towpath and onto the road.  She thought she recognised him so stopped; it turned out to be a colleague of hers whose girlfriend lives on a boat.  His girlfriend is currently cruising in the area so he is living with her whilst he is close to work.

I got chatting to a guy who was painting his boat and he recounted a story that happened to him when he had taken time out to have a walk around the village of Flecknoe.  I may have mentioned before that Flecknoe is high up on our list of villages that could be our potential, what we call, “Resting place”.  Anyway, this guy was approached by a couple of women in the village to see if he was lost – basically they thought he looked dodgy and wondered why he was walking around the village in his painting gear.  I was a bit shocked that I had never been stopped but I suppose I always have a dog so don’t look so suspicious.

As it was Wednesday, we went up to the pub in the village for our cheeky midweek evening drink.  It’s a lovely old pub and, as with many in this area, has a room for ‘cheeses’ or indoor skittles (the sort that you throw round cheeses at).  It has a beautiful garden and ramblers/patrons are allowed to eat their own food in the garden provided they buy drinks at the bar – quite sweet really.  Anyway, I was telling Karen the story of John being accosted and a chap at the bar overheard and explained that there is a village WhatsApp group and they contact each other when anything suspicious arises; so he knew all about the story of John the boat painter.

Cheeses in the games room

There was a long discussion on the Narrowboat Users Group (on FaceBook) on Thursday about how to keep brass from tarnishing and bringing it back to new when it has tarnished.  Our mushroom vents are brass but we painted them to avoid the issue of keeping them polished.  I added this fact to the conversation but most people were too serious about methods of brass cleaning – fortunately some people were less serious and liked my post..  In fact we will paint the mushroom vents on the new boat when it’s delivered – sacrilege to some people , we know.

One of our mushrooms

Before I finish I’ll tell you about another conversation we had with the WhatsApp man in the pub.  We were talking about how quiet and attractive the village is and I mentioned that it’s the sort of place we could retire to.  He puffed his chest out and explained that it’s a very expensive place to live.  I couldn’t help but tell him that it would be OK as we come from the South.

The painting and fit out of Chalkhill Blue II is coming on well.  The design we have come up with is based on a reverse layout (bedroom at the front, kitchen at the rear).  The majority of boats are built the other way round as that is more suited for holiday cruising.  As we are liveaboards we know exactly what we want and believe the reverse layout is more suited to our way of life. Here are some pictures showing the latest progress.

Looking into the bedroom from the front deck
Looking into our bedroom - double wardrobe to the right – luxury as Karen only has a small hanging cupboard at present

Single wardrobe to the left (no doubt that will be Karen’s overflow wardrobe)

The door to the left leads from the bedroom to a full width bathroom.  Currently our bathroom is off the corridor so is really small.

The lounge looking down to the front of the boat.  The door on the left leads into the bathroom with our bedroom the other side.

Standing in the lounge looking towards the stern.  The uprights are the where the dinette will be - it will be raised so that we can see onto the water when seated.  Currently we just look out to sky and trees and have to stand to see the water.  The dinette seating converts to a full size double bed.
Looking from the dinette into the kitchen and the stern deck

These are the hatches we are having either side of the dinette.  They are being fitted with windows so we can still see out when we're eating/working on cold days when the hatches aren't open.  The blue paint is so shiny it is reflecting the sides of the poly tunnel that the boat is being built in.  Masking tape between the red and blue will be removed to reveal cream coachlines.

The front - gas bottles will be stored in the hatch at the front.  We will also have a cratch fitted like we currently have so that we can continue o grow our own herbs, chillis, tomatoes etc.


  1. Sounds like a fun time, it's always nice meeting other sailors. It's one of my favorite parts of owning a boat - going out and talking to all of the fella's at my dock, especially the guys who live on them. A wealth of knowledge to be had from those kind of guys. Your boat looks like it's coming along nicely.

    1. Thanks Steve - totally agree. Thanks for the kind words.