Nice weather for boats

Yesterday we got to the moorings quite early as the “noisy hours” were only from 8-1 and we both really wanted to get the boards off the big saloon windows and let some light in, but as they’d had brackets welded onto the frames for the crossing, James needed to angle grind them off.

James angle grinding the brackets off the window coverings

Meanwhile, I went to work consolidating all the stuff from the 12 hotel rooms into the front two quad rooms, hauling mattresses along the corridor and stacking them up on other bunks (5 mattresses fit into the hole where one would sleep!) and moving all of the pillows and duvets up there as well. Then I set aside 8 chairs of the type we wanted to keep and moved the other 12 up into the front rooms, and finally, I started dismantling the bunks in the other ten rooms. The bunkbeds consist of one nicely stained and varnished board running along the length of the bed, a small board screwed to the wall on the other side, six 2×4s screwed down as slats for the bed, then a bed-sized piece of MDF pegboard with the mattress on top of that.

Typical bunkbed room before demolition

So first I had to remove all of the pegboards and stack them in one of the front rooms, and then remove all the 2×4 slats with the electric screwdriver, then the support board along the wall, until finally I was left with the outer, nicely varnished board. The first bed we dismantled happened to be one with an easy bracket holding it onto the wall, but it turned out that was an anomoly that had broken sometime in the past and all the rest are held in my some sort of large wooden peg going into the wall itself which we think we’ll have to saw off to remove. ugh. Later James removed the first sink (which came away easily and left only a pipe with a HUGE hairball in the trap, ewwww) and we even pulled away one wall with a crowbar to discover that the dividing walls are actually insulated. Does anyone know how to tell if insulation is asbetos or not? It would’ve been installed in the late 70s, we think. We bought filter masks and eye protection, but we’re not sure how to proceed next.

We had a beautiful lunch in the wheelhouse when the sun was shining and the river looked glorious. We ate our paninis, carrots, and apples while we read the Saturday paper and then got back to work, finishing the last of the window boards. It’s amazing how much lighter and brighter the saloon is without the horrible boards on! It feels much more livable and much less like a dungeon in there now.

We then took a trip out to Machine Mart to pick up a few bits, then tried to go to the rope store in Limehouse (but discovered they were closed weekends), and then finally made a huge trip to the Tescos in Surrey Quays (soon to be our local, though probably by bus) to stock our fridge and pantry. But when we got back to the boat, the tide was out and we discovered our hard-earned electricity wasn’t working! So we’re pretty sure somewhere on the boat the connection is touching and we’re grounding out when we hit bottom, which is a common but really annoying problem to fix. But it has to be fixed asap, otherwise we’ll be without power (apart from a few lights on battery power) for several hours twice a day, which just won’t do.

Today we’re going over in the afternoon (during high tide!) and three friends are coming over to see the boat. We bought provisions at Tesco for a fantastic high tea – hot cross buns with clotted cream and jam, fresh strawberries, leftover homemade bread & butter pudding, and a huge variety of teas. It looks nice and sunny again today so we’ll probably have our tea up in the wheelhouse again to show off Hendrik in her best light.

- posted by Melissa Fehr on 1 April 2007, 12:56 in