Boat

Mapping Live River Conditions on the Thames

I love going out on my boat and I do it as often as I possibly can. Unfortunately the recent rain has meant that I’ve been unable to as often as I’d like. If the current is too fast, it’s not sensible or safe to do it. The Environment Agency has an excellent site which gives live information. But I wanted to put it on a map. Cue an evening of hunting down coordinates of every lock on the non-tidal thames (Google data is surprisingly bad) and writing an app to take data out of the online service and put it on a map.

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Graffiti Tribute to Hussain Mohammed

I live not far from the spot where Hussein Mohammed jumped in the Thames and drowned. Local youths have spray-painted their tributes in the underside of the bridge. Touching.  

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Grime and paint. : pictures

In the week after the engine came out, I was left with access to my bilges. These are usually hidden away behind an unmovable wooden wall, with access blocked by the engine. As far as I can tell these had not seen the light of day for two decades (my boat was built in 1993 and there are no signs of the engine having been out since then). It appears that they weren’t even painted, or if they were, there’s no paint left.

I was appalled at the state of them, frankly. The rust was thick, and not in a good way. My boat is my home, as well as my boat, and the sign of that much rust really wasn’t a very comforting thought.

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The Great Engine Hoist : pictures

I come from an engineering family. I know no-one who enjoys playing with engines more than my father. Within days of me buying a boat he had opened up the engine and taken the cylinders off to re-fit the piston rings. Admittedly, the reason he did this is that the engine had failed and we were stranded thirty miles outside Oxford with an immobile boat. But I have a feeling it would have happened anyway sooner or later.

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First Torchbox Cruise of the Season

My first cruise of the 2012, the first Torchbox cruise of 2012 and the first outing for the new decking. Also check out Louise’s flickr set.

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How to Make Boat Decking

How to make boat decking in 11 easy but detailed steps. 1 : Find a load of scrap timber. Put in on the roof and pace up and down a bit. It is crucial that you stay away from the edges whilst pacing if there is someone else on board. 2 : Remark upon the awkward disposition of the nails. It is important to spare a thought for the craftsman who came before you.

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A snowy journey to work

I’m not normally given to taking photos of my commute, but in the case of the snow I made an exception.

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A polecat comes to visit.

I put my rubbish out on the deck last night. Today I heard a rustling and looked out to see a polecat had come aboard, unbidden, and nicked some pasty packaging. For those unsure what a polecat is, wikipedia defines it thus: A polecat is an animal. Here is a video of the encounter. I can see why they named this animal ‘polecat’. It’s a bit like a pole and a bit like a cat.

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Old sailor's trick: Turning safety matches into strike anywhere matches.

There’s an old sailor’s trick that comes in useful when on the high seas, when stuck with safety matches and no box to strike them on. They can be turned into strike-anywhere matches with the use of a hot stove. This also helps pass the time on the long unending days when the ship is becalmed at sea. Gloves were used because it wasn’t physically possible to get my hand that close.

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Opening a can on a boat

The thing about living on a boat is that there is more than likely a hatchet to hand. Which means that if you come home from the shops with a can and realise that you have no can opener, you can puncture holes in the lid. Using the hatchet … and get at the insides. Try doing that in a house. I dare you.

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