Three happy boating years….but it’s time for a change

Happy third anniversary Double Fracture.  It has been 36 months filled with learning points, toilet problems and mishaps.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  But over the last few months I’ve been getting itchy feet.  It’s time to move on.

(The aim of the first paragraph was to get a collective gasp from you, my lovely readers.  Am I over living on a boat?  What on earth is happening?)

Panic not my friends, this is not the end of crew duty. (In fact I’m considering introducing mandatory service for all those over the age of eight.)  I may be moving on, but DF will be moving on with me.  After a couple of weeks in my favourite holiday spot outside Sainbury’s, I wondered if it need only be a vacation home.  I recently met a boat-dwelling couple at work who lived off grid, and had inspired me with their talk of multiple solar panels, generators and forklift truck batteries.  But I quickly realised that in the short term, I am not currently set up for off grid living.  Man cannot survive on three hours fridge time a day.

So I made a couple of speculative phone calls.  One to Trevethicks, who have so far catered for all my hull-blacking needs and also offer on-canal moorings.  No room at the boatyard inn.  And another to Castle Marina – the place I thought I would live when I first looked into life afloat.  Every time I had enquired previously, they had been full to the brim, but that day was my lucky day.  They had a spot, and it took me approximately ten minutes to think it over once I had been for a look round.  I am on my way.

I will miss Sawley.  I will miss my neighbours.  I would not have lasted three weeks on board, let alone three years, without the kindness of other boaters.  And I will miss the shower.  Maybe most of all, I will miss the shower.

So today, in celebration of our three moderately successful years together, I am packing up.  I won’t have a storage locker at Castle Marina and so all the things I have accumulated outside need to either be disposed of, stored on the roof, or (my personal preference) at the parents house.  I may have moved out, but they will never be rid of my clutter.

(In clearing everything out, I realised I have cultivated a lovely bug garden within the bags of coal.  There were huge spiders, with bodies the size of 50p pieces, lots of woodlice, a centipede and some worms.  As well as a very dopey wasp.)

The big move is on Saturday.  Cannot flipping wait.

This blogpost was brought to you by ‘Moving on up‘ by M People.


Steaming up the windows: the sequel

Over my three-year tenure on Double Fracture I have dabbled with secondary glazing options. Mostly this has taken the form of double-sided tape and cling film. But last year I didn’t bother with anything; it wasn’t markedly colder, but there was a lot more condensation. This year, I have got ambitious with my windows.

It had been suggested that double glazing could be made by screwing Perspex onto the window frame. The suggester quickly found himself roped into an evening of sawing and drilling sheets of plastic – probably not what he had in mind when he offered his helpful tip. So armed with pizza and cider, Richard and I set about unsteaming the windows.

There are two options for cutting Perspex down to size – scoring a line with a knife and then applying pressure to break the acrylic along that line, or sawing the extraneous bits off. We started with the scoring – trying to achieve a cleaner line – but quickly resorted to sawing when the scoring and breaking proved to be time consuming with a hint of jeopardy. Unfortunately, the sawing brings with it plastic sawdust which sticks to everything and spreads itself far and wide. Two weeks later and I am still finding it on the underside of my socks.

Beautiful rectangles of plastic cut, the next job was to drill the holes for the screws. An electric drill would be no good apparently – I would met the plastic with all the friction. Luckily Richard had come prepared for this with a hand-powered drill.

I’m not competitive. Much. I celebrate the achievements of others. And occasionally I want to be better them. Drilling holes in plastic was one such occasion. It drove me mad that Richard could get through the acrylic in a couple of seconds and it took me minutes to break through. I tried different techniques, different speeds, standing vs sitting, and in the end had to concede that my double glazing partner in crime was just better at it than me. Not an admission I make lightly.

Holes drilled, we were ready for fixing the windows in place. Definitely a two man job (volunteers will be needed to help take them down come spring), but so satisfying once they were up. It may be a crowning boat DIY achievement to date. Really, these things are quite beautiful (for sheets of Perspex).

It almost doesn’t matter if they solve the condensation problem.

This blogpost was brought to you by ‘Songbird‘ by Oasis.