Thursday, 29 July 2010


Non-boat users may not be aware but the chimney on a narrow boat has a lid to keep out rain and the flue pipe itself is removable for reducing height under low bridges.
The flue on Patience (left) had at some time in the past been painted green like the rest of the boat but the green paint was peeling off leaving a perfectly good black enamel surface. The brass rings and grab handle had been painted red which was also peeling off and fading.
Having nothing better to do, I took to scraping off the paint and polishing up the brass. Quite successfully actually. And cheaper than buying a new one.
Probably the brass was painted because brass, looking good when polished, is a beast to keep shiny. I promise to give it one more buff then lacquer it to keep it bright.

Here's a pic from Ely Chandlery showing a spanking new flue pipe.
Ours looks a little bit like this (after an hour's polishing ...) But look at the little hook on the side. Is that for anchoring the pipe in a brutal storm? And ours has a double skin, keeping the hot gases separate from the outer decorated skin. Is this normal, or are we posh ?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

All Aboard

Today we fulfilled our promise at an auction of promises held at The Shelford Feast.
The prize was a day's cruise (and back) to Ely, with picnic. The lucky family boarded at The Lazy Otter and, fortified with fruit drinks, biscuits, coffee and a lunch such as Patience has not seen in our time, sped upstream. Thanks to Sarah for the excellent picnic and also for providing napkins and flowers.
Mum, dad and three children then explored Ely while we washed up and, in a spirit of bonhomie, finished off the bottle of wine.
Though we proffered bird books, coloured crayons and an Eye Spy activity sheet (it's the teacher in me!) and because we explained the TV was out of bounds, activity was mostly based around trying to point Patience in the direction we were heading and talking about the boat and her slow and peaceful surroundings on the Ouse.
Not too exciting perhaps, but our passengers showed genuine interest in the new experience.
We think they had a good time on the cruise - we certainly did, any excuse for a purposeful trip - and we noted that prices for commercial boats at Ely were £120 for one and a half hours, so our 4 hour charity promise plus lunch and tea and chocolate cake was a bargain!

Thursday, 15 July 2010


We have added an additional 12V DC power socket to the end of the starboard bunk in the forward saloon. This is in addition to the one already installed on the bulkhead of the rear cabin. The new socket is protected by a 13A fuse and the wiring is rated at 15A.
It can be used in conjunction with a small 12V DC/240V AC Belkin inverter (also shown) for low loads (up to about 150W), eg to charge phone batteries. There is an irony in converting from 12V DC to 240V AC and then back to low voltage DC - however it works!
Also shown in the photo is a twin 240V AC socket, but this is only live when Patience is hooked up to a shore power supply.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Polished and Shining

John and I set to and waxed and polished Patience. Last week we did the starboard side, this week we reversed her in (not an easy task - I recommend getting as close as you can and then manhauling it!) and waxed the port side.
My how beautiful she looks. The chap up the way tells us the previous owner used baby oil to give her a sheen before we bought her, and we can't help think that a) that's not a great idea b) it's surely washed off now c) wax polish is the long term answer.
While doing this we confirm that a previous painting was done without proper preparation, which explains the way a layer of green paint is peeling off the gunwhales. So another job is lined up - scrape, prime, paint and add a layer of non-slip sand to the final coat. Patience deserves no less.

Twenty Pence

Monday evening, family out having fun so I head for the friendly Lazy Otter for a very filling baguette and a pint.
A cloudless sky and nearly the longest day encourage me to take Patience out for a gentle stroll down to Twenty Pence Marina. Once there was a pub here, I believe, but sadly not at the moment, so I turn around (in a rather tight spot) and return refreshed.
Anyone know if there are plans to create a new pub at Twenty Pence? I'd visit it for a short evening trip out.
On the way back I pass three young Huckleberry Finn figures in a well-worn cruiser setting alight to a barbecue on a flat area of the river bank. Those guys were really enjoying themselves in the simple life. Not a beer in sight, boat well moored up in the middle of nowhere, just burning a few sausages and having a chat on a long sunny evening. A pleasure to see. Another tale from the riverbank.