Monday, 1 August 2011

Shiny boats, butty flaps and Bar B Ques

Well another cracking week/week end so far only spoilt by the odd interjection.  Whilst down at Alvecote Laurence Williams had asked me to paint some canvas butty flaps for Australia then after I agreed to do them he stated he needed them for Thursday (3 days away) For those of you that don’t know what I’m on about , a brief explanation.  To protect the paint work on the wooden cants on each side of a butty’s well boatmen had ash strips fixed on top of them.  They then started scrubbing the ash strips until they were white and as a result would not step on them so they had small pieces of canvas which were laid over the top of the ash strips to protect them.  They then took to painting the canvas with a bunch of roses, are you with me now. 

I spent Tuesday/Wednesday nights painting a bunch of roses on each.  On Thursday night we had arranged to meet up with Laurence and a few others at Fradley Junction on their way to the National at Burton on Trent.  When we got there some of the ‘fleet’ had already moored at New Bridge No 61 on the Coventry and had a bar b que well on the way.  There was Tench, Emu, Clover & Fazeley and Michael Pinnock Senior’s cabin boat Alder.  After about another half an hour Kangaroo & Australia arrived making a total of six well loaded Joshers.  The next couple of hours were spent chatting, eating and drinking until it was time for Dawn and I to leave (we had work the next day)
Saturday I spent down the mooring doing lots of jobs keeping Darley looking good (how I keep my boats) re-painting the tunnel bands, painting an old porters sack truck blue and yellow with BW 135 on it’s sides, shortening the chains and lifting the back fenders, Taking the cratch cloth off and replacing it with the front full cloth so she is now clothed back to the mast.  This is so I can install some basics underneath such as a fridge and hob/cooker etc.  After finishing work, Dawn came down and brought with her a small bar b que and the necessary cobs, burgers, sausages, chicken and salad.   I mask taped the bows off and Dawn set about re-painting the panels, well the wharf side it was left to me to hang over the off side and paint. Ended the day off with a pleasant evening relaxing and watching the world go by while munching barbqued bits and bobs.  Have been down to Darley again tonight after work just to paint the first coat of yellow on the boas and a second coat on the sack truck so all in all a good long weekend so to speak. 
  Oh and the things which spoilt it, I never said did I.  As people know, I can sometimes be a little picky about detail but I am a firm believer in the fact it is important to get the detail right such as narrowboats don’t have cabin roofs, engine rooms or forward and reverse but they do have a cabin top an engine ‘ole and they do go ahead and astarn.  Another thing that really really annoys me is when people, who should know better, make comments in public places such as “ restored as over shiny looking representations of what their owners think they may have looked like?  I can only think this is due to A) not knowing any better, B) just looking at boats from the end of commercial carrying days when their condition was allowed to deteriorate in some cases, or C) a sign that they themselves are too idle to keep their boats something like.  I am proud of my shiny boat and I keep it how I was taught, many years ago by people who knew what they were on about.  I get a great sense of pride when comments are passed by those who matter to me, such as last week end returning from Alvecote, as we came past the top of Shadehouse lock where Fred Heritage Junior and Sadie were sat on the towpath on deck chairs catching some rays aside Lynx, and as I passed Fred just pointed at Darley and put two thumbs up and said beautiful!  I think people should not confuse ‘shiny boats’ with ‘boats that people have pride’ ‘nuff said, moan over – for now so till next time as always
Don’t bang ‘em about (you might scratch the shiny paint!)