Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And there she was...


Honey Ryder cruised away from me, leaving Limehouse basin under new ownership at 1.30pm on Monday the 17th August 2009.

It was a sad weekend, finally packing all my things into the storage cupboard, packing my bare essentials and setting up camp in a friends spare box room. Seeing Honey Ryder with a completely clear roof and an empty insides made my tummy go all flippety flop.

Now I am homeless, Honey Ryder has gone, Mr X is in France, my dog is on holiday at my mums and so it seems this chapter of ditch crawling, chance encounters along the tow path and eye opening moments of madness, anger, death, friendship and compassion ends.

This life of just less than three years has been like a re-birth. A metamorphose of a woman, her dog, her tempestuous relationship and a boat that was a perfect catalyst for the whole process.

Thank you Honey Ryder, it's been emotional.

--------------- Fin ----------------

Monday, August 3, 2009

14 days

How is it possible I can have so much stuff?

I surely dont need it all.
packing away the contents of the cupboards and drawers has revealed that I am infact less of a minimalist than I fooled myself into believing and more of a creative-tucker-away-of-things-out-of-sight. This will be rectified as soon as I have a moment to contemplate such ruthless skimming of "Schtuff".
Most of my possessions are now tucked away in boxes, stacked 1.5 meters high by 1.5 meters square.
each of these boxes will be quarantined, checked and double checked before I allow any of their contents to move with me to my new home. If they dont pass the usefulness test then off they go to a charity shop or well known auctioning website.
I may even put them up for free grabs on here.

Id really like to get it slimmed down to just one small ish car load. Im sure with a little lateral thinking it can be achieved.

of course, before it gets moved anywhere, I actually need to find something to move it into.

the seach continues, Plymouth, S & NW Wales, W Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands await.

Monday, July 20, 2009

room for a chicken

With a little less than one month left aboard Honey Ryder, time seems to have gone into warp drive.

My mental packing has started, helped along by the booking of a small self-storage cupboard.

I'm currently looking at suitable floors to sleep on as an interim measure of avoiding sleeping out under a bridge, although I do have the advantage that after nearly three years on the canals, I know quite a lot of suitable bridges.

I've looked at four very different boats so far, but all with a mast.

Looking around these various boats brings home how well equipped my current boat is and how much I have got used to it.
The battery charger and battery state readout, the inverter and travel power.
The heating, the hot water, the four burner cooker, the oven big enough for a medium sized chicken...

It seems all too soon this blog will draw to a natural conclusion and a new one will commence in the face of yet another very steep learning curve.
I want to live on a yacht and sail the world.
A couple of small matters to be over come first,
one, I have a full time job and a mortgage,
two, I've never sailed a yacht bigger than a dinghy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Exit stage left

Time to depart our dark and dusty dry dock cave like place and head back out into the bright world outside.

Heading back across London probably to see Victoria park and Limehouse for one last time from a narrowboat this summer.
Five more weeks of canal time, five more weeks of packing boxes and emptying Honey Ryder.
She is going to a new home this August and I am to be temporarily homeless.

Mr X is going back to France for a while, I am now starting my search for a new place to live in ernest.

Oh, exciting times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I see a dry dock and I want to paint it black

Two and a bit years have passed since the last mammoth effort of stripping the hull back to bare metal and sorting out a loppy looking bottom.

it took three weeks of very very hard work back in March 2007.
[url="http://www.canalworld.net/forums/blog/honey_ryder/index.php?showentry=124"]first Hull service part 1[/url]
[url="http://www.canalworld.net/forums/blog/honey_ryder/index.php?showentry=129"]first hull service part 2[/url]
[url="http://www.canalworld.net/forums/blog/honey_ryder/index.php?showentry=131"]first hull service part 3[/url]
[url="http://www.canalworld.net/forums/blog/honey_ryder/index.php?showentry=134"]first hull service part 4[/url]
[url="http://www.canalworld.net/forums/blog/honey_ryder/index.php?showentry=135"]first hull service part 5[/url]

Ive been holding back from booking the drydock for fear of the hard work to come, but there is only so long you can do that before you really do have to get your finger out and actually do something.
So, a few calls later and I was booked into the dock at Uxbridge boat centre. It was here we bought all our blacking from last time and since they have always been so friendly and accommodating I figured it was worth the slog across London to get there.
We had just one weekend to move from Cheshunt to Uxbridge. It's a fairly long way I can tell you. We shuffled a bit mid week down to the marina near Rammey Marsh and then commenced the trip early on saturday morning. it was weedy, weedy weedy, plastic baggy, plastic baggy, weedy, plastic baggy, weedy, plastic baggy all the way.
at least 10 trips down the weed hatch as we seemed to snag every thing going. It came to be a routine that at nearly every lock, engine off, check the propellor.

We managed to time it so that at the last lock we were forced into enduring the hammering hale storm and rain, mid-lock. It was quite a refreshing change from the intense heat so I didnt mind putting my sun parasol up to fend off the golf ball sized pieces of ice. We arrived at Angel for the night and continued the next day.

We arrived at West Drayton late afternoon early evening on Sunday after a good run through london and a box of noodles from Camden. I highly recommend going through Camden locks in the morning, it's so peaceful and there's still time to have a quick stop off and shop/eat before it gets busy. Camden is one of my favourite places, but in the past five years has changed dramatically, not necessarily for the better but the march of progress doesnt suffer nostalgia, it only sees pound signs.

a few days later we were being hauled into the dry dock alongside another boat.

It took ages to empty, from 9am through til at least 2pm and it wasnt until 3.30pm that we got the use of the pressure washer. We had images of what it was like the last time and we were worried about the tight working window of just a few days in the dock.
We needn't have worried, within 24 hours we had the entire hull pressure washed, wire brushed/angle ground, the first coat of black on and by the end of the second day, we were pretty much there with the second coat.
talk about a bloody doddle and a piece of piss!

Except for the lights.

we've been working in the dark, straining our eyes, not understanding why the lights dont want to work. It's all very well being under cover, but without lights, painting black on black, it's not been easy.
It took nearly 4 days for me to work out the lights were on a timer and the timer was set wrong.... DOH! last night, I had a moment of frustration, staring into the electrical cupboard when it finally dawned on me and then we had light... HURRAY!
and then we could see the paint runs... SHIT.
So we've been back round the boat removing all the run blobs and tidying up the blacking.

Otherwise, I couldnt have asked for an easier job.

Total cost:
Dry dock £280 for the week
4 tins of paint £100
one day use of pressure washer £56
Paint brushes and rollers (from Tesco) £5

totals £441

Monday, May 11, 2009

falling down water

I had to let the dust settle a little on this entry as time, being the great healer, needed er, time.
It was not funny at the time, but heindsight is the funniest thing.

It is common knowledge that a true sailor is a hardy drinker. One who embraces Rum with both anchor-tattood-forearms.

My fellow co-habitant, Mr X has been known to practice the art of Rum appreciation throughout his younger adult life. Though he doesn't have the sailor tattoos he has other credentials that make him a sailor.

I work long hours sometimes, leaving me less time for my blog as people may (or may not) have noticed and less time to spend at home. My poor dog will surely one day mistake me for a burglar and lick me to death.
Anyhoo, it was one of these late nights, a Friday of all days I arrived home around 10pm, I immediately clocked the two bottles of rum (55%) in the kitchen, one of them empty, the other one seriously storm battered and a chopped up lime, squeezed and re-squeezed into wafer thin skinny green shells.

I knew immediately the weather forecast was going to be stormy.

I battened the hatches, put all breakables away or on the floor and braced myself, armed with mobile phone for both evidence gathering and any possible Mayday calls.
It was while attempting to re-set the stereo in the kitchen, balanced precariously holding onto the kitchen work surfaces to aid with balance that an almighty wave must have caught Mr X out and sent him sliding, tumbling, like a sack of spuds to the floor. It was here he promptly fell asleep and asumed the safety position. (like a true sailor)


I seized the moment to deploy the sofa cushions to the floor in anticipation of a further stormy night to come. Stepping over the sleeping baby I took the dog outside for his nightly oblutions, said goodnight to the neighbour who was moored alongside, oblivious to the fact I was standing two feet away from an unconscious body then went back inside and waited.

one hour later the creature from the black lagoon came shuffling on its derier from the kitchen into the living room, looking for a warm safe place to sleep. upon finding the cushions, commenced a discussion about why it couldn't sleep on the "normal" bed. It eventually conceded to the fact it was safer on the floor, away from an angry female.
The angry female commenced with tooth brushing duties (with analogue toothbrush not the electrical one because the travel power, although fully serviced has not been re-fitted to the engine)
When, the sound that no-one likes to hear, was heard.

[i]Yaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggghhpp, Yaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggghhpp, [/i]

I ran back to the living room, fearing the worst, [i]vomit central[/i], when in fact, I soon realised [b]It[/b] had cleverly employed the use of the fire bucket to contain his seasickness.
A true sailor never spoils the interior.

After a swift clip around the back of the head, calling him a, silly sailor [read: c**t]
I swapped his fancy brass bucket for an altogether easier to clean plastic one. I pondered for a moment as I was swilling the sick out of bucket via the side hatch, I had never seen Mr X seasick before, it was most un-charactaristic of him.
It was then, that I spotted a large mark on his face. It seems he must have hit his head when he fell to the floor, causing possible concussion.

I spent the rest of the night on sick-boy watch, checking frequently that he was still alive. The next morning, I ventured into the living room, he was sitting up asking how he arrived in the living room.
Incredibly he remembers absolutely nothing after the second glass of rum. No head ache, nothing.
It was two hours later, after filling the tank with water and preparing to descend the lock, the colour drained from his face, suddenly the tempest returned and remained for the whole day.

I cruised the boat mostly on my todd, savouring the fact he was still alive, but suffering. Will he learn a lesson in seamanship from this?

It seems life is harder to navigate than canals.

Friday, May 8, 2009


A few days trolling around harbours in France, along the Brittany west coast has wet my appetite further for the next boat. I was on holiday and couldnt help myself, I always end up near water.

I already have a good idea about what I want and where I want to put it and where Id like to go with it, it seems its a buyers market out there.

Honey Ryder is still for sale, I should probably do a bit more effort to sell her before the summer is over, but for every month I live on her, I save large amounts of money to put towards the next boat. So its a difficult balance between selling and saving.
Im not sure if I will be able to secure another boat mortgage again, I guess I should go out there and try one of the many finance houses/rip off merchants that offer marine mortgages.

So, I saw the next boat in france, its a Jeanneau Sunshine 38. if only I had sold mine, had the finances in place and a mooring secured.
It all seems to far away!