It’s A Small World, Twenty Years Apart. 23rd April


An early alarm again with the hope of getting two coats of paint on the gunnels today, one before it got too hot the other as things start to cool down again.

All masked off

We didn’t quite manage to get to Goole as early as we’d hoped but I was soon masking off the cratch press studs at the bow and the tunnel band curves at the stern. When I stocked up on red paint I also ordered some posh masking tape, low tack, I used this around the curves and then backed it up with some wider masking tape I’ve been using to protect carpets in the house when painting skirting boards.

Stirring selfie

A new tin of Epifanes black multiforte was opened up and given a big stir. This paint isn’t as hard as other paints that people use on their gunnels, but if you are having a tussle with your gunnels, they are likely to get marked anyway, so I use this paint as it’s quick drying 6hours between coats and easy to touch up on a regular basis. Well I’ve not got round to doing it regularly yet, but that was the aim. I also like the satin finish.

All ready to go

I decanted an amount I hoped would do one gunnel into a pot with a lid, easier to carry round and saves the main tin of paint from too much exposure. With a brush and foam roller I started at the port side bow and worked my way backwards. This is the side that gets the sun for most of the day, so I wanted to get a coat on before it warmed up which would mean the paint going off too quickly.

I then moved round to the starboard side and worked backwards again, followed by a coat on the rubbing strake between the tunnel bands.

Free-handed cream

I removed the masking tape from the curves, from here on the tunnel bands would be painted free hand.

When Oleanna was built I decided that we would only need three colours for touch ups, Blue, Ruby Red and Cream. So the tunnel bands are painted in the same colours. The cream went on okay, maybe a bit of conditioner would have given me more time where the sun was hitting it, but once painted it looked like a good finish.

Red done

Then the red. I cut in around the curves, top and bottom and worked my way across to the shady side. It was going on beautifully, but I could already tell it would need more than one coat! My plan to finish painting today thwarted.

Now I could remove the masking tape from over the exhaust, so that Mick could run the engine after lunch.

Mick had spent the morning finishing off his RYA VHF radio course. There is a test to pass before being able to sit the final one to one exam. He was sitting smugly having passed with 100%! He just needs a test centre to be open now to sit the exam.

We got chilly toes as we had lunch, no shoes allowed inside until the oil has had time to harden off. Then Mick was banished outside, anything we might want later put on the bed, a final sweep through the cabin and a second coat of oil applied to the floor. On Sunday I may give the Houdini shelf a coat to smarten it up before the second mate moves back on board.

Floor done

By now the first coat of Epifanes was very dry, so I worked my way back round the boat with the second coat. This went on a lot quicker and a gentle breeze meant the sunny side wasn’t too hot.

Second coat

Painting in the rubbing strake at the stern I realised I’d be needing to put a second coat on both the cream and red as the occasional stray brush hair found it’s way onto the cream.

A lady who’s been in the dry dock this week popped over to ask how I’d done the curves on my tunnel bands. I just followed what was already there. She’s wanting them on her boat, which hasn’t had them before. I suggested using a plate or pan lid that fitted the space to mark out the shape. She was impressed with mine suggesting I was a professional.

What a shiny bum

Whilst working down the starboard side I realised that there was dust in the air. This was coming from the chap working on his boat next to ours. He’s been very chatty as he’s been working away grinding and welding his labour of love. I couldn’t stop what I was doing, so hoped it would be okay. The chap suddenly stopped realised I was painting and he might be creating dust, so he kindly stopped and went to do something else.

With two more foot to go I somehow managed to flick my roller tray over, an extra jot of paint just added to get me to the end! The roller must have stuck to the tray. Damn!! All down the ladders and my dungarees!


I scooped much of it back up and finished painting. So much for being called a pro!

Time to remove the masking tape at the bow. the posh stuff came off a treat, but the wide B&Q stuff had welded itself on. It took forever to peel it off, when I say peel it was more like scrape it off! Have to admit I gave up before it was all removed, I’ll have a go at it with the sticky stuff remover.

Bloomin cheap tape!

A careful tidy up was needed to avoid black paint getting everywhere. The ladders have been going in the car each day, but today they would get stashed under the pram cover. My dungarees were folded carefully then laid out to dry off. A shame they were left on the boat as I could do with them to finish the bathroom in the house!

Whilst we tidied away we chatted with the chap next door. Each afternoon he’s been there beavering away at his old wooden topped narrowboat with the assistance of a friend. His friend is 85, he himself 75. Mick asked if he was from Crockey Hill (painted on the side of his boat) a small village to the south of York. He was. We then mentioned that I was from Fulford only a few miles away.

Shiny and satin

It turns out that he went to the same school as I did, although twenty years before my time the kids went up to age 15, only 11 for me. We compared notes. It turns out we had some of the same teachers. Mrs Rigby, formidable but great if you were upset about anything. I then mentioned Mrs Thomas, without prompting he recounted a tale of when he was in her class he wore hobnail boots that collected snow on his way to school. They would then leave a puddle of water under his chair. Mrs Thomas would then spank him as she thought he’d wet himself. When I was in her year I spent a lot of that year not feeling very well and managing to avoid school as much as possible. She is the reason I falter at spelling certain words and I missed learning the rules for there, their and they’re. An evil woman.

Dusty dusty cabin sides

But blimey, our neighbour for the week, twenty years my senior went to the same school. A small world indeed.

0 ,locks, 0 miles, 2 coats black, 1st coat tunnels bands, 2nd coat oil, 100% Yay!!! 1 messy pro painter, 20 years, 1 school, 1 teacher, 1 crap roll of tape.

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