Sunday, 22 May 2011


After scraping and sanding comes painting. Yesterday John scraped the gunwhales and rubbing strakes to reveal paint that was flaking off but very little rust, to our relief. I undercoated the lockers and the foredeck.
Today I aimed to paint a top coat on the foredeck and lockers, but the wind was so fierce and the air so full of willow seed that I abandoned any idea of top coat and concentrated on the port gunwhale and strakes which I could reach from the jetty. Having daubed these with anti-rust yesterday I added a coat of primer today, crawling on all fours and dabbing the brush at likely spots.
The flurries of willow seed  ...

... (picture from Wild About Britain) were beginning to subside, caught in spiders' webs and in nooks and crannies of the hull, but sudden winds brought out more flurries so any wet painted surface would have become a furry coat in minutes.
A chap along the way says we should just leave it and rub it off when the paint has dried. He says you can do this with flies caught in wet paint too - leave them to die then break their legs off. Sounds rather unkind - but what else can you do? Answer: leave further painting till another day....

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Applying the Primer

Spurred on by the knowledge that we have now had 3,000 hits on our Blog (well it sounds a lot but I guess Google gets that many per second *) and that the hard work of First Scraping was over I maintained my enthusiasm by applying the first coat of primer.
It took nearly 15 minutes of constantly stirring the tin with a specially imported stick to get the lumpy stuff mixed with the wet stuff (how long had it been standing like that? Think geological time, as the sands sink slowly to the sea taking the bones of dead creatures while the waters float effortlessly above) but then I was at it with the brush, spreading primer over the areas I'd anti-rusted yesterday, concentrating on the areas without paint, leaving the good painted areas for a full coat of undercoat later. My thinking is that if I can build up with primer the areas that have rusted and flaked away, one day all the surface will be glassy smooth....
So here's the result of stage III -

 Thrilled and astonished? Well OK, I don't blame you. Yes it does look like a map of the world before the continents split up. Or the Swedish archipelago. And it is quite like a piebald pony skin. And I did have to dance around the wet bits while I painted so I didn't tread on them ... but actually this is what it was supposed to look like. The rusty bits were exposed, the edges feathered, anti-rust applied and now primer added.
Next, a bit more sanding to smooth it down, another coat of primer, then the undercoat followed by the top coat, both applied with a roller for that smoooooth finish. And of course that's just the foredeck. Lots more to be done .... don't mention The Forth Bridge.

* PostscriptI just read that Google gets 34,000 hits per second and a billion per day, though as Google won't tell, and as another source suggests it's 2 billion per day, I reckon they're all just guessing.  Anyway, I'm pleased we got 3,000 ! Thank you!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Scraping and Sanding

I've put it off for  long enough. I know Patience needs a re-paint - but she's just so loooong!
I believe preparation is the key to a good diy job but it's also a good excuse for putting off doing the real hard work. I actually try to justify procrastination!
I'd got everything in place - sandpaper, wet and dry paper, newspaper, battery operated sander, wire brushes, wire brush attachment, safety goggles, dust mask, knee pads, anti rust paint, primer, top coat, masking tape, pint of bitter ... it was just the time and the oomph I didn't have. But now I've started, so I must finish.
Today with all the kit in place I scoured the fore deck with the drill and wire brush attachment (safety goggles on, I looked like Biggles). Then after 30 minutes, just getting into it, it just stopped. Turns out my drill drains quickly under continuous use and 30 minutes is all it can cope with. Recharging from the inverter on board took 2 hours - a convenient break for a sandwich, pint of Adnams, a chapter of my latest must-read book (The Information by James Gleick, since you ask) and I nearly managed another half hour until I had to resort to real sandpaper and a hand held wire brush.
Now I have dust in my nails, a faint buzzing sensation in my hands and the knowledge that if I were a burglar they'd never trace me by my finger prints. I also know there's a layer of black anti-rust on the scraped surface of the foredeck and that when I next get a chance I'll be able to prime it then roll on the Donegal Green.
And that will be that! Only two sides and gunwales comprising 45 foot of green, some 45 feet of black down to the waterline, a cream roof 35 feet long, an aft deck, the lockers and hatch at the front....  And somehow to delicately paint the name, number and surrounding border on each side. Before the summer's over.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Easter up the Great Ouse

As we grow familiar with Patience and with the ways of the rivers it's easy to forget that some folks have never even been on a narrow boat (or barge or even "longboat" as so many people call it). So in a spirit of broadening the experiences of my family and friends I took Patience up the Old West to Pope's Corner with my parents - who in all their 80 plus years had never been on a narrow boat. They expressed themselves "excited".

Then on the day of the Royal Wedding I tried to avoid the sentimental outpourings by taking a trip to Ely with a friend, leaving our respective wives to gawp at the ceremonials. Tony cycled up from Cambridge, we had lunch at the Cutter at Ely (where we learned in 70 seconds of BBC News what our wives had been drip-fed all morning). Then we toured the cathedral, which had been open all day for a service to celebrate the marriage, paused by a brass band also celebrating the day, through the happy masses in the Cathedral Green and past a few moored up cruisers strung with bunting to the Lazy Otter with Tony's bike on board.
A good day out with a conspicuous failure to avoid The Wedding .... Nevertheless I wish the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (so they're now local?) every happiness.
I noted, incidentally, how much newspaper space was taken up admiring Pippa Middleton's bottom. So a good day was had by non-royalists too!