Here we are again back at the boat, and this time for an extra long weekend, maybe 'till Tuesday, to make up for lost time over the last few weeks. Spring has really arrived now, with beautiful sunny weather and warmth! However, I don't know whether it may be due to the very harsh winter we had, when the boat was covered with snow and ice for months, but this year the paintwork on the horizontal external surfaces is bubbling up and parting company with the undercoat, now the sun is on it.
This is our third Spring with the steel narrowboat, and although I have had to touch up little rust spots in the past, this year great bubbles of paint keep flaking away, and on arrival again this week , I found several more areas of the roof that required attention. This time though, at least it wasn't down to bare metal and rust. This was after I spent the whole weekend the last time we were here, going round everything, paint can and brush in hand, making good. Now, some narrowboaters who prefer to be cruising, have a name for people like me. They call us "the shiny boat brigade". This usually refers to owners of new boats who like to spend all their time cleaning and polishing their boat on it's mooring rather than taking it out. I am not quite that keen, but do like to keep my investment in good condition, both to retain the best value should we ever wish to sell it, and also because I have a pride in the vehicles I own, and that includes cars. I couldn't live with a boat that was covered in scratches, was dirty, and had faded paint.
So, I compromise. We do take the boat out, regularly, and it does get scratched as a result. But, I will then spend the next weekend touching up all the lock scars using a tin of blacking paint I keep for that purpose. And, it is the same with the coachwork. If an area requires attention, then it gets it, until it is back to original condition. I also polish the whole superstructure at least twice a year.
The work I have done this weekend is to the area of roof just behind the hatch at the stern entrance. An area of about one foot by six inches had bubbled away. The roof is painted with Craftmaster Oxford Blue anti slip paint, and up to now has been very tough and durable, having been painted new in 2004. I cleaned the area off with some white spirit, rubbed it all down well, undercoated, and re-applied the same paint, (£27 per litre at Nantwich Canal Centre). The thing with the matt anti slip is that after a couple of weeks, the new paint blends in with the old, so the repair can't be seen.
The other work I tackled was a job that has been waiting a while now. The glazing in the front of the cratch is made of acrylic sheet. Over the years it has turned yellow and become opaque. So, I have now removed it and will take it home to use as a template to make a new piece, either from laminated glass, or if that is too expensive, a piece of genuine perspex. While I was stripping it down I also took advantage of the nice weather to rub down and repaint the bow deck area and the front face of the cratch. I will replace the glazed panel next week.
Maybe tomorrow I can relax. No, I am sure I will find something else to tinker with!