Friday, 25 September 2015

5 days away...

We are just back from a very nice 5 days in deepest Essex.  We do this from time to time for a bit of "us" time. Sometimes a boat, this time a trip south to see some family and friends.

I have always been a sucker for the Estuary.  And Essex, my county of birth and childhood, has plenty of them.  We were staying near Tollesbury, in the most charming and tiny one bedroom cottage, which the even more charming owner allowed us the complete run of, because she had a small "lodge" half way down her garden, in which she spent the evenings and in which she slept.  So bed and breakfast became cottage and breakfast.
By going to the end of her lane to the crossroads and turning right, you go towards the lovely West Mersea, or by turning left, Heybridge Basin and Maldon.

Firstly, we turned right and went to West Mersea.  I have been to Mersea island many times and was delighted to find that The Blackwater Pearl cafe was still there, largely unchanged, so we parked up  and had a toasted teacake and a cuppa there, where the cleaner girl told us which of the two main establishments we should trust for fresh seafood.  As her Dad and brother were local oystermen, we figured she'd know.  Not that we wanted oysters, you understand.  If I wanted to swallow snot covered school rubbers and tabasco sauce I could do it much cheaper.  But a bit of dressed crab is always welcome and my good lady loves her cockles.

Later that day we had a look at Heybridge Basin, an old boaty haunt of mine since the days when I lived aboard a Victorian cutter at Burnham-on-Crouch.  It is less relentlessly boaty these days almost inevitably, but the Ship Inn and the Jolly Sailors are still there, so a pint was in order in the Ship.

 I was delighted to see two boats go through the sea lock from the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, the first time I had ever seen the lock in use.

After our drink I strolled up on the sea wall for a gander and to my surprise a large ship came up the river from the sea.  It turned out to be a large tug, a small tug and a floating platform between them, which had been hired for the day for some operation at Clacton, up the coast.
It made an interesting counterpoint to the sailing barge which plies its trade in the trip game these days.

Old and new

Maldon is to the right of the above shots, but when we went there, we found no available parking place, so wended our way back to the "digs" via a very good Indian restaurant in Tolleshunt D'arcy.
And so the week progressed with visits to old friends, one of whom, my dear old pal Jimi, I hadn't seen in over 20 years as we'd always just missed each other.  Jimi is seriously affected by Cerebral Palsy, but whilst his speech and movement are difficult, his brain is sharp as a needle.  He has top qualifications in electronics design and a passion for the rock band, Hawkwind, which he combines when they tour to programme synths, design light shows and even sing backing!  When he sings, his speech is much clearer.  Anyway he was delighted to see us after all this time and we spent a wonderful couple of hours reliving old adventures.  Jimi was a regular on my boat Vanity when I lived the other end of town and we'd talk deep into the night.

We also went to North Fambridge, because I never have, despite living so close for long.  Well, there's not much there, but a couple of interesting old buildings, the distant one being my kind of hideaway.
I would LOVE to live here!

Or here!

On Thursday, we went to Maldon's Promenade Park to see what all the fuss was about.  Not easy to find, it is a delightful Edwardian park.  We stopped by the model boating pool to eat a cream cake, when I realised what was in this very unremarkable place, behind us in the car park, having a photo shoot done.
Now, come on, what were the odds of that?  A genuine Lamborghini Miura S, the only truly good looking Lambo.  Rare as rocking horse poo and worth, what...a quarter of a million or more?  In Maldon Park on a Thursday afternoon.

More anon.....

Saturday, 12 September 2015

And now, even with paint...

The canal boat model got its cream two days ago and today, after well over an hour of masking with plastic tape used in the clay modelling game, pinched from VW years ago and finally found a use for, its blue.  The cream masking was then removed with success and we now have only the dark red to do at the rear and then tidying up, before clear coat.
Apologies for the typically shitty photos, but my camera will NOT take pics indoors and despite a bit of sun, the dogs will jump on the outside table if anything that smells different appears for their noses.
After all the painting shenanigans are done with and the clear coat goes on, the red oxide floors and rear roof can be done and the hull sides and bits of the bow will get matt black to simulate the black epoxide Bitumen that most narrow boats get these days.
More anon........

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Nearly done, bar the paint.....

Back last year I was paid up front to make a model of a customer's friend's new narrow boat, an S.M.Hudson 60 footer.
It has had to be fitted around earners till my official retirement recently as it was too big a commitment in time to be otherwise.  In fact, I charged way too little for the amount of work it has proved to be.

No matter, tis nearly done.
In self etch primer.

The rivet work is impressed from behind in litho plate with a home made tool.  On the real boats these are entirely bogus dummy rivets made of welded on washers, an attempt to look like a "Josher", an old working boat run by Joshua Fellows.  Those of us who despise such follies call them "washer Joshers"!  But the damned things had to be on the model.

I am now out to spray its last coat of self-etch primer/surfacer to cover all the aluminium hinges I have added to the side doors.  I have also cut out the circles in which the brass portholes will fit.  This was done with a Compass Cutter set to minimum so the surface of the plywood was cut through to avoid splitting when the holes themselves were dug out with a small Rotafile in the minidrill.