Hold the Front Page – rename of the Narrowboat


Hold the front page, stop the press, read all about it! And any other outmoded method of communication.

We’re re-naming the narrowboat!

Rename - the Narrowboat name plate closeup image
Name goes here…

“But you haven’t even renamed it from its existing name yet” I hear you cry, in indignant outrage…

There’s a Problem

This is true, but there’s a problem. In my initial post about naming the narrowboat, I drew the reader’s attention to the fact that we saw a video where another narrowboat was named the same; ‘Out of the Blue’. We passed this off casually thinking two narrowboats on the cut with the same name is, OK.
I waffled on about not worrying about uniqueness of name and some such, however, I recently saw another narrowboat named the same – Out of the Blue. I quickly headed over to The Boat Index and performed a quick search and to my horror, came up with 23 vessels named Out of the Blue!
Either lots of people are obsessed about Roxy Music’s 4th album or they similarly just decided to go narrowboating; just like that!

Enemy Action

We had to re-evaluate; once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action** but 23 times is the universe surely conspiring to blast us into oblivion!

It was difficult enough in the first place trying to come up with a name. Now, it was near impossible! We went through the old contenders but nothing seemed to work. We had not chosen them originally for a reason.

Many narrowboat names died to bring us this information***

We poured through books and record sleeves and obscure arcana for something unique. As anyone will know, trying to come up with a unique name for a website is nigh on impossible these days – this was worse!

In the end we have adjusted the original slightly. We’ve come up with a slight twist which follows on historically from the original and is hopefully unique (as far as we can possibly know in the registration of narrowboats via The Boat Index). It has a slightly ethereal feel and it embodies our feelings at this time but mostly, it’s hopefully unique.


We are going to name the narrowboat

Out of the Mist

This is it! It’s final! No re-thinks. It will not change.

So, until next time. No. I didn’t mean until ‘next time’ we rename the boat. I meant… until next time you’re at this blog. I… Uh… Oh, Never mind…


* Sorry Roxy Music

** indebted to Ian Fleming
*** indebted to Mon Motha & Star Wars


rp – peace and narrowboats

Looking Back Along the Narrowboat

Looking back from the deck to the stern

Looking Back (crop) image

A photogrpah taken stood looking from the tug deck, along the roof, to the stern in Whilton Marina. This is the opposite view to an earlier photo so you get to see the boat from both ends. It turned out to be a beautiful day but bitterly cold.


Work to do

The roof needs a sanding & coat of paint and the mushroom vents need a polish. I’m hoping once the engine’s running and the batteries are charged, the headlight is going to work.

Why do I get the feeling this is going to be like painting the Forth bridge?


rp – peace and narrowboats


What Do We Actually Know?

The Narrowboat – what do we actually know?

A lot’s been said already about this narrowboat; in passing, in dispatches, in the Queen’s speech, in-uendo but what do we actually know? What are the facts?

  1. The narrowboat exists – we know this because we have seen photographs of it and unless I’m really, really good at Photoshopping, which I’m not, then we have to believe they are genuine and a boat of said photographs exists [see first post]
  2. It needs stuff doing to it – the survey revealed this and was discussed at length here
  3. The boat’s not here – it’s up in Whilton, in Northamptonshire being looked after by the lovely people at Whilton Marina
  4. It’s light and airy – this is what attracted us to it in the first place


Do We Know Any More?

So far, so good but here’s a little bit more. It has an engine! Yes, no trying to source a horse to pull it through the canals of England and Wales and no ‘legging’ it through tunnels for us. We have BMC Leyland 1.5 Diesel engine that delivers 38 hp. Just imagine 38 horses roped to the front (sorry bow) of the boat, running at full pelt!

Know - Heart of the Beast V image
Heart of the Beast

It’s a beauty – it looks cool and all kind of enginy.

OK, I know what you’re all thinking at this stage; cool? enginy? These adjectives don’t immediately inspire confidence and knowledge in the combustion engine department. I suppose I have to admit, although I can spell mekanic, sorry mechanic, it’s just I’m a bit challenged in the oil and engineering department. But I’m willing to learn. I’m keen, I have to be. I have to drive it away in approximately 10 weeks time as that’s when it will be ready!

Switches Everywhere!

The only other tidbit I can impart about her/him/it [delete as appropriate] is there’s this panel and it’s full of switches. There are hundreds of them It’s going to be like starting up a 747!

Know - Panel image
All systems operational

More importantly tho’ is the Bilge Pump. Seaworld – sounds like it controls the gate to an underwater cage where the Killer Whale comes out to entertain the crowds. Can’t wait to flick that switch!

As I learn more, you’ll here it here first…


rp – peace and narrowboats


We Found a Vacuum for the Narrowboat

We found a vacuum that’ll be perfect for the narrowboat. It’s not too big and bulky and should be able to get into all those little nooks and crannies…

Vacuum image

A Vacuum of Perfect Proportions

It’s red so goes with the colour scheme of the boat. It’s got and ‘old iMac‘ Jonathon Ive vibe going on. Better still, it needs no batteries! It’s USB-powered and so it won’t be draining the boat’s batteries any time soon!

I could only find it online here at Amazon.co.uk but you could get one at a novelty shop. Better hurry, they’re being snapped up by elves.

Other vacuums are available…


rp – peace and narrowboats

Gas Isolation Valve

Hatch to the Gas Isolation Valve photo

Gas Isolation Valve image


Gas Isolation Valve

This is the hatch to the gas bottles and the all important Gas Isolation Valve. We will need to use this when we change over the LPG bottles, which run the hob and oven. Hopefully this is the only time we will need to isolate any gas 🙂

Before we can drive off, the gas locker has to be ‘hammer tested’ (presumably hit with a hammer) and ‘inspected for its gas tight integrity’ (presumably this doesn’t mean striking a match or lighter near it to see if any gas is leaking!). Craig Allen from Craig Allen Marine is going to ensure it’s all boat shape and Bristol fashion.

It’s a quality brass sign.

rp – peace and narrrowboats

Is it Cold on a Narrowboat?

One question that is always asked when the choice of canal life, as a topic of conversation comes up is; “Is it cold on a narrowboat?”.

Cold - warming up nicely B+W image

The question has been addressed in books for example; Narrowboat Life – Jim Batty and YouTube is awash with vlogs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) about this question being asked & answered.

Well, Is It Cold?

Well, I can tell you, it’s *&!$%! freezing when you haven’t got any central heating on, the Squirrel’s not lit (other multi-fuel stoves are available), the hopper windows are open to ensure enough air circulation to prevent dampness, it’s 2°outside with no sign of warming up and you can’t make a cup of tea because you’re waiting for gas system to be checked and brought up to B.S.S. certificate standards…


Squirrel image

(The Squirrel was freezing his nuts off)

 So, in answer to the question; “Is it cold on a narrowboat?”, the answer is no. This is because there are many ways of heating it; using Solid Fuel and not letting the fire go out (we’re looking at using coffee logs – see The Narrowboat Experience), Central Heating via an Eberspächer Diesel central heating unit (we’ve got one, hope it works) and wrapping up warm (I won’t be skipping naked around the narrowboat any time soon).
rp – peace and narrowboats

Traditional Roses Painted Teapot

A traditional roses painted teapot

Roses Teapot image

One thing we’re going to need on a narrowboat is a good cup of tea and this looks like the ideal recepticle.

Teapot, Where?

I spotted in a thrift shop in Frome, on Catherine Hill (I didn’t dare ask the price and in any case, we’ve got a white one so I might try and get mu to paint it for us – a lot more thrifty). I was tempted thought, I’ve got a red mug that looks exactly like it!

It’s a Tradition

Traditional narrowboat painting is comprised of Roses and Castles. As to why? The origins have been lost, which is frighteneing as we’re only talking about the 19th Century. Hardly the ‘Mists of time’. The roses are painted using four colours only, if you are aiming for authenticity.

We like the idea of tradition and find It fitting to honour the people that lived and worked on the canals so, we want to take some of that tradition and meld it with the modern.


rp – peace and narrowboats

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

That Sinking Feeling – when you’ve got everything but the Kitchen sink.

After the euphoria of finding the narrowboat you want to buy, the adrenalin rush subsiding and you’re left shaking by the canal bank, the actuality gradually dawns – it needs some work.

You suddenly notice that some aspects of your narrowboat pride & joy look a little jaded. Lacklustre if you will. Somethings need to be refreshed; there’s a scratch here (well, several), it could do with a touch of polish there (well, all of it) and the Galley (the technical term for the kitchen) well… The Galley is one of those things.

The configuration of the Galley is right, we wanted it along one side, not a walk-through with units on both sides of the boat, so you have to squeeze through or wait for someone to pass, so you can then get by. It’s just that one of the units needs changing, and there’s a door we want to do up and we want a new cooker and…

The Patina of Age

It has obviously served the boat and previous occupants well and whilst I’m all for a patina of age, we’re going to do up the Galley.

Looking Back from the Galley image
The Galley

With weeks and weeks still to go before the boat will be ready, one thing we can do is get some ‘bits and pieces’ and at least feel like we’re moving in the right direction. With the Galley in mind, we’ve bought a sink and a draining rack to go with it. It’s a small sink and we’ve been trying out basic mock-ups to ensure we got the optimum size; not too big so as to waste preparation space and not too small that you can’t effectively wash up in it. How did we do this? With a paper layout of the kitchen, sorry Galley in the sitting room, to scale and set up so we can see how different layouts will work. It’s a sort of role-playing while no-one’s looking, but there are no Hit Points or Dragons.

Kitchen Sink image
Kitchen Sink


It’s all coming along nicely, we’ve even bought an EasyDo Products ecoFORCE recycled (89%) Dish Brush for cleaning the pots and pans pot and pan (there’s only so much space to store stuff and mu insists she’s a one pot cook). Ooh, and x2 brush refills and some recycled (97%) Heavy Duty Kitchen Scourer Pads from the same company. At least that pot and pan will be clean.

Drained image

We haven’t got everything but at least we’ve got a kitchen sink.


rp – peace and narrowboats

Tale of the Bilge

So what is a bilge?

If you look at Oxford Dictionaries definition it first states that a bilge is on the outside of a boat. Further definition for bilges states it is ‘the lowest internal portion of the hull‘. It finally tells us bilge means ‘Nonsense, rubbish’! How prescient!

Basically, if you open up the floor of a narrowboat, you get to see the bilges. That is, sections of the boat below the waterline.

Is There a Question?

‘So what’s in one?’ I hear you ask. Well, you might think nothing but you’d be wrong. This is where water collects. It’s OK, don’t worry! We’re not sinking. Water can get in by various legitimate means; condensation, rain, splashsing in from the canal or spillage from the galley (we’ll come to the galley in another post). There are also other, less legitimate means for water ingress; water can leak from a disconnected pipe (I’m thinking sink if you’re lucky, toilet if you’re not), the stern gland (don’t ask) and maybe even oil from the engine!

Don’t panic!

‘My good God! What type of boat are you running here?’ I hear you gasping. Don’t panic, this is all normal or so I’m reliably told by people in the know. The thing I want you to take away from  this little discussion is that water in the bilge or bilge water isn’t clean. In fact it can harbour bacteria and emanate noxious smells, hence you can see bilge quickly becoming a derogatory term.

Pump it

You have to get into the bilges or at least gain access to pump out the noxious waters (I said pump, not syphon). You can get manual and automatic bilge pumps that remove said waters. I’ll let you know which type of pump we have (if any) and what we upgrade to if we have to.

So, I’ll be periodically cleaning out my bilges (let’s face it, there won’t be a lot of people queuing up to do it for me) and by necessity, be cleaning the bilge as a narrowboat needs blacking every two years or so, the contents of which I will be sharing in these blog posts – basically, a load of old bilge water 😉

A soon as I get a picture of our bilges, I’ll post it here.


rp – peace and narrowboats