Tuesday, 12 March 2013

To the rescue! Again.......

For quite a while, I have pondered the fate of what may well be the last of the Lowestoft ice-boats, 'Jester'.

(Ice-boat is my term, by the way, and may be inaccurate: but I have heard tell her original use and purpose was to ferry blocks of ice to the sea-going trawlers of that port to preserve their catch. (She wasn't an ice-breaker!)

Here are some pictures of 'Jester', currently moored at The Cam Conservancy's 'Naughty Mooring' at Clayhithe, near Waterbeach.

Some two or three years ago, Jester was towed there, I believe, as an 'abandoned boat', to be sold by The Conservancy to recoup unpaid river licence fees.

No buyer has been found.

This is hardly a surprise, as wooden boats in such an advanced state of decay as this are well known in boaty circles as "holes in the water into which rich men shovel money until it runs out or their hearts break"...........

I had thought to watch poor 'Jester' moulder slowly away to wrack and ruin.

But, a while ago, we holidayed in North Norfolk.........

The B&B we stayed at was awash with various fliers for local attractions, charities and fun stuff to do.

These included, strangely, (or, perhaps, serendipidously) a flyer for an organisation called Rescue Wooden Boats.

Their web address is www.rescuewoodenboats.com

So, today, I fired off an email to them to see if they might be interested in taking on the poor old 'Jester'.

I await any reply with interest.

But they'd better be quick.

The poor old barky's not going to swim for much longer!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Musical Chairs.... v1.2

So, Bones likes the whole "Captains Chair" thing.

This sounds like a cue for a song.......

(never offer an ex-thesp an opening like this......!)

30th January 1932:


Yo ho, my lads, yo ho
I'll tell you the tale of a sailor
Who sailed the Bay of Biscay-o
As the Captain of a whaler
Of his gallant deed you all should know
(Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho)

I'll tell the tale of the Nancy Lee
The ship that got shipwrecked at sea
The bravest man was Captain Brown
For he played his ukulele as the ship went down

All the crew were in despair
Some rushed here and some rushed there
But the Captain sat in the Captain's chair
And he played his Ukulele as the ship went down

The owner wirelessed to the crew
"Do the best that you can do
We're only insured for half-a-crown
So, I'll be out of pocket if the ship goes down"

The Captain answered, "Holy gee!
It's all up for the Nancy Lee
You're all right, but what about me
I shall wet my ukulele when the ship goes down"

(Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho)

When they heard the news at the Admiralty
They wirelessed to the Nancy Lee
"We'd like to speak to Captain Brown
If he isn't very busy when the ship goes down"

The Captain answered, "What's to do?"
The Admiralty said, "At half-past-two
We'll be listening in to you
When you play your ukulele when the ship goes down"

(Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho)

The pets on board were all scared stiff
The cat meowed and the monkey sniffed
The old green parrot hung upside down
Saying, "Scratch-a-polly", as the ship went down

The crow's nest fell and it killed the crow
The starboard watch was two hours slow
But the Captain sung, "Voh-doh-dee-oh-doh"
As he played his ukulele as the ship went down


He shouted, "Man the rafts!
With chains and rope you bind 'em"
The Bosun searched both fore and aft
But dashed if he could find them
At the mercy of that raging sea
The good ship Nancy Lee

The Bosun said to Stoker Jim
"You'll have to teach me how to swim"
The Stoker answered with a frown
"We can learn together as the ship goes down"

The Captain said to Fireman Mose
"Get straight into your fireman's clothes
And while you stand and play your hose
I'll play my Ukulele as the ship goes down"

When they reached the lifeboat, how they cursed
The Second Mate had got there first
The Cook said, "I'll be last to drown
'Cause I'm climbing up the rigging as the ship goes down

Soon it was a total wreck
The Captain stood on the burning deck
The flames leapt up all around his neck
And burnt his ukulele as the ship went down

(Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho)

The Captain's wife was on the ship
And she was glad she'd made the trip
As she could swim, she might not drown
So he tied her to the anchor as the ship went down

They sprung a leak just after dark
And through the hole came a hungry shark
It bit the Skipper near the water mark
As he played his ukulele when the ship went down

(Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho)

The Mate had a saxophone
The Cook had a trombone
The Drummer had an old tin
And another had a violin
The Bosun had a banjo
The Stoker had a piccolo
"You can play what you like", said Captain Brown
"I shall play the ukulele as the ship goes down"

And that is the tale of the Nancy Lee
The ship that got shipwrecked at sea
And Captain Brown who was in command
Now plays his ukulele with the Mermaid Band

(Transcribed by Mel Priddle - November 2012)
 So, we've got the Captain's chairs......
 Anyone got a couple of ukeleles going begging?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Musical chairs.

Our lovely (at least it was until China Kit-Kat Fforbes, the naughtier of our two resident felines, used it for talon sharpening duties) tub chair has been gifted to James and Amy, currently of nb Lucky Duck and soon to be of their lovely 'new' boat, the Tree Class Severner, mb Willow.

Amy is going to do something crafty in the way of loose covers which will disguise the chair's current state of dilapidation nicely.

I am very pleased about this, as, despite looking rubbish, (thanks to China), it's actually still a very comfy bit of furniture. Further, its unusually compact dimensions make it the perfect candidate for furnishing a narrowboat.

Also, I hate waste........

If something can be persuaded to go again, then it shall be made to do so, at least aboard this vessel..........

(I blame my parents for this. They were both born and bought up through the years of want of The Great Depression, then underwent the privations of war-time rationing and post-war 'make do and mend'.

Look, if I tell you that Dad still scrapes the butter papers clean, you'll get the picture.........)

So, mending, patching, or creating something new or useful out of something discarded still gives me a probably unhealthy thrill........

Looking at it, this is probably why I enjoy the bit of volunteering I do up at Emmaus in Landbeach so much.

(If you've not come across Emmaus before, Google it. I won't be able to do all their marvellous work justice here......)

Anyway, I rock up there once in a while and refurbish tools which have been donated so they can be sold in the shop. Often, all it needs is five minutes with a wire brush in an angle grinder to turn an item which would have been destined for the scrap bin into something of utility and value.

I can spend all day up there, grinding away, as happy as a pig in poo........ :-)

Also, it means I'm up there 'on the mooch' for items which may be of use to us or our friends.

A few months ago, I got this chair to replace the tub chair.

And jolly good it has been too.....


I popped up there today to drop off a few items we wanted to donate (having Emmaus handy keeps us on top of the de-cluttering........) and I saw this:

I love it!

 So, anyone want the swivel chair? 
(seen here left)

Just remember, if the music stops before you are sat down, then you're out!

The music, by the way, could very easily come from the huge cast iron framed 1890's upright piano that is up at Emmaus at the moment.

Now that would look really cool on Pippin......

I would just need to arrange a hiab, Engineer Mark, James, some heavy duty hydraulic jacks, ramps, much bigger stern doors, oh, and  Jackie to be out of the country for a while, and the job's a good 'un..........


"It seemed like a good idea at the time"...... part 94

Ever decided to do one of those little jobs that fit this post's title perfectly, only for it to go, if not exactly 'horribly wrong', then certainly 'not according to plan'..............?

Today, having engaged in thinking about the usual morning chores of keeping the galley ship-shape, taking out the ash, emptying the compost bin, fetching wood, doing the water etc etc, indeed all the minutiae of little jobs that keep things ticking over, I, for some reason (which no doubt the Public Enquiry will discover), decided to strain some primer through an old and unwanted pop-sock of Jackie's to remove lumps and bits of detritus that were rendering it unusable.

The rationale behind this was perfectly sound: Primer is very expensive stuff.

I had 2 1/2 litre tin which had properly 'gone off'. Well, waste not want not, there's a global down-turn on, you know...... A couple of weeks ago I had hacked my way through the dried out crust on the surface and extracted the toffee-like gunge underneath. This was decanted through an old sieve into a 1 litre tin, and, once a quantity of thinners had been added and it had been stirred very thoroughly for absolutely ages, it began to resemble a grey admixture which did indeed resemble primer, only still rather 'bitty', the sieve having a fairly coarse mesh.

So today, between thinking about getting the car MOT'd, booking a vist to the accountant on the same day, and of course, starting to deal with the usual daily jobs aboard, I put out plenty of newspaper, and set about straining the paint through the aforementioned discarded garment..

What could possibly go wrong?


Let me make one thing absolutely clear: what ever one thinks is sufficient unto the day as far as newspaper and other protective coverings are concerned, it is simply never going to even approach being enough.

(Why, you might well ask, did I not simply go and sort it out outside?

Well, hindsight is 20/20, I say, so don't get smart with me.

And I was in my pyjamas............)

Anyway, I've got about a litre of nice usable primer.

However, I now have to clean the table top, the floor, me, and virtually every other surface on board.

Before Jackie gets home.

Just popping out to get some more White Spirit.........

I may be some time.