Foam and mushrooms

Another week, and more progress! The boat has been spray-foamed and boarded internally. The ‘mushroom’ air vents have been inserted into the roof, along with the two wifi dome aerials which are located either side of the second mushroom back from the front. These deliver 6dBi of wifi signal and will select either the broadband in a marina or the 3G/4G signal when out and about.  And here is the boarding being loaded. This is just the backing chipboard. The American ash panels will be fitted later when everything else is ready.

 Spray foaming is the only part of the job that MGM subcontract. Here is the spray foamer’s van:
  This is the interior after everything was coated in foam:
   The spray foamer then had to shave off all the unwanted foam:

  The foam, of course, is our insulation. The most common question we get asked about living on a narrowboat is: isn’t it cold in winter? Well, once the central heating and the solid fuel stove are running, it gets too hot in winter! That is largely due to the spray foam insulation, which means that the boat retains heat really well. Many is the snowy night when we have had to open windows and side hatch to keep the boat at an even temperature. It’s really lovely to be so warm and yet so close to nature.

One week on…


This is an interior shot of Froth with ballast and floor boards in place. Ballast keeps the boat at the right level in the water. Heavy bricks are used. More adjustments will be made to ballast later on in the fit out process. You’ll notice a lot of dangling wires in the picture too. Mark has been hard at work on ‘first fix’ electrics for locating sockets and lighting.

The week has been taken up with a succession of important decisions. First we had to decide about colours for the exterior paint job  – to our surprise the painting will be done before the windows are put in. The result of this was a rapid discussion between me at home in Leicester and Andy in the departure lounge at Heathrow awaiting a flight to Lisbon.

The next important thing was to get all the roof top systems in place so that Mark can install the cabling before he sprays the interior with insulating foam. This involves 2 Wifi aerials, a TV satellite system and solar panels. The resulting mayhem required lots of phone calls and some rather sexist conversations with men who thought they should be talking to Andy and not his wife! For some reason, the satellite man thinks it is hilarious to refer to ‘dangly ends’ all the time. 

We also made several decisions about the interior layout. It is amazing how, whatever amount of planning you do, the reality is always different. So, we shaved a foot off the kitchen to make a bigger living room, and moved the washing machine from the back room to the kitchen. The last move created more space for Andy’s music workstation.

Anyway, here is Froth at rest:


Froth in the water!

What a day!!! Froth on the Daydream is now in the water at the MGM Boatyard in Thurmaston Leicester. To get there she had to be transported from Nick Thorpe’s steelyard in Hixon, Staffordshire. The boat weighs 13 tons of solid steel. What follows is a picture story of the day, with videos and stills taken by ourselves and family members. From Friday June 12th 2015 our boating life has really begun.

So, at Nick Thorpe’s steelyard, the three elements were assembled: boat, crane, lorry.

The first task was to get the boat out of the shed. This was done using metal rollers and pushing from behind with a forklift (which broke down at one point!). Here she comes:

Next, sleeves were wrapped around the boat so that the crane could lift it onto the lorry. Here is the complete set-up:

Then (OMG!) the boat had to be lifted up, twisted around above the building height, and dropped onto the lorry.

Rosie watched it all keenly, having previously made friends with every single man in the place!


So, here is a collection of still pictures of this stage of the operation. A view of the inside of the boat:


Froth leaves the steelyard shed:


That lift and twist moment:


The crane, complete with wind monitors on the top:


Nick Thorpe’s monogrammed rudder. He does this on all his boats:


The next stage was the two hour drive to MGM Boats. We set off later, having spent some time congratulating Nick Thorpe and his team. They had worked fantastically hard, staying up until midnight the previous night to get it all done for us. They have also built us a beautiful boat. Apparently it is the most detailed job they have ever done.

So…on to the MGM boatyard, where Martin, Mark, Rachel and the rest of the crew were waiting for us:

Here she is arriving. The tiny little lane you can see at 0.05″, with Martin standing in the entrance, is the way down to the boatyard. Yes – we were wondering how they were going to get the boat and the crane down there too!

This gives you an idea of what happened when they tried!


After much hacking back of overgrown trees (apparently this was a job which needed to be done anyway) and very skilful driving, they got through.

Now Froth could be loaded onto the crane again:


She had to be lifted over a fence to be deposited in the water the other side. Also, the boat that was moored there had to move out of the way:





And here it is: the moment Froth on the Daydream hits the water for the first time:


And floating by herself:

Rosie wonders what all the fuss is about!


So, finally we were able to step on board. Louise was first:


Then Cap’n Andy:


The final task was to tow and punt the boat round the spit of land, out onto the main canal and back into the boatyard on the other side ready for the fit-out.




We made it! The end to an utterly memorable and exhilarating day. It’s going to be a few months now before Froth moves again. By then she will be completely fitted out, newly painted and ready to take up her mooring place in Market Harborough. For now, we are just going to dream of boats all night!