Second Coats. 5th October


Last night just as I was plating up a nice chicken curry there was the sound of a boat engine coming along slowly beside us. Mick opened up the hatch and a lady said, “Are you Mick?” It was NB Dusty the local coal boat. They had expected to be in Thrupp before dark but had been delayed. We all introduced ourselves Katy, Jock and their four legged friend Billy, for the next few months they will be looking after our coal and diesel needs. A top up of diesel, 88p, more than at Cropredy but the boat delivers to our door. They try to do a run every three weeks so we decided to stock up a bit on coal too. We still need to get a mat for the roof. Jock and Mick carefully positioned the bags not too close to the drying cratch. A jolly couple, as all coal boaters are, we look forward to getting to  know them better and see what they look like next time. The curry was fine keeping warm in the oven.

Before breakfast I gave the gunnel a rinse down and left it to dry whilst we finished off the bacon from the Pig Place in butties. Then it was to work with the hope of getting two coats on the gunnel today.

Spotless black again

Luckily the cratch had dried off enough yesterday before we went past the dust cloud, it had only settled and not stuck. This had a wipe down and left to dry whilst the gunnels were worked on. With curves and poppers masked out I started at the stern and worked my way forward with roller and brush for the bits a roller can’t get to. I wanted the stern to be dry first so that when our shopping arrived nobody would have to think about it too much. So satisfying when you stand back and there are no scrapes visible.

Next the cratch got it’s second coat of woodskin. This takes quite a bit of drying and the cover will remain off for as long as possible so as not to stick. Just as I was cleaning the brushes out the delivery van came along the road, he pulled into the passing place and we got to work emptying the crates at the back doors and checking through the items from a mental list. This pays as occasionally they have delivered something that wasn’t quite right. Today Mick got two Cheese and Onion Pizza Rolls instead of Cheese Twists, he was a touch disappointed  (as he’s addicted!) but mentioning them to the driver means that they will come off the bill and he got to keep the rolls.


Tilly spent much of the day asking to go out. After yesterdays near miss with a car it was decided that she should be confined to quarters whilst here, also the drying paint really didn’t want paw prints on it either. She followed me up and down the boat keeping an eye on what I was doing through the windows. Mick took one of our speakers to pieces as it has stopped working, a soldered connection had broken and needed redoing. It’s a good job he lives with a theatre designer as my model making kit contained all that he needed. This did though require digging the right box out from underneath the dinette.

I'll get itDown there you say?There's not enough space for meI offered to assist, I could go down the hole and get what he needed, but there wasn’t enough space for me down there. I also helped by passing things to Tom. For some reason he wasn’t too keen on the idea of having to pick his tools up from the floor and they all got moved out of paw reach. I was just trying to be helpful!

Finished and ready for winter.... on this side

By 5pm a big vat of soup was bubbling away making use of the tins of carrots we’ve had stashed away for emergencies (two years out of date now!). Six hours had passed since I’d started to paint the gunnels so I could do a second coat before it got dark. Just a shame tomorrow there will be lots of little white flies stuck to it. They all came out of hiding when I’d got half way along!

Just how did that happen?

Apart from a big scrape along the tunnel band the starboard side is finished and ready for winter. We may have to stop here on the way back to Banbury to do the port side.

0 locks, 0 miles, 47 litres diesel, 4 bags Excell, 2 coats Epifanes, 1 coat Woodskin, 1 speaker mended, 1 looney bored cat, 3rd version of a snake on the needles, 3 days worth of soup, 2 years out of date, 0 tins of carrots, 4 helpful paws rejected.