Monday, 24 June 2013

A Tale of Two Wardrobes......

Yes, and if either one of them had come from Ikea (or any of the other discount furniture warehouses for that matter) then it would doubtless have ended just as badly for the Carton, too........

But no.

Both wardrobes came from Emmaus, both were purchased in their fabulous half price sales, and neither came with any packaging at all, as they were secondhand.

So no Cartons, (named Sidney, Bill, Fred, or even Keith), were harmed in the making of this blog post, so you can all relax.

But I'm getting ahead of myself............

Cast your minds back to an earlier post which concerned itself with previous Narnia-themed behaviour.

("No Lyin', a Glitch with a Wardrobe" was it's title, though I'm ashamed to admit it.....)

This opus described the purchase of a certain item of clothing-storage furniture for one Mark Rogers Esq, of nb Norweigan Blue. ( A boat known to all on the Cam as "The Ex-Parrot"........).

In it, I related the, rather appropriately, Pythonesque struggle we had in attempting to load it aboard said vessel through an aperture which was simply not fit for purpose.

(If one is, in fashionable parlance, sufficiently "Down with the Kidz", I believe the correct description for this debacle is 'Epic Fail'.........).

Anyway, we left-off the story with Mark's wardrobe in one of my sheds awaiting the day we would take out one of the large (and very cracked) perspex side-windows on nb Fjord Piner, install wardrobe through window hole, then reglaze with sprauncey new crack-free perspex sealed with a suitably flexible dose of CT1 to prevent any crack-recurrence.

Well, all of the above has been done.

With the exception of the wardrobe-installation part...........

It remained very much in my shed for the duration of our glazing antics.

Now, this was not, I hasten to add, a result of the sort of oversight that would lend yet another strata to the already rich seam of comedic and satirical comments from others concerning our competence (or lack of it....)

Oh no.

It was simply that Mark had forgotten to consult his wife Sheena's opinion on the wardrobe's aesthetic value.

(While hindsight is, as ever, 20/20, even I can see that that was a mistake.........)

So, a couple of weekends back,we came, we glazed, then drank a lot of beer at a jolly nice barbecue Mark and Sheena had arranged at their mooring. Jackie and our neighbour Rhoda came along, as did James of Severner Willow and Other Amy (she of Pyewacket), who was subbing for Real Amy, who was otherwise engaged.

And a great time was had by all. Even the sun saw fit to shine!

But............, back in the shed,...............something lurked.........

Something large.

And wooden.........

Now, this wouldn't have been a problem, but for the fact that my sainted father was very keen to rid his garage of the last of my accumulated Alvis TA14 junk.

I duly went down to Bournemouth and picked it all up. (Leaving Dad's garage an echoing void in the process........

(Hmmmmm......... nature abhors a vacuum. I wonder what's going to fill it? One thing's for sure, it ain't going to be any sort of classic car that belongs to me!.....And that's a promise, Dad! :-)

But I digress.....

The poor old Suzuki Vitara Hairdresser's Car was groaning at the springs with spare cylinder heads, gearboxes, tools, paint, trim, and goodness only knows what other rubbish I'd managed to tyre-lever into the poor old thing.

This, of itself, was not, of course, a problem.

I'd had the foresight to secure the lease on a third shed from our landlord which I was going to fill with Alvisage.

The problem was that this shed space was taken up by a large, brown, unloved, and very unwanted wardrobe..........

"That's not a problem!" I hear you cry. "Just load it into the Vitara and take it back to Emmaus!"


And what is the Vitara full of.....?

And where does it all have to go.........?

(May I refer those who don't yet fully understand my predicament to the Harry Belafonte recording of that most excellent popular song, "There's a hole on my bucket'............)

Well, on Saturday it stopped raining long enough for me to wiggle out of it by craftily leaving the wardrobe in our car park while installing nearly two thirds of an Alvis TA14 in my shed.

So, problem solved, you might think?

Er, no...........

You see, after executing this Shed Tetris version of The Picard Manouvre, I made the schoolboy error of inviting James (from Severner Willow) to accompany me to Emmaus, to see if he wanted to buy anything in what was another of their half-price sales.......

I'll bet you can't guess what he bought!

And who picked it up and delivered it to his garage?


I'm going for a lie-down........

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Alvis update...

Today was a day off, so having washed up, dried up, put away, tidied, folded and put away the dry washing, cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, and swept the boat from stem to stern, I felt I had earned enough points to sneak up to Wisbech to check on the progress made with the Alvis restoration.

(With the amount of money this is costing, it is very important to keep Jackie on-side.......)

Car is looking even more stripped-down than previously.

 The woodworm-ridden and rotten sill timbers have been removed.

 The scuttle is floating over the chassis supported by an axle stand.

The rear body tub is still in place, but only just: the removal of three or four more bolts will see it off the car for the first time since it was built in 1948.
 This will facilitate repairs to the rear wheel arches. This will involve the removal of previous repairs (okay, bodges.....) and the correction of a dent in the bodywork just aft of the off-side door pillar which had previously been made good by about 6lb of filler.

New wood (ash) has been obtained to replace the sill timbers and work has begun on shaping the wooden sections that loop around the back of the body tub to allow for the hood to be tacked on.
Here they are laying across the scuttle.

And here's one laid in place on the body tub. More sections will be made for the corners and back.
(All that grey filler has got to go: that's where the old dent is....)
Despite the fact that Car now looks to the uninitiated eye to have passed the point of no return, I am very pleased with progress.
The immense chassis is as sound as a bell. After sixty-five years all that was needed was a localised repair to the top sides of two of the chassis outriggers.

(I'm pretty sure that I will be needing a bit more than that in sixteen year's time!)

 The craftsman working on Car is called Terry. The quality of both the joinery and metalwork he has done so far is of a very reassuringly high standard.
 Terry has a quick chin-scratch while surveying (currently) The World's Worst TA14.
"Things can only get better!"
(nb note the large and expensive pieces of seasoned ash to the right. We're going to need it. All.)

I stopped off in the village on my way back to have a chat with fellow Alvis owner, Roger.

"Well, my lad," he said, on viewing the photos I'd taken, "looks like you might very well get a motor car out of this!"

More in a couple of weeks.........


Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Game of Sheds.

Before I start, I feel I should point out that this does not involve High Medieval Fantasy, Mr Sean Bean, gratuitous sex scenes or casual and extreme violence.

(At least, not in any of my sheds.............

The very thought.

This is Cambridgeshire, for Heaven's sake.)

No, for any and all of the above, you want 'A Game of Thrones', which is not what this post is about at all.

Just thought I'd better clear that one up........

So, anyway, what game has been played out amongst the crenallated battlements that constitute The Sheds of Pippin?

(Note, 'sheds' is plural:

I now have three.

Which some regard as excessive........)

I will tell you.

I have invented a new game.

It is called "Shed Tetris"............

(You are familiar with Tetris? If not, Google it. I could try to explain but it would seriously impinge upon the narrative flow.

Not that that's ever bothered me too much before, I know, but there is a limit..........)

Anyway, today, I returned from Bournemouth, where I had paid a visit to the ancestral home to clear the last of my junk out of my Dad's garage and out from under his feet.

The Suzuki, which, (nominally at least), is shed number four, was loaded to the gunwhales.

It still is.

Yes, no matter how hard I tried to bend the latest lot of possessions into pleasing tessallations, the sheds would admit no more.


Something's got to give............

I may actually have to start getting rid of stuff!

You heard it here first!


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Rubber-necking the rubber-decking........

Okay, that was really desperate..........

However, the sprauncy new covering to wb Pippin's ample cruiser stern deck has caused one or two neck-snappingly sharp changes of attention........

Oh, goodness me, yes........

The day before yesterday, I chugged down to the 48's at Clayhithe to meet Graham Cutmore, our wonderful Alde gas boiler engineer.

Please allow me a moments digression:

He fixed the boiler!


And installed a new thermostat to the tank.

(Previously, the thermostat for both hot water and central heating was run from a 'stat in the saloon. Now we have constant hot water without having to fiddle with the timer. Woo-hoo!)

End of digression......... 

Anyway, while we were there, I thought I would set about the 30kg roll of treadplate pattern 3mm thick rubber mat that had been delivered to Pippin a week ago.

(Look, if I'd left it any longer then it would have turned into yet another of those projects that 'I'll get around to one of these days'.........

And I still have several sheds-worth, some of my poor old Dad's garage, and somebody else's workshop full of those.......)

Anyway, while Graham excelled himself in The Dark Arts of Boat-based Gas Hot Water Heating Systems, I plied the shears, Stanley knife, ruler and tape measure.

The results, (though I didn't dare glue them down until I had passed the work by Jackie.......), I think, speak for themselves.....

The benefits are four-fold:

The deck is now non-slip: so 'goodbye' those "Slippin' Into Infinity Singin' Amen Allelulia" 'Aaaargh!-SPLOSH' moments caused by wet deck/shoes/ both.

(Oh, and we now laugh in the face of ice..........

Remember that stuff?

It'll be back....)..............

Further, the decibel level from Pippin's mighty Beta 50 has been reduced a bit.

( Not as much as I had hoped, to be honest, but then, I haven't covered the aluminium treadplate over the engine with the rubber, and that might make the difference.....)

Also, the entire contents of the sky that rains on Pippins roof drains straight onto the stern deck. (Like most boats, Pippin sits gently down by the stern).

This would be okay, but for the fact that the deck-drains are shower-tray drains: they have a lip around them about 2mm clear of the deck itself.........

This means in hard rain (does anyone remember that falling on Our Sceptered Isle recently?), most of the water draining off the roof ends up leaking through the engine access panels and into the bilge.

It doesn't take long to assemble an impressive gallonage........

Raising the level of the stern deck by 3mm will help to cure this problem.

Lastly, the new deck covering is made of rubber.

This is much more resistant to scratching from shoes, boots, dogs, dogs called Boots, cats, dragged items, dropped coal/wood/shopping, or the stiletto heels of visiting Dancing Girls, than was the painted steel deck.

This, previously, was in constant need of rubbing down, de-rusting, priming, painting and other such maintenance.

Such attention is not only a bore, but seriously reduces one's legitimate pub-time.

But no more!!!!!!!!!!!


And anyway, as our French friends down Carcassone way are wont to say, I think it looks 

'Le plus grandes knaquerres de chien'

Jackie agrees.

'Nuff said.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.......

Anyone remember this song from the early Seventies by a group called "Middle of the Road"?

You don't?

You're lucky........

(No, don't go Googling it!

You'll be sorry.

Really sorry!!)

So why mention it?


The above were taken last week on the way back from a Cambridge pump-out run.....

Today, on the way back from seeing Graham, our boiler wizard, at the 48's at Clayhithe:

And, one, two, three.....