Friday 26 October 2012

Homemade double glazing etc

We hadn't given a huge amount of thought to the problem of condensation but nb Parisien Star has obviously had issues with it as many of the windows have water damage to their timber work. I had spoken to Diane (nb Ferndale) about some home made double glazing she had made using Perspex and plastic tubing. She is happy with the result and when she put the Perspex back up as the weather cooled this month she left one off so we could see the difference when we went to visit.

Since then Mick has been thinking about ways of achieving a similar result.  We had a good look at our windows and noticed that the metal catches that hold the narrow glass panel at the top of the "hopper" windows could be removed.  This resolved a problem Diane had with the catches being in the way of her Perspex.

Today he had a go at making extra glazing for 4 of the windows after removing the catches. A lot of the day he was outside on the picnic table beside the boat cutting the thick Perspex he bought.... among a whole lot of chat with the fellow from the boat behind.  After lunch he interrupted me so many times from my work that I gave up and came out to help him.

So now we have 4 double glazed windows. We don't know how well it will work.... we will report back on it!  Our neighbour was rather negative about the whole idea and said we were wasting our time. I sure hope not.  It might not be a perfect solution but we've noticed that the pull across blind on our side hatch makes a huge difference to the condensation if we close it. The portholes are easy to wipe and don't have timber work to catch dripping water so we aren't so fussed about those. The only window left is the kitchen window but I don't want to prevent that being opened. It has a sliding section for dog patting and duck feeding, and its on the opposite side of the boat to the side hatch so we have an opening on whichever side we are moored.  Between those and the front doors we should have enough ventilation for when we are cooking.

Speaking of cooking, a couple of nights ago we made a kedgeree with smoked haddock that was in a Jamie Oliver Great Britain cookbook I bought. We've never made it before but it will be on the menu again!  The fish is much cheaper here than in Australia and there is a bigger choice even in a smaller supermarket. We've been eating fish 2 or 3 times a week since we got here.  And no Mum..... we haven't  been catching it in the canal! I'm not sure I would want to eat canal fish.  Our kitchen sink and shower drain straight into the canal.

And, on the topic of boat waste, we began to worry that the gauge on our loo tank wasn't working.  Sorry, I know it isn't a very nice topic but its something we have to deal with! We've been 3 weeks on the boat now and it only showed 2/10ths full. I have heard of people getting 3 weeks from their tank before having to empty it and we know ours tank is a decent size but it just didn't seem right. Just as I was sitting to email for advice I saw Roger, the builder of our boat, was online. I messaged and he suggested shining a torch against the plastic tank to see how full it was.

So picture this..... We had to tip the mattress of our bed up.... yes, we sleep on top of the loo tank as many narrowboaters do... as well as the hot water tank... the good Dolphin torch we brought with us didn't fit between the slats of the bed into the cavity below where the tanks are... off we went to find another torch... back to grovelling under the mattress.... with Mick holding up the mattress, I was kneeling on the floor shining the torch up the side of the tank. We could see when the light shone freely through the plastic tank so that showed us where on the side of the tank the full mark was.  All is well for a little longer but we will have it pumped out at the next opportunity. Welcome to the realities of living on a narrowboat!

There are many things different here in the UK compared to Australia.  Another one we've discovered is that Tesco (like Woolworths) sells fireworks.  It appears they use a separate counter - probably to ensure they are only sold to adults.  I picked up the brochure and took photos of it to show you all at home.  Halloween and Guy Fawkes is obviously a much bigger deal here than we're used to.  We even toyed with buying one or two of the fireworks simply because we can.  I don't know where we'd be allowed to set them off on the towpath.

Today's pics :
1. This is on view outside our window.  I told Mick he'll have to go sleep there if he's in trouble!
2. On my walk I crossed a bridge further down and zooming my camera there he was.
3. The end of the Ellesmere Arm looking out onto the canal.
4. A nearby marina.  I liked the name of the boat and then noticed 2 boats past it was nb Barolo.  We met them the other day when we moored for lunch.  What a stunning boat it is!
5. A lovely curved building in the centre of Ellesmere
6. & 7. Fireworks
8. The new double glazing - with draught stop tape behind the perspex. We'll see how it goes.  You can see the water damage to the corner too.

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