Frank Screws and Catch Up 20/9 to 1/10


Road works at Falsgrave traffic lights

Life in Scarborough has been busy. Reclaiming our big house is taking time, on the first day I managed to walk over a mile without leaving the front door, I suspect on Oleanna I’d have only managed a couple of hundred yards! Just moving from the cooker to the sink or fridge is several paces rather than just a turn. All the stairs are hard work for knees!

Why are we here?!

Our first week has been spent bringing down from the top floor only those things we need, which isn’t much. This is so that as I decorate the house there isn’t clutter that needs to be constantly moved from room to room. Hopefully as I work my way round we will have more than just a sofa to sit on.

Geraghty zoom from the living room

Having so much space means we can inhabit one side whilst I work on the other side, the only down side is that the boiler on the side we’re inhabiting doesn’t work and needs replacing. We’re waiting for quotes, but it looks like it won’t be until November until the work could be done, good job we’ve a 15 tog duvet on the bed!

Much of our furniture that we’d left in the house has gone through the years. Somethings needed replacing quickly, ie the washing machine and tumble drier so that we don’t have to go to Oleanna to do our washing! We’d leant our TV to some friends whilst we were away, so that was collected early on saving us from having to buy another. We also stocked up on toilet roll, 48 recycled rolls.

Good window shelves

Tilly is just starting to get used to there being SO much space, At least four Oleanna’s worth and then there is the upstairs upstairs inside that I’ve only had a sneaky peek at so far. There is still more for her to explore inside, at least it’s keeping her busy until we allow her to explore the new normal outside.

Over lockdown I loved getting a veg box in Nantwich, so I’d already sussed out where I’d be able to get one from in Scarborough. Tree Top Farm delivers organic veg to your door, so Wednesdays is veg box day. Red Kale and Marrow made a few very nice meals and the last of the swede and squash will go into a soup. So far we are managing to get Sainsburys deliveries and three times a week we wake to a fresh bottle of milk on the doorstep.

We are hoping to live without a car, hiring when one is needed, pretty much as we’ve done for six years. Time will tell if this works, the only downside being that we can’t be spontaneous and head to Oleanna without a bit of planning. I suspect the walk to B&Q will become a regular thing, although I have placed a large order with Dulux which gets delivered.

So far we’ve only seen one friend, Frank who came round for a cuppa and catch up almost as soon as we got back. Sitting out in the garden it felt like we’d never been away. Thank you Frank for the beans, tomatoes and apples. We’ve just about finished the beans, some apples went into a sticky toffee apple pudding, but there’s still plenty left for other things.

Just to keep the breakfast club happy

We’d like to see other friends, but so far we’ve been a touch busy and keeping ourselves to ourselves feels right as the local cases of Covid 19 increase. We were so busy that I got my days mixed up and we missed a trip to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to see The Lighthouse which had been booked for a few weeks!

A good sea breeze

Last Sunday the sun came back out after a few miserable days, so we made the most of it and walked over onto South Cliff, along the Esplanade, down to the sea where Holbeck Hall Hotel slipped into the North Sea back in 1993. Then we walked back to the valley along the sea front about an hour before high tide, the wind blowing, surfers surfing and the sea crashing against the sea wall by The Spa. We paused and waved to Duncan and Jaye as we passed their house, but nobody looked out the windows. We hope to get out at least once a week to be able to blow away the dust and cobwebs from the house.


This week decorating has started. On days when the weather is favourable I aim to get as much of the outside repainted as I can, someone else will need to be employed to do the stuff up high. Two chaps turned up the other day to do some pointing, they’d actually got the wrong house and street, but they cleared our gutters for us there and then. They think they might be able to paint the gable end without scaffolding, so that would save us some money.

On cold and wet days there is plenty to keep me busy inside. Kitchen first, followed by the living room. If only it was as simple as getting the brushes out, so far there are five rotten window sills that need replacing and numerous sticking doors which have handles that fall off in your hand. This is all going to take time.

Holding on I hope!

The 1st of October was Tilly’s birthday. Her fifth birthday. She was hoping that this might mean she’d be able to go off and explore the trees in the park above our road but they will have to wait a few more days until her two weeks ‘House Arrest’ is finished.

There she is

So instead of spending the day with birthday girl we hired a car and headed to Goole. The sun was out, a good day to get some undercoat on the outside of the house, but an even better day to visit Oleanna to do some jobs.

Midland Chandlers had delivered a new 24volt automatic bilge pump along with fresh filters. Mick was wanting to change the oil so that Oleanna can sit over winter all fresh. Scarborough Halfords didn’t have enough, but Boyes in Goole did at a much better price. We also made use of the car by picking up several heavy things for mending a rather large hole that was put in the wrong chimney breast at the house, which currently is stopping us from lighting a fire!

Liberty our new view

Lisa my Instagram acquaintance had sent photos earlier this week showing that all was well at the marina. Oleanna’s ropes had slackened a touch and she has a couple of new neighbours, a small cruiser and Liberty a Dutch Barge we’d seen about the Aire and Calder recently.

It was good to be back on board. The hull rocking as we stepped on board. People ask us if we’ve got our land legs back, well that rocking feeling left us years ago, we kind of became ambidextrous with such things. Wonder if that will still be the case after being on land for a while?

Tools at the ready

Once we’d got everything powered up again Mick put on his overalls and lifted the engine board. I did a bit of chopping and frying, a chicken and swede soup to bubble away on the stove for our lunch, getting veg boxes means you have to keep on top of the supply so that nothing goes to waste.

Nearly gone. Frank!

Then I started on my job for the day. Curtain removal. The rods that hold our curtains up have plenty of screws that needed to come out. Some of the screws will need replacing as they have almost turned into Frank screws. So little head left that next time only Frank would be able to remove them for us. Last time we took them down we had a bit of difficulty putting them back up as the brackets although they look identical are not quite. This time as they came down, the brackets were taped onto the ends and each one was labelled.

What a state

The curtains need a good wash, but also some TLC. Tilly has a tendency to head behind the curtains head first and then do a tipple tail to turn round, her claws grabbing the lining as she goes. The lining has been suffering for some time. Do I replace the lining now or leave them a while longer, maybe just patching them up? I can’t decided. The bedroom curtains need a bit more than the lining replacing. I’ll use the old curtains as a pattern as I already have new fabric for them. Just a shame I forgot to take down the blinds on the bow doors that match. That will have to be a next time job.

Legs in the engine bay

It took a while for Mick to get the bilge pump operational, pipe attaching had been a touch problematic. Then there was the wiring in, the old 12 volt one had run off the starter battery, the new 24 volt one he wanted to run from the leisure batteries. The original pump hadn’t had a fuse, so a visit to the chandlers was needed. This all took longer than expected. It was decided to leave the oil change for another time.

New coat of Danish Oil

With all the curtains down I gave each window surround a good sanding back. A metal scraper would have been better to remove the old finish, but as I didn’t have one I could only sand back as best I could. Once everywhere was cleaned down I then applied a coat of Danish Oil.

Tilly Too heading off for a wash with the curtains

Most frames came up well, but the occasional water stain despite looking identical to the others decided to darken with the oil. These patches will require a bit more attention. Oxalic acid can be used to bleach out the oxidisation of the wood, but also you can try Bar Keepers Friend, here’s a handy link. Sadly my stains didn’t show themselves before I started so they now have a coat of Danish Oil on top of them. So they will have to wait for another time. Another time when Tilly is not around.

With most of the wood looking better it was time to head back to Scarborough. Mick will return by train to do the oil change and to fit some temperature sensors in the engine bay (when they arrive). We picked up a few bits we’d noticed we could do with at the house, Micks waterproof coat and a couple of cereal bowls, as living with three was getting annoying.

Plenty of tractors about

Then back over the Wolds, such a pretty drive with no motorways. The farmers were busy in the fields, the earth being turned over ready for the next crop to go in. Pheasants and deer showing themselves in the grass verges.

I can’t sit still for my photo!

Back in Scarborough Tilly was waiting for us and we spent the evening celebrating her birthday. She has a new mouse on a stick which kept her amused for ages and 40 meters of sisal string to restring her scratch post, what a lucky girl.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 hire car, 7 windows sanded, 7 windows oiled, 5 pairs of curtains down for tlc, 24 volt bilge pump, 2 big bowls of soup, 0.5 mission complete, 1 sunny day not to be cruising, 40 meters 6mm 3 ply sisal string, 5 years old today (ish) or 36 in cat years, 1 boating blogger trying to wean herself off taking photos of Everything!

Where were we

2019 On the Kennet and Avon Canal, I was near Plymouth painting Panto LINK

2018 On the South Oxford Canal, Allen’s Lock to Dashwood Lock LINK

2017 On the Trent and Mersey Canal, Red Bull. LINK

2016 On the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, Victoria Quay to Mexborough LINK

2015 On the Erewash Canal, Sandiacre to Langley Mill. LINK

2014 Trent and Mersey to Staffs and Worcester Canals, Stone to Tixall Wide. LINK

4 thoughts on “Frank Screws and Catch Up 20/9 to 1/10

  1. Anonymous

    It was lovely to see your blog back this morning I really enjoyed reading over a morning coffee. It sounds like you have a big job with the house it must be strange to be back on dry land. I loved your walk I have done that many times it was good to see Scarborough again. Take care x

    1. pipandmick

      Thank you. We do have lots to do, all those years ago when we bought next door little did we know that we’d be spending 6 years(plus) afloat in a sixth of the space. It does however mean that Tilly is being kept occupied.
      Sadly the weather this weekend might stop us from venturing far, I had planned a walk round marine drive, but saying hello to Freddie can wait for another week.
      Take care too x

  2. stevethewargamer

    Blimey you’re busy.. makes me feel tired having finished reading it!
    Oxalic is a wonder material… I have some to get some stains off Sparrow as we speak.. I’ll try the Bar Keepers as well as it may be an easier way to apply it (I usually use a spray bottle which just dribbles down after applying)…oxalic is the main ingredient apparently..

Comments are closed.