Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Pick and mix assortment.......

I've not posted for ages.

Mainly because I've spent what seems like every waking moment when not at work either prepping or painting in the engine room.

I have to confess, I'm actually quite fed up with it..........

Anyway, here's some pictures of  "what's been happenin' down in Groovetown" since my last missive.

A rowing eight traversed the lock.
The crew all got out, put the boat through, then proceeded to, very gingerly, get back in.

I took, fittingly, eight pictures of their manouverings in the rather uncharitable hope of getting the "Aargh! Splosh! Gurgle" money shot....

But it would seem my Schadenfreude Allowance for this month hasn't come through.

Here they all are, safely through and getting up a head of steam for the row to Baits Bite.

Jolly good.

Our maiden friend who nearly dropped in for a drink last year drifted by again.

The bilge got more attention, but I'm sure you're bored rigid with that by now.

But actually, so am I.........

And if I had to suffer (bending myself into unfeasible shapes to accommodate the painting thereof), then you can suffer too!

This is coat one (of two) of Owatrol C.I.P. (Corrosion Inhibiting Primer) over two base-coats of Owatrol Oil.

This stuff is silly-expensive, but will be worth it if it works ( ie if I'm not doing this horrible bloody job again in less than five years time...... at the very least...... )

We will see...........................

A nimbus thunderhead forming
The weed cutter comes by to give Pippin's hull a trim........

And we await the arrival of some Great Crested Grebe chicks. This is the nest in the basin........

That's all for now.

More bilge updates soon!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Joyful Times

Last weekend saw the wedding of two of our friends, the lovely Kate Morley and Julius Rix.

I've held off [publishing this post] while I waited for more photos to be emailed to me......

Our friends Julius and Kate are boaters. They live aboard nb Nooksak in Cambridge and keep a mooring out here at The Parish too.

We've known Julius since he was looking after Simon and Alex's Dutch Barge and saw him buy nb Nooksak from Rhian and start to refit it.

Just at the point he'd rendered the boat almost totally uninhabitable (amongst other things, the bathroom was missing), he started to see rather a lot of a young Australian scientist called Kate.......

Well she must have liked him lots, because she put up with it all until it was fixed, at which point Julius promptly upped and offed to Antarctica for three months.......


But never underestimate the Antipodean gift for tenacity...........

(And never, ever get into a drinking contest with one. It will end in tears, I promise you...... though it has to be said, their blokes are much easier to beat........ , but I digress......)

.........for, this Spring, they announced their engagement.

Now that's a pretty cool invite, isn't it?

 Actually, this weekend wasn't their wedding wedding, they did that last week in Gibraltar........

"Why so?" I hear you cry.....

Well, Julius's late father was English, his mother is Malaysian, and Kate's folks all hail from Brisbane, Australia.

Faced with such a diaspora, the happy couple took the very wise decision to marry in Gibraltar, thereby inconveniencing everyone to a more or less equal degree.

(And yes, I know somewhere more in the middle, like Singapore, would have made more sense, but it isn't a Crown Colony. This increases the paperwork by an order of magnitude, raises all sorts of legal issues, and increases the number of bureaucratic hoops to jump through by a truly ridiculous amount, apparently...)

Anyway, here's 'The Ceremony in Sixty Seconds', taken by accident when Julius set up his camera for a test time lapse shot, then forgot all about it in the way that nervous grooms do.........

Brilliant, isn't it? Talk about serendipity.......   :-)

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, this weekend's celebration......

They decided to have another reception in England for friends and family who couldn't make the festivities in Spain which followed the ceremony in Gibraltar....... (as I've already mentioned, those Aussies don't half know how to party.....)

Which is where we came in........

The reception was to be held at The Maltings on Ely Riverside at 19:00hrs, Saturday 6th July 2013.

Julius and Kate wanted to arrive with the majority of their guests in a flotilla of boats. Thus, a convoy comprising Nooksak, Pippin, Malus (our friend Rhoda's boat, also moored at The Parish), the hire boat Platinum Fox, which some guests had taken for a week around the event, and a boat borrowed from Andy Rankin of Midsummer Energy assembled at Bottisham lock to meet the guests due to arrive at 15:00.

Now, the best laid plans of mice and men do often come horribly unglued.......... and so it looked when, at about 11:30, Rod and Emma, the guests who had been given charge of Andy's boat, phoned to say they were having trouble with the drive belt which was slipping badly and couldn't make more than 2 knots.

At this point, several things need explaining:
  • Andy's boat is electrically propelled and solar powered. Andy is a quiet genius who not only runs Midsummer Energy, supplying domestic and boater solar needs with the best panels, he is also a brilliantly talented engineer who has built his boat's propulsion systems from scratch, using bits of old spin-dryer, most of a redundant milk-float and copious quantities of baling twine.
  • Rod is a serving officer in The Fleet Air Arm. He not only pilots the Lynx helicopter for a job, he flies a 1940's vintage four seater fixed-wing aircraft, which he maintains himself, for a hobby.....
The latter is a very good thing indeed, for when the main motor's wiring loom started to smoke as much as the slipping drive belt, Rod coolly killed the power and stood by with an extinguisher, (which wasn't needed in the end), then got the boat to the bank by using the kind offices of a convenient towpath walker, and bow-hauled the boat the remaining 1/4 of a mile to Baits Bite Lock.

Three cheers for Rod!!!

However, as regular readers of this nonsense will know, if any boat is in trouble or danger on The Cam, there's normally only one boat and one man for the job!

Yes, The Mighty Pippin and Boat-Man!

Er, no.

Not this time.......

I had arrived back from Tesco laden with goodies for the forthcoming cruise, and, having been appraised of the situation, was hopping across the floodbank, half-in and half-out of my spandex Boat-Man suit, just in time to see Joss, skipper of Platinum Fox, putting his helm amidships (having executed a rooster-tailed emergency turn) and set course to assist.

Well, really......!

Actually, I didn't feel at all miffed, as he seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Besides, Jackie needed me to help put the finishing touches to Pippin, which we had been preddying-up to the nines all morning............

Guests began to arrive. First Julius's Mum, Grandmother, Aunts and Uncle. They were coming with us on Pippin, so were met, greeted, then sat in the shade under the willows while we finished hosing-down the interior with Mr Sheen (nb. Non-English readers, that's a brand of aerosol furniture polish, not a person......)

Joss returned from his rescue mission with Andy's Boat strapped securely to the side of Platinum Fox. He was in good time to meet the rest of the guests, who seemed to all arrive at once. They were all on the same train from Cambridge to Waterbeach, whence they walked across the fields to Bottisham Lock where the flotilla was assembling.

And so it was that the five-boat flotilla set sail for the festivities in Ely!

 Seen from Pippin's stern, Malus, Andy's Boat/Platinum Fox and Nooksak.
(The lone canoeist wasn't part of the convoy!)

Despite having three pregnant women and a party of five other tee-totallers aboard,
we managed to drink our way through an unconscionable amount of prosecco......

Malus leading Platinum Fox/Andy's Boat

 Malus, left, with Rhoda at the helm (doing a very good impersonation of Huckleberry Finn)
Nooksak to the right, partying in earnest. Both viewed from the bow of wb Pippin
(Photo courtesy James Rix)

We duly arrived at Ely Riverside at about 19:00hrs. Pippin was in the vanguard and thus was first to moor up.
As we turned in to the space reserved for us on the mooring outside The Maltings, my ears were assaulted by the shriekings of some numpty on a re-cycled yoghurt pot.

"You can't moor there! Read the signs!! READ THE SIGNS!!!!"......

Doubtless, he felt aggrieved that his natural right to moor wheresoever he chose in his nasty little plastic thing had been over-ridden by Julius and Kate's wedding venue (who have a legitimate lien on the mooring there), and was seeking to vent a little spleen.

I had guests. Some of them elderly.....

So I refrained from telling the little prat exactly where he could park his objections, and moored up in an elegant and efficient silence.

The fact that Pippin was swiftly followed by four other narrowboats, all bearing guests in wedding attire, seemed to put paid to any further nonsense.

With her passengers disembarked, Pippin, with Jackie at the helm, followed Malus to moor downstream next to the Fun Fair for the next day's Ely Water Pageant.

I took the helm of Nooksak and took her downstream of all the traffic, turned, then bought her back to moor snugly in the spot so recently disputed by the lobotomised owner of fibreglass.

Nooksak went as beautifully as she did when I last had a go when Rhian owned her. (Though that air-cooled Lister three-pot must have been a bugger in the heat.....)

No further objections to my mooring Nooksak up were raised.

(Though one wonders whether the couple of Large Australian Men seen walking towards the source of the earlier commotion could have had anything to do with that...... No bodies have, so far, been found, so we will never know.......)

The wedding reception was, by now, well underway: glasses of champagne had been offered around and guests ushered in to dinner,

The crews of Pippin and Malus were, however, showering, changing, and doing their level best not to look like the dirty river travellers of legend.

I have to say, I reckon we scrubbed up pretty well.

(Jackie and Rhoda especially, though I did make a point of pressing my Dress No1 Overalls and washing behind my ears......)

The reception was a sheer delight: great food, lovely company, and a photo booth with a fancy dress box attached!

Run by, it could only be fitting for the cast and crew of The Mighty Pippin...

Rhoda, John and Jackie

The Happy Couple

Grandma Jackie and Grandpa John

I feel I should add, that, at this point, drink may have been taken..........

Then we decided to decorate the newlyweds' boat..........

Okay, by the time we came up with Nook Y Sak, we were really quite pissed.....


(Worriers please note: no permanent harm was done to Nooksak's paint. T'was but shaving foam and water, easily polished out with a good dose of Mer.......)

The next morning dawned far too early for sense, civility, enlightenment, or even good manners.

Yes, we were up and at 'em at 07:30hrs as we had to be off the moorings near the pump out to allow the Ely Water Pageant raft race contestants a chance to form up.
Headsplitting hangovers notwithstanding...................

We were next to the Pump-Out point, so while we were there, we pumped out Pippin, then Malus, then woke the slumberers aboard hire boat Platinum Fox (bleary eyed? ooh yeah......even the whiffs and wafts of holding tanks hadn't stirred them from their hammocks) so we could relieve them of the towing of Andy's Boat.
This involved them turning Andy's Boat round to face Cambridge .......

It was about halfway down to the turn point north of the railway bridge that the ever-so-slightly wan faces of Rod and Emma appeared from the stern hatch of Andy's Boat.  (Still, at that time lashed firmly to Platinum Fox.)

This nearly frightened Joss, Platinum Fox's skipper, to death........

Yes, we had cast then off their mooring, tied them to an other boat, then sent them on their way. All unbeknownst!
None of us had any idea that anyone had stayed aboard Andy's Boat overnight!

Fortunately, Rod and Emma are lovely people, possessed of both sang froid and a fully functional sense of humour.......

Bacon butties were bought, tea brewed, Andy's boat was lashed to the side of Pippin, and we cast off.

Cambridge Ho!
Brian of nb Harnser caught a lovely snap of us passing his boat at Fidwell Fen. Have a look at Harnsers blog for details.

Rhoda and Jackie had gone ahead on nb Malus, leaving me with Andy's Boat and the lovely Rod and Emma for company.

Much rehydration took place and yarns were swapped.

(Though it was actually quite late in the voyage by the time Rod 'fessed up to being a serving Fleet Air Arm officer, and veteran of many a canal boat holiday.

At which point I let him take the helm....... :-)

We reached Bottisham Lock in the glorious sunshine at about 13:00.

Jackie then took Rod and Emma to recover their car from Cambridge station and head off to the wilds of Kent to visit with Emma's mum.

Rhoda and I carried on, with Andy's Boat in tow, toward Cambridge.

Jackie caught us up, having returned to the mooring and picked up her bike, just before Baits Bite lock.

We man-handled Andy's Boat through, then re-set the lock for Pippin. Then it was a case of re-attach the tow, and onward to Cambridge!

Andy moors his boat in a field next to an impenetrable bank of vicious stinging nettles.

We were all clad in shorts and T-shirts.....

Small wonder, then, that we moored him up at the last available Cambridge Mooring License slot on Midsummer Common before the stretch of "Don't moor here or you die" bank opposite the old Pike and Eel pub.

Sorry, Andy! Best we could do in the circs....... :-)
I took Pippin into Cambridge proper.

We were all tired and making silly heat-related mistakes.

I'd tried to set Baits Bite lock against our little convoy.....

Rhoda did something silly with a mallet while trying to moor up Andy's Boat in the Stinging Nettle Place.

Jackie bonked Pippin against the ample sides of Cambridge's resident Disco Boat, but sadly failed to do it any lasting damage.

Look, it was hot. we were all hungover, and getting rather tired.......

What antidote could there possibly be?
Jackie was on it like a tramp on cold chips:
"Why don't we all go and have a nice steak at Cote restaurant on Bridge Street?"

Top idea!

And so we did........

After a good meal and half a bottle of very acceptable House Red, I turned Pippin at Jesus Green lock.

Jackie then took the helm for the trip home while Rhoda found three half-empty bottles of prosecco from Saturday. Stoppered, and in the fridge, to boot....

( I can't have been that pissed, after all.......)
I decided to take a glass of fizz and a deckchair to the bows, where I sat in some splendour, waving regally at all and sundry, as we chugged out of Cambridge and headed for home.
Truly, "Joyful Times"........
Bless you, Kate and Julius, and thank you so much for having us along for the ride!

Battle of the Bilge: Update.............

Despatches from the front: 20:00hrs

Despite being surrounded on all sides by rust, dust, corrosion, grode and cack, The Mighty Pippin's Engineering Division has broken through on all fronts.

Four P24 grit flexible discs have been expended.

A 3 kilo bag of rust dust sweepings has been taken prisoner.

The angle grinder is still cooling-off.........

Pioneer elements of 1st Battalion Owatrol's Own Oil and Primer have moved in to secure the newly taken ground:

Ops currently suspended until 08:00

End transmission.

The Battle of the Bilge

Despatches from the front line:

"At 08:30hrs today, elements of wb Pippin's Engineering team (John), launched a renewed attack on the rust in the bilge..

Good progress has been made, though a high concentration of Airborne Legion Particles proved troublesome. However, the PPE performed well.

The hot weather has been an advantage insofar as the bilge is bone dry, however operations are presently suspended to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.

(It's also lunchtime..........)

Pictures follow:

Meanwhile, on other fronts, Jackie has restored power from the Generator by replacing a dud capacitor and after some cheese and biccies is going to change the oil.

Also, Martin Kedian and his team from Kedian Engineering have visited us and adjusted our shutters to eliminate the draught problems we had. Excellent Work!

And now, back to the front!

Transmission ends.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Over the threshold........

Newlyweds are supposed to cross this, one carrying the other.

And I suppose in these enlightened times it doesn't really matter who carries who.

Boy carries girl, girl carries boy, boy carries boy, girl carries girl........

It makes no odds.

But never mind all that.

This is Pippin's threshold:

Nice enough, I suppose, but can you see the darkening of the wood on the left?
It's the high traffic area below the cat-flap.

See what I mean?
It's beginning to look a bit tatty.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this in the scrap bin at Emmaus:
A perfect bit of threshold plate in brass.
At least, it would have been perfect if someone hadn't bent it in half.....

Well, this morning, I needed to visit Mackays ironmongers in Cambridge for to purchase one of their finest dust-masks, a flexible backing disc and some 30 grit abrasive discs before I launched phase 2 of The Assault on the Bilge with angle grinders akimbo.

Mackays also have an excellent metal shop. Be it sheet, rod, bar, channel section, ferrous or non, you name it, they've probably got it. So I took along my badly bent bit of threshold plate to see what were the chances.......

Pretty good, as it turned out. They didn't have anything off the shelf like I wanted, but five minutes and just south of twenty quid later, I was the proud owner of two bespoke pieces of custom-made brass threshold plate.


When I got back to Pippin, I broke out the CT1 adhesive and soon had the single return piece glued in place. The double return bit was more problematic, as the bending of the two edges had left a whisker too little material in the middle. I got it to fit with a bit of judicious bending of the returns using my No. 27 set of Special Pliers. I then socked it into position with the Coarse Adjuster (wooden mallet). 

This didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so I had to resort to drilling a couple of screw holes, counter-sinking them, then selecting a couple of nice brass screws from my bag of 'those'll come in handy one day' items, and duly fixing the threshold down.

Et Voila.
(The slightly off-centre hole toward the middle is for the bolt which secures the hatch)

 All in all, I don't think it looks too bad........

After that, I moved Pippin down to the nearby (and thankfully deserted) GOBA moorings and worked on until about 20:30hrs angle-grinding rust and paint in the bilge. It was filthy, nasty, horrible work. I wore overalls, ear-defenders, a good quality dust mask and safety goggles.

But this is how I looked when all the PPE came off:
I'll happily admit that I'm never normally a particularly pretty sight, but that takes the broken biscuit!

And it took bleedin' ages to clean the bathroom after I had showered off all the grime!

More of this bilge tomorrow..........


Thursday, 11 July 2013

More Alvis Salvage......

This week is a week of annual leave.


Bloomin' marvellous......

After a somewhat hectic weekend, (of which, more, after I can get hold of some photos I can publish without being sued.....), I spent Monday sobering up in the bilge.

It was very hot indeed, I drank 4 litres of water, sweated like a horse and achieved the following:

Well, it's all terribly dry, (which is good), but these are actually the 'before' pictures.

So, folks, this means 'more bilge to follow'.......

You lucky people!

(Look, I only write this rubbish, okay? No-one's making you read it.........)


My excursions into Pippin's nether regions, (at great cost to the ageing bod, let me tell you....... I am far too old to bend into some of the shapes required to chip rust and sort paint), at least accrued me enough Husband Points (or so I thought...... see later......) to make another trip up to Wisbech yesterday to see Andy and Terry at The Body Shop.

This time, I went with my friend Roger (He of the gob-smackingly gorgeous Alvis Speed 25 that lives in the village....).

Our mission was to fit a new aluminium petrol tank to the Alvis TA14 belonging to our friend Tom.

 The fuel tank

Some of the tank straps and wadding

These two little hatches in the boot floor allow access to the fuel tank sender unit and the changeover valve. Neat, aren't they?

 Up in the air, front wheels firmly chocked, chassis stands in place, and ready to receive the new tank

TA14's are very reliable cars when in good fettle, but many suffer from problems with fuel contaminated by rust particles from the inside of the petrol tank. As they age (the last TA14 was built in 1950....), this can get so bad that, while the structural integrity of the tank remains unaffected due to the incredibly thick steel used, the accrued silt makes its way into the fuel lines and fuel pump, eventually blocking them. It's a sort of automotive arteriosclerosis......

The resultant breakdowns get very irritating, though when I had this problem with my car, I got very good indeed at sorting it out. (Well, anyone can get better with practice!) However, the only real answer is a new tank. I had a stainless steel one made and fitted it to mine a while ago. Tom has had an aluminium one made for his car.

Installing it should have been a very straightforward job: no sodding about and home in time for luncheon.



With a kite up.........

The tank went in easily enough, though we had to take an inch or so off the breather pipe. (A modification to the original design, it fouled the underside of the boot floor).

Once it was in, we then had a pig of a time fitting the rubber hose that connects the filler pipe to the tank.

Then we had to take it out and do it again.

Very irritating........

But the second time, we fitted the large rubber grommet round the hole in the wing the fuel filler pipe goes through first. (This had proved impossible with the filler pipe in place.)

Anyway, we won in the end, though I got really bruised fingers from wedging them between the filler cap and the bodywork. This was to prevent the lovely new paintwork being damaged by the filler pipe being waggled about while we were attaching it to the tank. (Some choice demotic Latvian epithets may have been deployed....)

Right then, splash some go-juice in the lovely clean new tank, connect up the battery, and off we go.....

Hmmm....... See 'remarks concerning kite-flying' ibid.

The pump wasn't pulling fuel, no matter how well it was primed. It's an S.U. electric pump, and was ticking away merrily in the way that will be familiar to anyone who's ever owned or driven a Morris Minor.

Despite appearing to work, all was, clearly, not well.

We suspected the diaphragm had hardened over the long period the car has been out of use. This will require a rebuild kit to sort out. While these are readily available from people like Burlen Fuel Systems, Salisbury is a bit of a drive from Wisbech, so we cheated and nicked the working pump off my car.

The fuel system being taught to behave properly

The next obstacle was the absence of a small flexible tube from the pump outlet to the glass-bowled fuel filter. We effected a temporary repair with a section of correct diameter hose borrowed from Andy. Roger used a heat gun (well away from the car!)to warm it up enough to fix it securely over the pipes. There were no leaks.

After a couple of trips to the BP garage to get more fuel, we were able to raise the level in the tank enough to reach the main feed pipe inside it.

(Alvis TA14s have two feed pipes inside the tank, one longer than the other. The longer of the two is the two gallon 'reserve' pipe. You change from 'main' to 'reserve'  using a dashboard switch which controls the changeover valve. This item is of Byzantine complexity and questionable reliability. Ours was stuck on 'main', hence the need to raise the fuel level.)

Anyway, that done, at last fuel made it's way from the tank to the carburettor!

Sadly, that's as far as it got, as the float chamber was loose, and fuel leaked everywhere.

It seems that the people who ran the place where the car was stored previously got over it's inability to run due to the silted-up fuel system by priming the carb directly.

And, of course, they hadn't bothered to tighten it up..........

This was a quick fix, though.

Time to try to turn the engine over on the starter motor.

Go, Main Engine Start!

Ignition key turned, starter button pressed....................


This didn't actually surprise me. I've had this problem on my car, so knew the answer. (Roger is vastly more experienced an engineer than me, but I do have the odd savant moment).

During the bodywork rebuild, the main earth strap from the battery to the offside front chassis leg had been disconnected, thus breaking the circuit.

No ignition circuit, no go.

Confusingly, there were two spare wires rattling about in the engine bay. One was obviously the earth strap. The other, after a bit of head scratching and Roger's expert wielding of his multimeter, was deduced to be the live feed to the starter motor solenoid.

We connected the earth strap to the chassis all right. (This is a nightmare when you're working on your own, but easy enough when there's two of you.)

But the feed wire to the solenoid put up a heck of a fight. First, the 4BA nut that secures it to the terminal was missing. No problem, we scavenged the one off my car.... Then it turned out the terminal was loose inside the solenoid housing and there was no way the nut would do up.

Tres frustrating!

After all that work, it seemed we were to be thwarted at the last by a 4BA terminal, which is a very small thing indeed to be thwarted by.........

Time was getting on (we'd met at Roger's at 08:30) and we were both getting hungry, so I dived off to a nearby garage to get us something to eat and the car some more fuel.

Meanwhile, Roger had a think.

By the time I got back, he'd cracked it.

I got behind the wheel and operated the ignition and starter button while Roger held the wire firmly to the starter solenoid, thus completing the circuit.

For the first time in many a long moon, Tom's car turned over on the starter. Then it coughed. Then it spluttered, and finally, burst into robust TA14 life.

'Hip Hip Hooray! Blip the throttle, John!'

I did.


Yep, at some point in the car's lengthy storage, the carburettor spindle had got itself bent. It was stuck solid at idle speed.

Roger taught this naughty component good behaviour by tweaking it's ears with a pipe wrench. This soon had the engine revving smoothly and sweetly on the throttle.

It was now 16:30 and it was home time. I drove the Alvis into the workshop, the first time it has moved under it's own power for years.

A couple of interesting studies in 'Before and After'.....
(My car is in the background...... :-)

Roger and I then packed up and made our weary way home to Waterbeach.

It had been a long day's tinkerage. Tom's car had thrown a lot of problems at us, all of which we had overcome. It had been hard but satisfying work and we were both very tired.

And we were both in trouble: Roger for leaving Pam at home all day when she was feeling rotten with a cold, and me, later, for not having any supper ready for Jackie when she got in from work at 20:00.

The moral here, chaps, is this:

   'No matter how much fun the favour you are doing for someone may be, you neglect your partner at your peril'.


Oh well, better post this and disappear into Pippin's bilge for the day and redouble my de-rusting efforts.

I appear to be in a serious Husband Points deficit.............

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

"The Tom Kitten Guide to Life"

Chapter 94: 'Coping with the heat '.

Make sure you maximise the potential of any available shade.........

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Before and after.........

This morning I leapt from my bed seized with an earnest intent to scrub the bathroom floor.

Which I duly did.

I even washed up beforehand......

So, what's the reasoning behind this unseemly outburst of domesticity, and all in dawn's early light?

Well, 'tis twofold: This coming weekend, wb Pippin is going to form part of a wedding flotilla of boats conveying the lovely Julius and Kate from Bottisham Lock to their nuptial celebrations in Ely.

There was "no way we are doing any of the above with the bathroom floor in that state".....

Thus spake my beloved...........

At about 06:45.

Also, I was in sore need of some 'Good Scout' points in order to make another furtive trip up to Wisbech to see how the Alvis is coming along.

So here's the floor, 'after'..........
Please take particular note of the gleaming grouting.....
(That grey patch just to the right of the sink pedestal is reflection from the camera's flash, okay?)
And yes, that is a full-size bath.
It's a widebeam thing.......

"So where's the 'before'," I hear you cry.....

Oh please.

Give me a break.

Publish photos of your own pre-once-over bathroom floor on the internet and see what your spouse thinks of the idea........

(I'd have died..........  Horribly.......)

But I do have a 'before' shot for you.

It's of something completely different, but it's definitely a 'before' shot.....

Remember the recent C.S. Lewis-inspired furniture behaviour involving wardrobes?

(Scroll down a few posts if you are new to this nonsense and haven't yet run screaming from the room......).

Well, having done literature, I have now decided to take inspiration from the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh.

Yes, I know he was as mad as a sack of badgers and was a self-harmer, but I'm leaving my ears well alone.......

The inspirational painting is Van Gogh's 'Chair'.

Now, if I was clever like James and Amy, I'd be able to do a link to The National Gallery's website and the web page about this work.

But I'm not.

So you'll have to open another window and Google it.

Had a look?


So you've seen Van Gogh's 'Chair'?

This is John Witts' 'Chair':

Okay, so Vincent didn't have the aluminium stepladders, the Black and Decker workmate and sundry old tool boxes to augment his composition......

But he wasn't working in the scrap shed up at Emmaus.

(And anyway, I feel they add a certain post-modernist frisson........)

But never mind all that, why is this chair so important?

Well, in all honesty, I don't suppose it is, really.

Except that it is the nursing chair that my Mum used when looking after both me and my sister Nikki.

It has been hanging on a nail on the wall of the garage in Bournemouth for the thick-end of thirty years.

It was recovered with all my Alvis junk a couple of weeks ago.

I have decided to restore it.

Doubtless, devotees of Freud and Jung will have a field day analysing exactly why I should want to embark on such a task, but *unprintable anatomical references* to them.......

I think it is a dear little chair.

It shall be saved.

'After' pictures will follow............

Now, where was I?

Oh yes,  making 'another furtive trip up to Wisbech to see how the Alvis is coming along.'

On the way, I saw this:

Is it me?

Or is the Graphic Designer responsible for the logo having a bit of a laugh with his customers?

For that looks very much like one 'i' in the middle of a stylistic forehead to me...........


(A big High Six to all in The Fens, by the way..................)

But I digress................

The Alvis is looking pretty much as knackered and as hopeless as it did in the last update.

But only to the untutored eye! (Probably the same one that graces the "Welcome to Fenland" logo.....)

The sill timbers are in place.

Close-up showing joining pieces and the metal support bracket being offered up. These will give the crucial 'B' posts (wot the doors 'ang orf) some much needed strength.

 Off-side sill, showing the original 'A' post bearer nicely recessed into the new timber

Close-up of same.....

Leading edge of front door to scuttle: the gap looks reassuringly even.
(nb: The Alvis has 'suicide' doors, i.e. they are hinged at the rear)

Trailing edge of front door, showing hinges and another impressively even door-gap.
(The vertical slot is for the offside trafficator......What do you mean "What's a trafficator?"!!!!!)

 And here's Car as I left it.....

But don't worry, everyone, Andy and Terry want to show you this:

One they made earlier........