Better than Drugs??

thought for the day -

Not sinking is better than sinking, and not sinking is way way better than drugs. Earned my gold badge of old wooden boat ownership today. We've been taking a bit of water, had thought with all the summery stormyness it was coming in through the 'sunroof'... only, it ain't rained for a couple of days, previous pump outs have been a bit half baked, get enough water out to not get wet feet basically, so today, get the big pump right down on the hog amidships and get it all out. so down the water goes... and then there was a noise. not a nice noise, not a comforting relaxing sort of noise. Not even a gentle gurgling watery sort of noise, mind you they are only good when heard from outside a boat. this was a definate hi-pressure squirty leaky inside of a boat sort of noise.

so me, No 2 and the ships cat, whose perched atop the space where the stairs used to be, knocked the pumps off and sat in silence and listened a bit

There was definite a consenus that it was a high pressure watery squirty sorta noise, which only went away when the bilges was half full again

Not good. conclusion: we've got a leak

the last remnants of vaguely niceness, the lovely mahogany saloon floor was gone in under 3 minutes. next more fecking ballast, then there it was, the squirty watery not nice noise maker

Bugger. what followed would have made interesting viewing. An hour of leaping about, gathering together of repairing things interspersed with a few small burst of electrocution type noise from yours truly just to add to the groovy vibe that was going down, which included No 2 betraying his dutch ancestory, finger in a dyke stylee (fingering a dyke???)

A leak, and not a small one. one of the seams, right down on the garboard strake has gone, possibly caused by, if not then helped along by, a stupidly large block of iron resting on the seam

now, at this point everything was under control. the squirty thing squirted water in, the pumps pumped it out, a nice equilibrium. Then I shifted the lump of iron, and the balance of power definately shifted in favour of the squirty thing. Nothing to stop it now from giving it large

no more pumps to bring into play so it was down elbow deep in the rapidly rising bilges, half a yard of caulking cotton that I'd squeezed through with white lead and linseed oil, my skinny little finger poking it hither and thither

to make matters worse the leak started under a frame, the first futtock actually. I've waited all year for a chance to mention futtocks BTW, one of my all time favourite words.

but with a bit of screwdrivery pokeyness, (ever had your futtocks poked??) the leak slowed, No 2 bailed with an empty bovril cup, the pumps took over then slowly the bilges emptied again. more cotton, caulking irons, more white lead and the thing was plugged. Been thinking about marketing white lead as a cure for nail biting, poke some under your fingernails, bite them and you might die! washing the stuff off my mitts the thought also occurred that it would be a really effective coffee whitener, although there may be side effects

the electrocution came into play. with the extra pumps that were getting thrown in, no time for nice connections, bare the wires and twist them together, and even though only 24Volts, with hands wet with salty water, and feet immersed in salty bilge water it tickled a bit!, and of course bare wire connections keep getting caught in the tangle of hoses and parting, needing to be re-made. At one point I considered fitting sacrificial anodes to my feet, to see if would hurt less

with empty bilges and no sign of more coming in, No2 declared the 'Not Sinking Endorphin's which had now kicked in to be better than drugs (probably) and the ships cat relinquished his vice like grip on the pontoon and his exit route out of the wheelhouse.

*Don't Panic*

Fantastic way to spend a Friday evening, good company, warm ginger beer and a water feature to make you want to go to the toilet - for a poo! I've been a bit unwell recently and the doc has recommended I take things easy, so a bit of pootling was in order, ended up giving mouth to mouth to a large wooden boat and waiting for it to flatline. I was very good at the lying down again, with my hand under water this time. Managed to push a pirate bandana (complete with skull and crossbones) into the wee hole for a bit of temporary relief! Stiffled the odd guffaw as Captain Electric did hairy lightbulb impressions, a pleasant diversion from his current(geddit)obsession with the history, physiology and mating habits of nails. Once the hole was filled back in with wool and plasticine I turned to the skipper and asked what on Earth I could have done if he hadn't been there.

"Remove all of my tools onto the pontoon and then do the right thing - stand on the prow and go down with the ship"

He did add that as it was low tide, I would have ended up ankle deep and have had to continue saluting until high tide, which may or may not have reached my eyebrows!

Big thanks to Fred the boat builder for his calmly considered advice in the midst of a bit of a flap, much appreciated.

Aren't Nails Great!

they're spikey, you can hit em really hard with a hammer and they hold stuff together, and in our case seem to be everlasting. The deck saga is on going, and one surprise, despite the non-woody consistency of some of the wood, the nails are in remarkable condition, especially given their OAP status, so much so that the majority will be getting mashed back in again, saving a few bob given the price of boat nails theses days

boat nails from a converted fishing trawler
bit of surface rust, but given where they've been living, they are in remarkably good fettle

the added bonus of the wood having the consistency of old tea bags in places means a lot of them pulled out as straight as they went in.

So there was this plan, wait till summer, rip the deck off, be nice and settled and all that. A good plan except I chose wimbledon fortnight to start, during which, as everyone knows it will lash down in tropical monsoon proportions at the drop of a hat - not the best time to have an open decked trawler conversion. Boats are in their boaty nature a bit sorta funnel shaped. The net result is, they are very good at catching lots of the wet stuff and channeling it to one particular location, that being inside the boat at present. Got there this morning to discover No 2's wellies floating around the... well, can't really use the word 'saloon' anymore... floating around the bit that has less ex-boat stored in it than the rest of the thing

Oops! took the bilge pumps 4 hours to clear it! Have treble tarped the hole tonight though to be on the safe side, and fitted float switches to everything including the kettle. So back to the job in hand, the deck. A wee while, and many many posts ago, I boldly predicted, just a scarfe in one beam and jobs done. Had to revise that to: just replace every beam, several frame heads, most of the knees, large sections of beamshelf, most of the covering boards and almost all the deck.

the deck ironically is in pretty good condition mostly, but rather than try de-nail the boards, lift them clean them re-dress the edges and put them down again its probably less painful to just stick new boards down, as bits of the deck have been removed it became pretty clear that best bet is to get rid of everything thats a bit iffy, and the beam ends are definitely a bit iffy, so iffy in fact its only the super dooper everlasting nails through the deck boards that have been supporting them at all

MFV conversion deckbeams, knees and beamshelf repairs
Once I'd cut through the deck either side of the beam it all sort of fell down, the beam ends have the look and feel of old soggy teabags

back to nails though, the whole thing is held together with "Uber Nails" More javelin than nail, the biggest are 14" long and over half an inch thick, and driven diagonally through the knee, through the beam end and into the frame, and despite the rotten beams, these lads took some serious welly to get em out

Last couple of days had my chum Mark along for the punishment, for both his joinery skills and comedy input as he discovered the week spot in the unsupported deck and fell through, which is not all bad though, as its a bit less timber to saw through

Motor Fifie Fishing boat conversion deck repairs
Note: new escape hatch formed at the bottom as Mark (not me, the other one, no not No 3, the 'New' other one - keep up!) crashed faster than an MP's credibility

so there we go, 3 of the biggest deckbeams in, the fourth and final one is cut and waiting to be dropped in once the 'escape hatch' has been extended!

some big slabs of oak sat ready for the knees to be cut, although, killed one chainsaw chain and one circular saw blade so far, replacements needed first, then its back on with the deck, which might even be enjoyable

deck repairs for (absolute) beginners - A trilogy in 2 parts (part 4)

for those of you that missed parts 2 and 3, they'll be appearing next week, as Pansy makes an appearance in Ambridge, where Joe Grundy is revealed as the long lost nephew of Pablo Escobar, and is caught smuggling a boat load of comedy shaped turnips into Borchester.

Prior to that though, a bit more work progressed in a generally progressive fashion today, beamshelf repaired (needing a scarfe? in this weather?? well thats old ladies for you), even almost sorta matched up the wee bit of detailing on the bottom of the new bit with the old bit

Scarfe repair wooden trawler houseboat conversion
screwed, glued and muckle big nails just for good measure (aren't nails great!)

so then on to the bendy but not bit of oak, cut to length, a few hundred thousand funny angles measured, guessed, re-measured, marked out, rubbed out, marked again, and then sod it chop it off with the chainsaw, I'll trim it up with a chisel, and finally dropped into its almost final resting place

A little know fact but oak beams have the cunning ability to quadruple their apparent weight when you drop them on your fingers, its true, honest

deckbeam, cut to length, tweaked, shaved, honed and trimmed and dropped into place ready for knees and fastenings (aren't nails great!)

deck repairs for (absolute) beginners - A trilogy in 2 parts

One of things I love about big old fishing boats, trawlers, MFV's call em what you will is the relative lack of finesse in their construction. yachts, pleasure boats and the like tend to be scientifically crafted, every piece a perfect match for its neighbours. The muckle big lump of wood and some nails approach is much more my cup of tea, So here we go, deckbeam replacement for the novice!

first job and possibly the hardest is to find a lovely big bit of wood, and hack at it for a bit so it looks bendy but isn't:

Oak deck beam repair converted MFV
bendy but not!, sweep hacked/gouged/chiselled/planed into an oak beam

next take your chainsaw and do something that feels oh so wrong!, not just a bit not right, but really really wrong... plunge chainsaw one side of the dodgy beam and cut along, repeat the other side of the beam as well

repairing the deck of a wooden trawler conversion fishing boat
Hmmnn.... looks a long way down, and still feels wrong!

view from below, no deck, no beam, just beamshelf and knees left to attack

next up, rip out old lodge knee, or in our case, allow mass of soggy wood formerly know as a knee to fall out, the starboard side one fell out any way, the port side one is sound (and as yet un photographed), the beamshelf was equally manky so chopped a lump of that out as well, plan is to scarfe a new bit in

lodging knee and deck repairs to fishing boat conversion
nee knees as the say in this neck of the woods - not bit of blue rope, lashed in as a makeshift repair in peterhead - get your priorities right aka - its all going horribly wrong

frame head repair to scottish trawler conversion
and the dodgy bit of beam shelf cut away, a good thing and a bad thing, good beacause it will look better afterwards, bad because the frame head fell off as well

ok so we need something to nail/bolt the deck beam to so need to grab a big bit of wood, preferably oak, completely do your head in cutting a funny 27 different angle scarfe to match the originals scarfes that hold the frame together....( ok, I realise that a piece of wood with 4 corners can't have that many angles, I maybe exaggerated (a bit), there were only 15 angles). none of these angles are normal by the way (ie 45 or 90 degrees), get another bit of oak hack to shape with whatever tools come to hand, and put it all together

oak frame repair Zulu Fifie conversion restoration
et voila, some new stuff in with the old

before sticking the bits together, lashed loads and loads of Stockholm Tar on the 'stump' just in case any nasties are left lurking in it. Was half hoping some uber sexy horsey type would wander past, get a whiff of it and think "I say, there's a man that smells like he knows how to give a filly a good time" luckily I can run fast so John McCrirrick couldn't catch me (an explanation of that joke is available on ceefax page 911)

so there you go, next up drop the new deck beam in, luckily the knees/frames are in fine fettle on t'other side, so it'll be pretty much a case of patch the beamshelf bit up I chopped out, drop new beam in and stick some giant comedy sized bolts through, oh yeah and make some new knees as well

How much wood can a wood chuck chuck?

few hours in the sun, even had me shirt off much to the distain of the odd yottie that passed by, hacking away with adze, chisel and plane, got 2 deck beams done. :D, Sweep of the deck roughly hacked out with the adze, cleaned up a bit with a 2" wood chisel, the squared and finished with a plane. There's a lot to be said for hand tools, apart from the enjoyment of the physical labour, not sure I'd have achieved quite as good a result with power tools

just need to cut some big holes in the deck to drop into place now 88|

Oak deck beams for MFV conversion
Converting oak beams for Motor Fifie restoration

What no power tools?

Started to attack one of the new beams today, but.... is it just me or has any one else ever found themselves looking lovingly at a piece of timber and though it too nice to cut up, and had a few pangs of guilt??

hey ho though, hope my woodworking skill are good enough to do it justice I suppose

Now, here's the thing, me and power tools, we've not been getting on as well as we might of late - the chabble saw eating my finger was a bit unpleasant, but its ok now as I've grown another one. Actually, The bairn asked me this morning why, if you get fish fingers which are made from bits of fish, are sausages, which are made from bits of pig, not called pig fingers??
but I digress....

So, back to oak. Traditional boats and traditional materials, must surely call for traditional tools, so out from the back of the shed came the adze, was my great grandad's, who built a boat or three by all accounts, so it should know what its doing and be able to tame my hamfistedness. and sure enough, a few hours later the first deck beam is taking shape and I've still got 10 fingers, although I haven't taken my shoes off yet so I'm not certain on having the full compliment of toes still

quite chuffed with me bitself, balanced on top of big bit of tree hacking away at a bit of 100 year old oak, from the same place the original oak that made the panser 70 years ago came from. bit of fine tuning with a big chisel, then a bit of planing and I think it looks ok so far... and not a power tool in sight, the sweep of the deck curving gracefully across the beam...

replacement oak deck beam for a trawler conversion
had a few passers by stop and stare for a while today at the nutter with the adze. I'd like to think they were marvelling at the traditional skills being kept alive, more likely just laughing at the strange creature trying to chop his toes off whilst wearing a beret

decided I'm gonna buy myself a clay pipe to smoke whilst swinging the adze from now on so as to look like I really know what I'm doing

Got Wood

After much trawling (geddit?) we found some 'ickle (!) bits of wood for the old girl.

So pretty much a year on, this old fishing boat is pretty much 'bottomed'. nothing left to throw away hardly, so here starts the putty back together phase I guess. Just had a look back through some old posts, all archived away out of embarrassments sight, but worth a look, the voyage home still raises a smile: The Pansy Genesis - Where it all started

So on to new stuff, and specifically some rather hefty bits of tree that arrived yesterday, and just as an extra test to the combined ingenuity of passers by that were roped in (literally) and plied with beer, it was bang on low tide. which means the pontoon is some 5 or 6 metres below the walkway. 16' long beams, 8" by 5" aren't the most portable things in the world.

First suggestion was just throw them over the side then fish them out of the water, luckily I spotted the potential of 200cwt of oak torpedo hurtling across the marina and getting intimate with some shiny white plastic thing, so that was rejected

after a bit of umming an ahhing,a few visitors were press ganged into service, some ropes whipped off the boat, wrapped around the barrier a couple of times and the beams lowered on ropes down to the pontoon - The Friction and Gravity method - It worked well, only Keith's broken toes to stop it being heralded a complete success

The press gangee's then dutifully carried the demi-trees along and stuck em on deck for us

Problem now is, I'm already rather fond of them (the woody bits, not the press gangee's, although I'm quite fond of them too, obviously not in any dodgy have my babies kinda way, just a bunch of nice blokes)

100 year old scottish oak (I counted the rings) felled not far from where the originally timbers that make up the Panser were felled. It just looks lovely, I might possibly have cuddled one bit when no-one was looking, but there they are, lying across the deck, seems a shame to chop em into shape.

So, got wood, got a chainsaw, got nails, got sticky stuff and tools - what's the worst that can happen

Oak beams for trawler conversion repairs
behold!! rot free wood! Introducing the panser to here new deck beams, frame heads, knees and beamshelf

A 'Big Up' to Henry here for selecting and milling the timber for us, and loading it on the wagon, First class job. Although I bet he cheated and used one of them forky lifty things :>>

Oak beams for mfv conversion deck repairs
not a shake, knot or crack in sight, Next week though I'll probably be offering lots of blunt tools for sale

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!

I've found my niche and it is fire! Maybe we should have bought a disused cornfield and tried to convert that into a boat! Over the last three weeks I have managed to burn off at least 473 square units of paint with this gun type thing. I thought the fact that it it burst into flames every 40 seconds was some kind of safety device to stop a man working too hard, I've since found out that it was due to the blowtorch being "knacked", skipper fixed that with some tape soaked in Polar Bear tears. The whole process has been great as the area I have been working on requires me to either -

a. Sit on the pontoon with my little bare trotters in the water, happily burning and 'a stripping or ..........

b. Actually lying down and getting the job done or ........

c. Do a bit of kneeling, but I've got my special forces knee pads to make sure no-one shoots my patellas off or I get hard skin on an area of my body as yet untouched by blemishes, liver spots or mange.

I've been wearing gloves as well which are great, although I still haven't got used to them properly, as previously mentioned the torch still explodes into a fire ball every now and again and I've learned that blowing furiously at it doesn't work. I was always taught that blowing on fire puts it out! I have a routine now, turn off the knob thing, take glove off, get lighter out of pocket, put glove back on, remember lighter is still in hand, take glove off again and put lighter in other hand, put glove back on, try lighter which doesn't work, take glove off, shake lighter, put glove back on, realise lighter is in glove, repeat above and fire up the torch. I'm learning soo much working on The Panser that I feel it's only a matter of time before I know everything in the world.

The most satisfying thing is seeing Skippy's fatherly reactions to my naive fumblings. The way he tuts and rips little bits of hair from under his berry is very encouraging, he hasn't punched me in the mouth yet which means I'm great. (Deck beams, gear box change and deck relaying may tip the lad over the edge though)

The Belly of the Beast

Not been near for a month, what with one thing and another, and a wee spot of R&R, so had a splurge today (well someone had to!)

forgot the proper camera (again) so more pics from the Why Aye Phone. Managed to chop the remaining bits n bobs up with the 'chabble saw' and still have all me fingers, did some stuff with one of those things known as a sweeping brush, juggled some ballast, move half a ton here, half a tone there, the old girls seems on a pretty even keel now, and then got the big burny thing going and managed to set nothing on fire, not even myself or the natty beret I was wearing to keep the sun off me knappa

conversion of a fishing boat hold
the belly of the beast, and yes, that is daylight peeking through where once there was other some of that caulking stuff!

Fish room conversion Motor Fifie Herring Drifter
Be a bit more daylight in there soon, when I attmept to re-enact the texas chainsaw massacre with a cast of one and some taramasalata

Scottish MFV conversion hull stripping ready for conversion
Is there such a thing as un-painting?? If so I un painted this bit today

Motor Fifie Hull Planking stripped for painting as part of conversion
looks woody to me, not bad considering its 70 years and relative neglect

*Om ne Patre Deus bing bang bong*

Where's everything gone? I've got nowt to move about! I hate you sometimes skipper. I'll set fire to the other side tomorrow although me mam reckons the state I'm in I'll not be up till Sunday. Aye we'll see who's right ya bastards ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz (Belch) ZZZzzzzzzzzzz

Why the Scots Hate the English!

a busmans holiday? some electrickery and gizmos for someone else's boat..... has turned into a search for new, more descriptive, collective nouns

it all started on the long ferry ride out to Barra from Oban, all my nightmares come at once, think I'd rather have a large spikey camera shoved up my arse than have to endure that again, oh, hang on a mo, I did that the week before I set off

so, whats the beef. Well, despite being first in the queue for the ferry, we end up as the last car on. No worries though, doesn't make a difference does it?

on this occasion yes, first new collective noun goes to the hinderance of guardian readers. Faster than a German family in benidorm they were up the stairs and into the nice 'observation lounge' to lay out their towels, sorry, guardian saturday supplements on all the seats, so by the time we sauntered politely up to look for a seat there was nowt doing. A hinderence of guardian readers is actually a subset of another collective noun - a 'class war of middle classes'. These are very easy to spot when they are holidaying, the standard uniform tends towards short cargo pants, preferably worn 2 sizes small. these are worn regardless of the fact it is only 8 degrees centigrade and is lashing with rain and a 40mph wind. these pants must also sport a suitable recognisable and expensive brand name. A top this will be 2 possibilities, the short sleeved polo shirt (with upturned collar) or the rugby shirt (with upturned collar). footwear will be sandals for outdoorsy types, preferably with a prominent berghaus logo. these are often worn with socks, the racier type may opt to go sockless. preferred mode of transport for the holidaying hindrance is usually the volvo estate

ok then lets try one of the other lounges... whence we happen upon our next new collective - the plague of cub scouts. In our case this particular plague was closely affiliated to the hinderance and the class war up stairs. 30 or so, very spoilt, very immature vay vay porsh 8 and 9 year old boys, off to the outer hebrides for a week for some dib dib dibbing with Akela. Little bastards every one of them, so we have a lounge, with 25 rows of 3 seats, a capacity of 75. so Akela puts 2 of the little darlings on every row. Akela and his care in the community assistants take a few more rows and pile all there goods and chatels on the remaining rows - the baggage racks were empty

ok, try the lounge on the starboard side. Collective noun number 3 - a picket line of twitchers. they hated us - we had a dog - we hated them more, and that hatred has grown every day with been on the island, but more on that later. So the twitchers, adapt a similar policy tot he little darlings from Chipping Sodbury Scout pack, lay as much of your belongings where ever you can to discourage the hoi polloi from getting anywhere near sitting down

that leave's the restaurant, but no doggies allowed in there.

so the 6 hour ferry crossing was spent, standing up, walking around or sitting on the baggage racks. Walking round was essential to stave off the desire to throw the woggle clad ones over board, who had just realised they had a great big new play thing to run around for 6 hours, shrieking and screaming at each other.

standing didn't work either, as one of the few places to stand was out on deck, which was A: fecking cold, and B: entirely the property of the picket line of twitchers. as soon as you thought ok, I can bear the cold, I'll just stand here where its quiet, word would miraculously filter down to the picket line of twitchers who would appear on mass to look at another fecking seagull, clad in more camo than the Duke of Edinburghs Ghillie, but with less interpersonal skills, they barge past, and line the rails shoulder to shoulder. "Its a lesser spotted pied skua bat" "its a wailing fusticle grebe" etc etc and then"actually its just a seagull" where upon they would all barge past once more to the lounge to double check it was actually a fecking seagull.

why camo for god's sake?? your on a 10.000 ton ferry, in the middle of the sea???

but hey ho, lets try sitting on the baggage racks for a bit again. A few minutes peace now and again until the woggleites re-appeared. the new game was now hide and seek. "Are you going to be staying here?", one of them had the temerity to ask. "We want to use this space"

"We want to sit down but there's as much chance of that as me not going to the chokey for trowing you overboard, now feck off"

so much for scouting and doing good to others. the crew complained about them, the passengers complained about them, Akela just looked blank and adjusted himself in his unfeasibly tight shorts

And the nightmare Dragged on.

And on.

One one of my little wanders I thought I'd have another trip up to visit the hinderance. Had to leave there though, on account of overhearing a discussion that was going on betwixt 2 of the more chinless of the species. the topic was the hot topic of the week. Expenses. "I think its disgraceful how people should be allowed to see the minute details of MP's expenses. Most of them won't even understand what it means"

Maybe he was an MP? He was certainly a bit of a member. I had to leave

Maybe a trip to the bar? It says no dogs on the door, but Im past caring

so in I goes and waits dutifully at the bar. In comes one of the hindrance, blue polo shirt (with upturned collar - no socks) a pound coin gripped firmly between thumb and forefinger, straight past me, and raps on the bar with said pound coin. "I say, I say....." (obviously you say, no bugger else would have the effrontery)

"I say, what sort of tonic do you have?"

"The sort that comes in a tin" (priceless!)

"Oh (pauses to digest this earth shattering statement) I suppose I'll have a gin and tonic then"

jesus mate, "suppose" don't force yourself. Lisa, (the girl behind the bar) bless here, duly obliges, smiles and takes his money, which took a while, for him to extract, coin by coin from his girly purse, obviously unfamiliar with having to deal with small change. The bastards can put an 89p claim in for a bathplug on expenses though

"There's nee wonder you scots hate us English" was all I could think to say as I ordered a Guinness.

"not of all you, just most of you" I'll drink to that

and on and on it went. the one highlight, was the sight of a woggleite, having stuffed his fat posh face with sweets for 3 hours and ran around like a someone who's nana had substituted his smarties for amphetamines, succumbed to the increasing swell in the minch and launched his lunch and several kilos of E numbers down his shirt and onto his bag. Suffer ya wee shite!

but eventually journeys end, the hindrance, the class war, the picket line and the plague all fought to get down the the vehicle deck first.

although just before disembarking a woggleite approached. "excuse me, your son called me an idiot"

options were

1: call son over and chastise him, the correct term to use should of been a fucking idiot


2: call son over and chastise him - punch first insult later


3: inform woggleite he shouldn't be behaving like an idiot then should he

Ok, I admit it I took option 3

We were last on so bugger it, I'm having another pint, and this time I'm going to sit in a warm comfy seat to drink it, I'll get off in 10 minutes! So here's to the Crew of "The Clansman" they don't pay you enough

so that was 2 days ago. and I thought all my collective noun troubles were a thing of the past

but no, a new one. An Annoyance of corncrakes. The political machinations and their implications on the working man in these parts put aside for a moment. they're an noisy bunch of bastards. The machair outside the window is full of the buggers. and that can only mean one thing. and sure as eggs is eggs, at 7am this morning, a picket line of twitchers, stood outside my bedroom window, marvelling at the sodding things

Easy solution. I let the dog out. that shifted em. but only to the other side of the field. 10am, they were still there. time to play fetch with the doggy in the middle of the corncrakesville

the picket line were none too impressed.

*MC Corncrake takes over the Mic - SCCCCCRrrreeeeeee (or is that a snipe?)*

Just to put your mind at rest Skippler a couple of updates from the mainland.

Bill Oddie has been dropped from "SnailWatch" - fantastic news. A press release has alluded to the fact that he is suffering from depression, which I think is excellent! The grapevine suggests the humourless pygmy was binned on account of his pathological whining and constant innapropriate sexual innuendos, on a show which is all about badgers, moles and the odd owl.

Newcastle United FC suffered a minor blip on their hunt for European football.

Pansy is fine, nothing to worry about - I've deliberately steered clear so as not to cause trouble. She might be a bit full of water as I'm not sure whether I put the plug back in last time. Might be down soon to burn some paint off, may even replace the knees, deckbeams and sternums before you get back as a bit of a surprise. I've bought 14 tonnes of Fimo, this man I met on the way back from a pub in Shields reckons it's exactly the same as wood but you don't have to cut it.

Safety Issues


Skip may be along soon with a bit of an update on the chabble saw - when I say soon, one has to take into account the fact that his typing speed may be 10% slower. (There's pictures and everything XX()

This comes hot on the heels of the: "Sawing off of the knee cap with an angle grinder" blip; "Spark in the eye", "Mell hammer thumb" and "Down the hatch" glitches and the minor but nevertheless hilarious "Hopping around on deck like a silent film comedian with a plank nailed to the bottom of the foot" escapade. You see a pattern forming here?

I knew it would end in tears, it's a factual statistically truth that if you don't do anything you stand less risk of hurting yourself. (Yes there may be times when this maxim may not hold true, like if you've been beamed back down to Earth in your underpants onto the middle of the M25, and extreme sloth will kill you - eventually!) but I do believe the fact that I can still count to ten is down to the Skyper doing to much while I am saving myself for a late (and safe) slovenly power walk up to the finish line.

Legal note

The last shift adhered to all Heath and Safety legislation by making sure that everything you could see by peering through the wheelhouse was all stowed away and left in an orderly manner. We had no visual contact with the death trap we left down below.

/** ahem **/

counting up to ten is no big deal, out where I live there's folks that can count up 12, 14 or even 16, depending on what generation they are from and wether the include toes or not

So yes a minor mishap, and apologies to me dear departed nan, who said it's rude to point but I can't do much else at present, could of been worse, could of been the whole finger... Dave Allen did alright, and still smoked plenty of tabs.

I do have a sneaking suspicion that it was all a ploy by number 2 to get me 2 slow down and leave a load of stuff for him to do: the cleverly, and rather loosely place piles of timber surrounding the table saw, the fact that one of the legs of the saw was hovering over a hole in the floor, and the fact that not being all bad, he left the first aid kit in plain view in the wheelhouse, and had even gone to the extent of opening all the big bags in the box to provide easy access. Although that may just have to pre-infect all the dressings with swine flu

It did sting a bit, but the liberal application of bog roll and gaffa tape and I still managed to shift half a ton of ballast out of the bilges, up on deck then along the pontoons into the back of a Scotsmans car.

converted finger!
Its only a scratch, although there's the odd shard of bone in there somewhere

Less is More

Not sure who said that first - possibly someone who was just offered a cold cup of sick to drink :no:

Most of what we originally took ownership of, has now been burned, taken to the recycling plant in Byker, given away as Easter presents or possibly fallen overboard during a bit of a freak storm a while back. The "Cathedral like beauty" of the space in the bow which contrasted cheekily with the interesting and vaguely usable interior has now been gazzumped by Pansy's bowels taking on a "Jonah" like vibe. It's like walking into the belly of an old wooden whale - I swear I heard a belch while we were in the wheelhouse :-/

Me and the ships's cat had a bit of a prowl around today and did not hurt ourselves at all. I impaled my head on a spike, Smokey didn't sever any archeries (Couldn't get the lid back on the first aid box Skipper, sorry. You know how it is though, we opened it up, emptied the contents, didn't find what we needed, put everything back in and there was at least 4 X as much stuff needing to be squeezed back. We managed but I quipped to Snuggles that the next time you need the first aid box you'll pop the catches and the lid will spring open and have your eye out).

We have a new tool on board - Skippo reckons it's a table saw! He bought it at some clearance sale. I agree, he's been down to Shepperton Studios and brought back one of those machines they strap secret agents to, to saw them up the goolies with 88|

Myself and Tigger were quite sober today so decided not to go anywhere near the rascal. We did put tape round the end of some wires to stop them causing explosions. I suggested we kept them in a bucket of water to negate the possibilty of electrocution or fire but we couldn't find any. Buckets that is - the last one's now a cowl for the burny burny thing Skippar, remember to remove before setting Satan's Stove alight!

not banned, just not a member or allowed in anymore!

An interesting first for me today, been doing this internet malarkey, nearly as long as I've been doing this boating malarkey, 20 years man and boy as they say (bit longer with the wet things). But I've been defiled and finally lost my 'never been banned' cherry (was it good for you too!!). Joined a small forum a couple of weeks back. Should I do them the service of a link from a high google ranking boaty site to another?? (answers on a postcard)

Seemed like an interesting place though, and one with good potential, or so I thought, so I gets stuck in, offered a few potential solutions and thoughts to a repair problem someone had, based on past experiences and all that. Big mistake. I wasn't even in full gobshite mode, in fact I hadn't even warmed up, and being the new boy was on my bestest behaviour and wore clean pants at all times

So after getting shot down in flames (familiar territory, so no big deal). I suggested they should just ignore everything I'd said. clearly a heinous crime, and thusly I was banned - "petulance in my recent missives" Well apparently I wasn't banned - I'm "just not a member anymore". Hadn't even got my post count into double figures :'(:'(

So whats wrong with redecking a boat with conkers and butterflies wings anyway

*Moderator creeps over the side, fingers like grappling hooks*

Nivva been banned - my arse, and if you've genuinely nivva been banned from a foraye then - whassamaddawichoo.

Nothing to go on...

So the surveyor man, came & went - we wish him a speedy recovery. Actually, it all went well really, didn't find much we hadn't already discovered, his nods as good as a wink as far as the insurance wallers are concerned so onwards and upwards.

Next up on the list of must have visitors was Fred Crowell, raconteur and wooden genius - no, he's not made of wood, although one of his legs might be, anyhoo, a prodding an' a poking Mk2 gets under way, accompanied by frantic note taking. Its entirely possible we might even have something resembling a plan now, which surely can't be right, although this plan, it would appear does involve the use of a chainsaw, so think I might have to number No2's fingers, although I may be doing him a disservice there, as last week apparently, he made the circular saw work finally (you have to press the button on the handle B) ) and managed to chop some wood in to stove sized lumps. So... the chainsaw..., we need to replace some deck beams, and after a bit of discussion, the advice was 'remove old deck with chainsaw'. Need to really think about this one though, as Fred, bless 'im, just before the chainsaw advise had been telling us about his close friend that had just been prosecuted and struck off, in hushed tones, he informed us that his chum had been found guilty of drugging and having sex with his patients. Shocked to hear this revelation, we leaned in further to hear Fred speak in most reverential tones as he went on to tell us what a tragedy it was as his mate was apparently a really good vet...

He gets us every time! So... the chainsaw... yes apprently he is serious, remove old deck with a chainsaw 88|88|

Plan goes roughly - chainsaw between beams and knock out the planks, remove beamshelf, knees and cover board, remove manky deck beams with stubs of decking still attached (glad about that, wasn't looking forward to pulling nails) remove frame heads that are a bit iffy, replace deck beams, knees, beamshelf and coverboard, then re-plank deck- -piece of pish!!

So, post Fred, Fags and hot chocolate (we've run out of bovril), time to go down below for a bit more knocking down of stuff.
Still utterly confused about the internal bits. the walls/bulkheads are constructed of some seriously heavy mahogany planking, absolutely gorgeous stuff, all cut obliquely, mitred and fastened.... which has then all been faced over in plywood, which was then faced over with formica - go figure :crazy::crazy:

least ways, we've a nice fat (& expensive) pile of mahogany to reuse when refitting, although, it has to be said, privacy has been somewhat compromised when using the dunny, and anyone kipping port side is likely to get rather hot feet now, although, thats unlikely as the bunks are coming out tomorrow(ish)

anyhoo few pics to be going on with (note to self - take proper camera, phones take crap pictures)

Converted scottish fishing boat living quarters
Once there was a 'little boys room' where, apart from the door falling on your head, you could poop in peace

conversion of the living accommodation on a scottish trawler
I guess you'd have to be a bit desperate, and not shy if you need to go now

conversion of a motor Fifie zulu saloon
Least your toes will be toasty warm in bed in the winter, although nylon sleeping bags might not be a good idea


When a number 2's gotta do number 2's, a number 2's gonna do number 2's! It's the rest of the crew my heart bleeds for. Perhaps the dangerous levels of noxious gas that built up on trip out number 3 were due to the confined nature of the toilet cubicle. We're in the Common Market now, surely it's ok to drop your pants in front of the family and have a poo in the street like they do in Paris (and Italy)

The Surveyor Man Cometh

We're now officially masters of all we survey (I think). The surveyor came down to day, (cue dramatic music) gave the old girl the thrice over.... Actually wasn't quite as bad as we(I) we're expecting, although I've yet to see the full report, but overall, she's not in bad shape for her age, ok, there was the obvious rotten bits we knew about already, but not many unknown nasties were revealed, few extra dodgy knees that weren't anticipated, beamshelf is a bit iffy, possible dodgy cock down below (caught that from me maybe!), but over all, I think we've got away with it for now! enough to keep the insurance vultures happy any way

And what a thoroughly nice chap to boot. Plenty of surveyors around, but not many that really know their onions with wooden boats (wooden onions anyone??), knew exactly what to expect, what is normal, and what to address. He was even recommended by our insurers, so, they should be more than happy with the result. So if any one needs a good surveyor, with the knowledge and enthusiasm for wooden boats, give us a shout, we know a real diamond geezer as I believe they say darn sarf

Whilst awaiting his arrival, more 'a rippin an' a burnin' took place, not a great deal left down below apart from the netty walls, and they're next on the list, so once where there was a kitchen sink.....

conversion Mk1 before we converted it backwards
backwards conversion! First you need a converted fishing boat

The converted fishing boat conversion continues
Then you un convert it back to what it was before starting the conversion process all over again - simple huh?

there's now just some nasty wood, cladding the engine room bulkead, oh yeah and quelle suprise, some more ballast, and a few more redundant skin fittings and seacocks. Getting away from ripping an burning, thought I'd have a peak in the rats nest of wiring at the helm and have pretty much decided, like everything else on the old girl, to bin the lot and start again

Rats nest wiring
The rats nest awaiting awaiting the wire cutters

best bit of the day for me though, was provided on the PM program on radio 4 (Charlotte Green sounds even better heard on an old sailor radio BTW), interviewing a few of the protesters that had the temerity to show their distain at the corporate breadheads and bankers that have been bleeding us dry for the last few years, by way of a wee demonstration in the city of london.
Despite having to put up with being used as sheep by the Metropolitan Stasi (horsey division), to practice for their entry in to the team event of one man and his dog, this one chap had managed to keep his sense of humour. When questioned as to why he was at the demonstration, the quote of the day was "I don't really have any political opinions, I'm just here for the violence" rock on fella! B)