Daisypath - Vacation

Friday, 26 September 2014

Doors, Worktops...Bits and Bobs

It's been a busy few days. Although it would seem that not a lot has been done aboard the boat. That's the funny thing though...be it a boat or a house, bungalow or apartment, the smaller jobs are always the jobs that take the longest. They're also usually the messiest and frustrating!

I finally managed to get a final coat of varnish on the front bow doors yesterday. I'd done 3 coats in danish oil and the final coat had dried grainy - a quick sand and wipe over with white spirit and I decided to do a final "top coat" using an outdoor varnish - at least I knew that it wouldn't dry grainy, gritty and white again. Ideally, I suppose I should have completely sanded them back and re-done them in the varnish alone, or I should at least do another coat of varnish, but I think they should be fine and have enough protection. Next year I will completely strip them and re-varnish.

Just the masking tape to remove and white spirit the windows to clean up...

Of course, the other job was to seal the sink in the kitchen after the granite worktop was put in. I ended up doing it today, finally!! It only took me a week to do, but at least its done now!

I have a new trick for a mess-free way to put on a perfect bead of silicone too - mask up!

Apply masking tape on either side of whatever you're planning to apply silicone to:

Apply the bead of silicone, followed by dipping a finger into white spirit and spreading across to smooth it over:

(Have lunch in-between masking up and applying silicone - leave dirty pots in sink. After all you can't wash up and risk splashing the silicone!!)


Other jobs coming up include measuring up for acrylic sheeting so I can "double glaze" the windows for this winter and Rob should be coming back soon hopefully (our joiner) to fit some new porthole liners and a new bedframe.

I also want to re-varnish the side-hatch doors ready for winter and paint the internal cabin doors. I'm thinking of painting them in cream satin, as the doors look a bit dark and dated and I think it would brighten the place up a bit and make it look a bit more modern - we'll see...Maybe I'll lose momentum before I get to that!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


As always, work has never really stopped on the boat even in all the time we weren't blogging - there's always something to keep on top of or... something that we want to change or enhance upon (more likely!)

I suppose you could say it's our "hobby". Whereas some people like to eat out, or go on holiday....collect classic cars or buy handbags and shoes(!) we love doing stuff to the boat and trying to make it as nice as we can!

We've had this job booked in for a few months now and it had always got delayed - at one point the company who was doing the work had broken what they were supposed to be fitting - a granite worktop! But finally the day had arrived!

Removing the sink, ready for the fitting:

We originally decided last year that we would have the wooden worktop around the sink replaced or veneered in Granite as it makes life easier. The worktop was sound but wood and water is never a good mix! Not only that, but I'm fed up with oiling and varnishing woodwork - so it's one less thing to worry about if it's finished off in granite.

We opted to just have a granite veneer by a company called Granite Transformations - I'm not linking them(!) as despite them doing quite a good job in the end, there was a lot of sneakiness, sloppiness and not so great customer service in the build up to it!

However, as I say, in fairness they have done a top job but they just need to work on communicating with customers better!

We were originally going to have both sides of the kitchen done, but for the opposite side, where we have the breakfast bar "bubble" they quoted £2400 apparently due to the shape of the big round end on the worktop - ouch! So we have kept the Iroko worktop that side and had the granite only on the sink side.

We opted for a granite design called "Amarone" in the end. It's a dark chocolate, and goes quite well with the brown mosaic tiles we have in the kitchen as well as with the darker Iroko worktop we have on the other side.

I didn't know, but apparently "Amarone" is a type of red wine (perfect) and the word "Amarone" translates as:

"...the great bitter one"

Couldn't have made a better choice - definitely bitter and love red wine!

The day of fitting finally arrived and the fitter was supposed to arrive between 11AM and 12PM. He finally arrived at 1:20PM(!) but did get straight to it.

The overall shape had already been templated and the fitter started off by bringing in the pieces to see how they fit...

...it looks good already!

For the fitter, it was then a case of cutting out the aperture for the sink and tap. The worktop was in two pieces, so both pieces needed to be cut!

Cutting the sink aperture:
(Pav's busy as usual!!)

Final angle cutting:

Finally, by around 4PM it was all done and dusted and looking really good. I was nervous about the top being in two pieces as I was concerned about the dovetail joint being really obvious but you can barely see it - you only know because I've told you! The front edge was bonded on in one piece and then rounded off and it all looks really immaculate.

Can you tell how happy I am?!

As you can see above, I connected the sink and tap back up, but I still have to run a bead of silicone around the sink. It's a couple of days later now and I still haven't done it - I have been careful and made sure I haven't been splashing too much water about though!

I did go to Wilkos today to get a white silicone sealant so will do it tomorrow, but I've also been busy with re-oiling the bow doors on the outside ready for winter as they were definitely needing some attention

The only problem was the danish oil has done its usual trick on the last coat and dried grainy and with a white film - but more about that tomorrow!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Troubling Toilets Pt. 2

We finally got the toilet finished off the other day and super-smart it's looking too!!

All we really had to do was put it into the final position and bolt it down, replace the boxing in and then fit the service hatch (on the bedroom side of the wall). All the service hatch consists off was just a lockable plastic frame, where you can put an insert into it to match your wall etc.

These toilets are predominately designed for caravan use, so usually the service hatch would be on the outside of the caravan or RV (whatever they're called these days!) and is also lockable to protect theft of your cassette! Either way, it came with the toilet, so was perfect for us to fit into the wall to give it a clean, smart finish

The access hatch to the cassette from the bedroom before the service hatch was fitted:

After fitting the service hatch:

As I was talking about in my last post, the old vacuum cassette was sat in the area where there is no carpet in the picture above! Originally there was carpet there and the cassette docking platform was sat on a piece of oak ply on top of that, but when the whole thing malfunctioned on me, the result meant removing the carpet due to half the contents of the cassette leaking onto the floor!

Obviously we will have to fit a whole new carpet in the bedroom now (more expense damn it!) and the batons on the walls will need removing as they aren't needed anymore in addition to more boxing in etc. to make it all look good and smart. I think we will probably now fit a small corner desk or something in that corner in time.

For now we will just have to put up with it all and wait until some more money grows on the trees I planted out on the deck a few months ago...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Troubling Toilets!!!

We're still here after fitting the toilet - just about.... No walls came down, there was only 3 or 4 miniature floods(!) and the toilet is more or less in and just needs fixing into place properly!

For a few different reasons, we didn't get started on it yesterday until about 3PM. We started by removing the old toilet 'throne' first followed by the vacuum unit that was in the bedroom. I've always hated having the vacuum cassette in the bedroom, not only because it's not a nice idea (toilet contents in the bedroom! Eww!) but because it was hideously boxed in and was in a place that was basically in the way!

The new toilet is a Dometic CTS4110 and the cassette sits directly underneath the actual toilet, which means everything is in the bathroom - where it should be!

Old toilet just behind the new one:

If you have a look just behind Pav's shoulder, you can see what looks like a brown leather box - thats where the old vacuum cassette lived.

Anyway, all that will go now and will be replaced with a nice miniature corner desk. Of course, it also means that we will need a new piece of carpet in the bedroom as the carpet we fitted in there was put in after the toilet, so when we remove all that boxing in there'll be a missing square piece of carpet. It's not ideal, as everything like that costs money! Not only that but the carpet in there now is a really expensive, thick carpet that hasn't been in too long and is in perfect condition.

Back to the toilet fitting....

- After removing the old toilet, it was a case of trying to knock off one of the wall tiles as we needed to make an access hatch that we can remove the cassette from on the bedroom side

- I then templated the wall in the bedroom so I could cut a square in the wall which I will fit the service door into.

Look at the concentration in my face in this pic!!

I was absolutely bricking it as I built the dividing cabin walls in the boat and I couldn't remember where batons and screws were that supported the actual wall! Not only that but I'm....erm.... Not really confident in my wall building abilities!

I was convinced I was going to put the jig in and literally have the wall collapse on us! We got there in the end, I couldn't believe it - but there were no batons at all in that section I'd cut out, but directly either side of the cut out! That's what I call "PURE LUCK!"

(Sorry for the quality of some of the pictures, but it was nearly 11PM when some of these were took.)

Luckily, we also only had to remove one tile as that leaves plenty of room for the cassette to be removed. All that was needed after was to connect the electronics and water supply.

The water connection leaked several times and ended up going under the lino about 3 or 4 times in total which meant we had to keep lifting that up and drying it - total nightmare! I think lifting the lino and drying it took more effort and time than the actual toilet fitting! Finally at 12:30AM, it was all in place and we were all tidied up, vacuumed, dusted(OCD!) and washed up from dinner!

Today, we just have to bolt the unit into place, cover some fixings up, fit the service door and see if we can get a small piece of tile to cover an area just at the side of the toilet where the wall is exposed.

All that shouldn't take too long, so today shouldn't be as manic as yesterday! Look out for part 2 and I will take more pictures too!

The only thing I'm nervous about now is what it's actually going to be like to use etc. Our old vacuum toilet had no smell at all or anything because it was vacuumed. I'm not sure if ordinary cassette toilets smell or not as everything is just in the box below!?

If there are any cassette users out there - leave me a comment and let me know!

Great to hear from Carol, Adam and Sue yesterday. Thanks for leaving a comment guys, it's great to here from you and gives me motivation to keep posting!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Where Can I Begin?

It's been nearly 9 months since I last blogged and I can't actually believe it's been that long - feels like it was just a few weeks ago really.

At this stage then, I'm not sure if there'll be any readers out there, but I suppose if I want to carry on chronicling life on the boat, I need to make a start somewhere!

I think the reason for the lack of blogging is, in part, because I was boring myself (never mind anyone else that reads it!) and it was starting to feel a bit too personal. I seemed to be detailing my life over the internet for anyone to read and I suppose in some ways, I was starting to get a little uncomfortable with that. However, that's what blogging is, I know! It's a diary of sorts, which is obviously only one 'facet-of-a-diamond' in terms of "our life", but still somewhat a diary and not what I initially thought would be just a way of referencing what we had done or had fitted (etc) in the boat.

I have missed blogging sometimes and definitely miss being able to look back at what we've done or achieved, or where we have travelled etc - and its a shame as we really have done some travelling this summer! Thats also another reason for not blogging - time has just been flying by and there's always something that needs doing, appointments And just general "life" that gets in the way of finding time to dedicate to a proper blog post!

So what has been happening over the last few months.....?

- January - Rob came back and finished some bedroom work for us ( mostly trims and beading as well as boxing in pipe work etc) although we have a long list still of things we want him to finish! He is due to come back soon hopefully to alter the cross fit bed frame and new porthole liners etc.

Some new sapele gunnel trims in place before oiling:

- February - saw us take to a bit of DIY tiling! Our fire surround still had no firedboard ( I know! Don't shout or tell me how unsafe that was - we know and we should have done something sooner). Well, to make up for lost time, we decided to go all out on being "safe" and got the latest 25mm fireboard and did a spot of tiling ourselves!

We basically, made a template of the walls at the back and side of the stove and then cut the fireboard into that shape. Then literally tiled on the top with fireproof adhesive - it was actually easy as you could take the boards and tile them at your leisure whilst sat down!

One board up:


We couldn't believe what a good job we'd done!

We got so carried away, we decided to throw a few tiles up in the kitchen too as I was fed up of the wall getting stained all the time. Pav thought we'd balls it up royally but even he was impressed with how well we'd managed to do it.

- March - saw us cut the ropes for a trip to Manchester, onto the Peak Forest followed by the Ashton Canal! We had to do it that way due to timing regarding work etc, and we were dreading it with everything that had been said about the Ashton! However, I have to say, it was one of the most pleasant canals (in terms of people) that we'd ever been on. Lots of people chatting and offering to help with lock gates , so we were really pleased that we'd done it. Our trip for Manchester was to have the boat blacked which we were having done at Preston Brook in...

-April - We've always had fond memories of the Bridgewater Canal and the Trent and Mersey, so it was nice to be back on the two canals and great to see Tim Leech up at Preston Brook who did our blacking, fitted new anodes, painted us some new tunnel bands and straightened our propellor!

-May saw me get to work on giving the roof a paint as well the handrails in Rylard Gloss (hate working with that stuff but actually did a good job!)

The roof was cream, but was peeling off after abusing it by chucking bags of coal and other stuff on it, and I ended up hating the cream as it was so difficult to keep clean - so we went back to a Royal Mail Red! It took us nearly a week just to sand and prep for painting, but definitely worth it:

I even painted a stripey design on the tiller and the back doors had a fresh coat of green gloss on too:

- June - saw us turn attention to the decking. Sanding, scrubbing and re-staining and lacquering

So the boat is looking ship-shape(!) and tidy! However, jobs on the boat never cease and our toilet packed up last week, so our new one arrived today which we hope to fit tomorrow (it'll be a drama I can tell as it involves taking a section of wall out!) and I've recently spent 10 days oiling a work top (don't ask!!!)

The last few months we have been cruising around the Bridgewater and Trent and Mersey and we are still out and about now. We still have our mooring in Poynton but not sure when we will return yet - isn't that what living on a boat is all about anyway?!

Being in Manchester has been really different for us but we have definitely loved every minute of it, made plenty of new friends and basically absorbed a whole new lifestyle.

Will try and post about how the toilet fitting goes tomorrow! Wish us luck!