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.
One thing we’re going to need on a narrowboat is a good cup of tea and this looks like the ideal recepticle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We haven’t got everything but at least we’ve got a kitchen sink.
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!
‘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.
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.