22 December 2010

Now then, I seem to recall us being in and trying to get out of a recession.
You'd think that this would spark off a little urgency in the working people, those who run small businesses and so on.

Well, ive been trying to get someone to come and have a look at a p bracket that needs 'a fixin' and blow me if they all can't be bloody arsed. Ive been told its because marine engineers dont take women seriously. I find thid hard to belive. My money and boat is no different to anyone elses is it? There's no hidden double x chromosome inside my money that makes it 2nd class. But this is the level of enthusiasm ive received thus far. I want a job doing. Have money, cash money to pay for it and noone seems to have any hunger for my business.

So, talking of business. There was a whole sorry episode in late August when I had my premier primo bellissimo uber dooper italian stallion swishy flashy bike stolen from a supposedly secure building in london. This sparked a change in my attitude and it left a large punctuation mark in my novel life. I decided to get on with things.

So I have. Ive started my own business.


Its early days. But I'm practically in full swing already. My canvas sewing machine is poised, as is my domestic sewing machine and my camera equipment is already in regular action.

The services I offer are canvas repairs, canopy repair, canopy window replacement, boat curtains and upholstery.
I also do photography, although less interesting to narrowboaters I guess, as I head out to capture yachts in action, racing at weekends on the east coast.
I do all kinds of photography though, including portraiture au nature, sporting and social events.
Then there the retouching, I can restore old vintage photographs, digitally at least back to life.

Meanwhile, my poor boat is out of the water until such time I can find someone to do some work for me. I need someone to push my boat out. So to speak.

15 October 2010

what've you got there then?

The question I am frequently asked at my equestrian based magazine desk in London when curious brown packages arrive on the postmans trolley.

This weeks delivery was a new set of windows.
the fruits of my Southampton wanderings are being borne.

the old Moonlight hatches on Varekai are now 20 years old and if they were a person, they'd be looking more like 90 ish. They are extremely craggy and crazed looking due to the effects of being in the Mediterranean sun, which I wish I was currently still "enduring".

Everytime it rains, drizzles or gets a little bit moist on deck the forehatch drips. When laying in bed if I happened to have a bigger hairdo then I could wash my hair at the same time as sleeping. The drips silently plop by at just a quiff's distance away from my pillow. Fine, the floor is waterproof. Except the small carpet that sits in the recess isnt. Im a bit fed up of trying to walk around the narrow raised rim of the floor or simply forgetting and having to hang my socks up to dry.

gaffer tape,varekai,moonlight hatch

Since I need to remove the hatch perspex to re-seal it, I decided to pushtheboatout.co.uk and buy some new stuff to put back in.
A quick visit to eagle windows stall at the boat show, (conveniently timed when I fancied ordering windows), with a printout of pictures of my hatches and sizes.
They've sent me the whole kit 'n caboodle to fit my new hatch perspex and Lewmar portlights.

Im quite excited about stopping the drip. But not as excited as fixing my own sails, canopies and covers with my new aquisition. A new sewing machine has been added to the collection. Not only can I make curtains and upholstery but now I can sew heavy canvasses, sail cloths and a whole manner of kinky textiles.
Bloody brilliant, I shall be in my eye'oles whatever that is. The saloon table will never be the same again.

05 October 2010

Got crab?

I was dying to get a look at the undersides of the boat now its out of the water.
I didnt get home until dark so I wandered around with a teeny tiny led light peering at the hull and fittings.

I need to replace my seacocks, but I wanted to look at them all the same, just so i can suck in air over my teeth and tutt, poke at the galvanic corrosion and worry about costs.

it was while I was tutting and peering into the gloom, that I saw a pair of eyes peer back out at me.


a small crab, trapped inside the antiweed cage for my engine seacock.

It was quite a feisty little thing, as I unscrewed the protective cover it wasted no time leaping out and landed with a light pebble sound on the floor.
Not at all happy that I was trying to save its ungrateful derier, I forced it to take a ride with me to the waters edge and said ta ta. hopefully it'll grow big and strong and tell its kids of its adventure when it was a wee nipper.


22 September 2010


It had to happen eventually.
I poked my head out of the companionway this morning and wondered which way I was pointing.
The fog was so thick I couldnt see the neighbouring boats.
It soon started to clear though, and by 8.15am I had this marvelous view as I headed ashore.


20 September 2010

Food Chain

It was during the trip a few days ago between Ireland and Wales that we hit upon an idea, a very small idea.
The food chain is a large pyramid with predators and prey, each one does its bit for the eco system. While people panic about vanishing tuna, we decided that maybe tuna aren't the beast we should be worrying about. They are quite a large sea creature, not many others higher than it on the predator list, save for the sharks and humans.
The really important ones, are the small ones.
They supply the backbone to the whole eco system. They prop it all up. If you take them away, then countless species would die out; including many land mammals who depend on fish or fruit de mer as their sole food income. Krill. Small but mighty.

So, I'm thinking of making tshirts. Not save a tuna, save dolphins, stop whaling. No.

Think of the krill.

18 September 2010

retainer un retained

Finally, after 8 months of waiting and moving and repairing and surveying again, the mortgage company accepted my new survey and have sent me the final sum of money they were holding back.
Its not a lot of money, but it is this small amount thatb makes a big difference to my winter maintenance programme.
The boat is due out of the water in early october.
Ive got a long list of things on my to-do list.
But first... The southampton boat show.

13 September 2010

London to Ireland to Wales in a weekend.

As one who had to deal with the expense of being weather bound this summer, I felt for Kieran the owner of a Twister 28 and a colleague. He had gone off to Ireland for a summer holiday and got weather bound.
Leaving his boat there for a month while he waited for the weather window was turning out expensive.

He enlisted the help of Dick Durham and myself to help him bring his boat back.

We dashed out of the office in London on Friday evening, caught a train from Waterloo to Alton in Hampshire where we picked up Kierans car. Drove to Basingstoke, picked up Dick who was fresh from the Southampton Boatshow. Straight down the motorway to Milford Haven. A little walk around and then in a taxi to the ferry port. The overnight ferry took us to Rosslare. Where we had to leg it to the train, just in time as it was the only train that day. We arrived in Waterford mid morning on Saturday.
A quick walk around the town to stock up on provisions and food for a good old fried breakfast, then we were off down the river to wait for the morning tide out of Dunmore East.

The forecast was looking very dodgy with possible 6's and 7's, but it turned out nice again.


we filled our stomachs with irish fish and chips before we set off at 3.30am from Dunmore East, southern Ireland, bound for Milford Haven in Wales.

this is Kieran the captain and skipper of Cleaver II

the dolphins are a bugger to photograph. meat torpedoes flying out of the water every second, but I couldnt seem to catch them on camera. Still, it was a beautiful sunrise.
cleaver 2

not the best point of sail, but gull winging all the way, Cleaver II was very well behaved.
cleaver 2

we intercepted a massive pod of dolphins who swam with us for hours and Dick had a better go than me at photographing them.
cleaver 2

tea break. biscuits are a must if I am to stay sane at sea.
sailing,Irish Sea

Kieran is a most splendid cook and prepared us a fantastic Irish beef stew for the journey to Wales.

kieran Flatt

a rough trip guide.
scrappy map