Home at last!

P1120555

On Tuesday afternoon we finally made it into our mooring at Market Harborough. We had several bumps and scrapes along the way, mainly owing to the wind. Some of the paintwork just above the waterline has taken a battering.

scrape

Ah well, it wouldn’t be a real narrowboat without some scrapes.

Here is Froth lying in her berth:

P1120553

Notice how she projects beyond the line of the other boats. At 67′, we are the longest boat in the wharf. Which means our ‘conservatory’ gets uninterrupted views all around!

Union Wharf looks pretty at night, with all the boats lit up for Christmas:

image

And there are lots of friendly people here. We quickly found ourselves chatting to several couples.

But, let’s rewind… the last instalment of the blog saw us battling through some tough locks and Saddington tunnel to arrive at a night mooring in the wild Leicestershire countryside.

image

The next day started relatively calmly, so we were able to make good progress.

image

image

Rosie is getting more confident every day. She is now able to stand on the roof unaccompanied.

photo 1

photo-2

You can see from the state of her paws how much she is enjoying running along a muddy towpath!

It took us about half an hour to reach Foxton Locks and the start of the Market Harborough arm of the Grand Union Canal, Leicester Branch.

image

The arm has a couple of swing bridges, one by the base of Foxton Locks:

photo 3

image

The Harborough Arm is a beautiful section of canal. Louise really enjoyed an extended period of lock free cruising:

On arrival, we celebrated with champagne!

image

Wednesday was spent doing a hundred and one jobs. Louise’s orders had built up, so it was urgent to get to work.

photo 4

Andy spent the day doing engine maintenance and other boat stuff, and assembling these two recliners (with footstools, just visible between the two chairs):

image

They are fabulously comfortable, but putting them together from flat-pack was very hard work! They needed to be flat-packed chairs because normal sizes won’t pass through the cabin doors.

At the end of the day, we packed up and cleaned the boat. We prepared the various systems for winter, exchanged phone numbers with our new neighbours, and headed back to the house. We were so sad to leave.

It has been a challenging trip, and we are very glad to have had lots of past boating experience. Without that, we probably would not have made it, because the conditions were really tough at times, especially the wind and the damaged locks. But this is life as we like to experience it, connected with one another and the elements. The house is nice, but it is so … insulated.

Froth on the Daydream is now floating in her mooring, awaiting our return. Phase 1 of the life plan is complete. The next phase is to sell the house, starting after Valentine’s Day (Louise’s busiest period). Meanwhile, it’s back to a different kind of reality…

Almost done!

The boat is very very nearly completed now. In fact, it may actually be finished as this is being written! There were just a few minor bits of tidying up to be done when we left this morning. So here are some recent shots, taken by Graham Reader…

The seating and the table in the cratch “conservatory” area look really good. Note the glass panel at the front, and the nice roll-up cratch covers either side, which can be blackout or clear as we wish. The rich oak flooring is also lovely. We will be spending a lot of time out here.

P1120498

Stepping inside the saloon, on the right is the trusty Morso ‘Squirrel’ solid fuel stove. On the left is the TV system which links to the satellite dish on the roof (note the cabling has yet to be properly installed behind the telly).

P1120499

Turn around, and we get this view of the galley (the washing machine will be inside its own cupboard by the end of today). The kitchen area is spacious.

P1120497

Here’s the middle bedroom:

P1120500

And the back bedroom:

P1120502

Between them is the bathroom:

P1120501

The door between the back bedroom and the bathroom is a folding door, very well made by Martin at Louise’s suggestion:

photo 3-3

photo 2-3

So, we’re all ready to board ‘Froth’ tomorrow for the official hand-over!!!

We will not take her on the maiden voyage until the wind has calmed down next week. In the meantime, one particular crew member is raring to go:

rosie
Rosie modelling her ‘Outward Hound’ ‘Pupsaver’ life jacket.

Note the handle on the back, so that she can be fished out of the canal easily if she falls in. She loves it!

 

If you go down to the cut today…

It’s another beautiful morning on the cut at Thurmaston. The ducks are quacking, the sun is shining, the boats are lying lazily in the water. The view up the canal from the lock bridge is delightful…

IMG_1175

Let’s take a closer look at those boats.

IMG_1177Hmm. One of them has a very bright green stern, with vibrant tunnel flashing…

IMG_1178Could it be?

IMG_1179It is! It’s Froth on the Daydream, resplendent now in her full livery!

IMG_1184

There’s lots of progress all over the boat today. We have bow thrusters:

Bow thrusterWe have gas:

IMG_1161IMG_1171

There are lights now throughout the cabin:

IMG_1162In the bathroom, the toilet flush works, the sink area is done, and the shower works beautifully with excellent pressure and plenty of room inside:

IMG_1163IMG_1148IMG_1174

Talking  of running water, the kitchen sink is also working:

IMG_1173

And the oven is ready for that Christmas turkey:IMG_1172

We are just waiting on the central heating, which has an air lock somewhere in the system. This will be eliminated soon.

Meanwhile, the doors are all in place, with the exception of the large ones between each room. There were 59 doors, in the end!

IMG_1143 IMG_1144 IMG_1154 IMG_1158

It just goes on getting more and more exciting!IMG_1167

Fifty doors

There was not a great deal of change inside the boat today, and here is the reason why:

IMG_0001_2

Fifty doors! Martin has spent the entire week in the workshop making these doors, which have to fit all the cupboards and doorways on the boat. It is an enormous labour.

So, our attention was mainly focused on the outside. We have brass ‘mushrooms’ and rails for the plank and pole.

IMG_0006_2

IMG_0004_2

IMG_0003_2

Also, sitting on the stern deck in the autumn sunshine is a joy:

IMG_0011

Which is not to say that nothing at all has happened inside. Rachel has done a lot of varnishing, and we have radiator covers being fitted into place:

IMG_0002_2

We had some discussion about whether the bathroom sink is too small, and resolved to try it for a month or two and change it if necessary.

Now we are looking at handles for the fifty doors. The overhead cupboards can have knobs, but the lower cupboards need D-handles so that we don’t snag our clothes on them as we walk past. Of course, we don’t want just any old handles and knobs – they have to look good! Looks like we will be spending quite a lot of time this week researching and choosing.

Froth on the Daydream

We have a name!

Photo 09-09-2015 16 45 37

The sign-writing was done by Robin Wagg of Real Sign Writing. Here he is at work:

Photo 08-09-2015 11 27 47 Photo 08-09-2015 11 27 27

The photos scarcely do justice to all the subtleties. Views from the bow end:

Photo 09-09-2015 16 44 39 Photo 09-09-2015 16 45 44

We like the jauntiness, the lettering, the spirals, evoking the spirit of the pianocktail. The what? We hear you ask…

‘Froth on the Daydream’ is an unusual name for a boat. People are intrigued.

It all comes from a beautiful novel entitled ‘L’ecume des jours‘, by the French writer, musician and pataphysician Boris Vian, The pianocktail is a piano that mixes drinks according to the combinations of keys played. This is just one of many delightfully inventive ideas in the book. Boris Vian is much-loved in France, but relatively little known in Britain. Indeed, we might not know about him at all were it not for the fantastic translation by our dear friend the late Stanley Chapman. The phrase ‘Froth on the Daydream’ is his invention (‘L’ecume des jours’ translates more literally as ‘spume of days’).

Stanley once sent me a copy of the book with his own hand-designed cover:

frothbook

Cover for 'Froth on the Daydream' by Stanley Chapman
Cover for ‘Froth on the Daydream’ by Stanley Chapman

He included the following inscription in the flyleaf:

frothdedication

So ‘Froth on the Daydream’ is our chosen name because it is in the same spirit as Vian’s book and Stanley’s translation. It will be fun, free, and will go we know not where, for reasons which we cannot fully understand. It will be both a home and an inspiration.