Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

All work and no play! (Or the joys of ownership).

We are nearing the end of our first stay of the year, and it was never about taking the boat out, but more of getting it fit and ready for that, maybe next week.......

We arrived at our mooring last Saturday with the intention of getting one or two jobs done on the boat that have been niggling me since we bought it. The weather hasn't been up to much in any case, and today, Thursday, is the first day we have had sunshine and no rain. We have been warm and cozy enough though, tucking ourselves in after dark with a bottle of wine.

The first job I tackled after arriving was a complete wash down of the exterior, while Margaret made the bed up and did some internal cleaning. The vinyl cratch and cockpit covers were turning green with mould, and the paintwork was starting to fade with the build up of grime. It doesn't take very long for deteriation to set in if these basic jobs are ignored. I also took note of all the little rust spots that have appeared over the winter, and have tackled these today in the sunshine. It doesn't take long for the boat to once again look like a new pin!

The first major job I wanted to tackle was to renovate the seat we have in the semi-trad cockpit. There is only one, (which suits us fine), and it is constructed of external grade oak veneered blockboard, which had already been painted blue, probably due to deteriation in the outside conditions.

It had now started to delaminate along the bottom edge. The repair I decided on might offend some traditionalists, but as it is still basically sound, I decided to clad it in oak finish pvcU, as used to clad the soffits and barge boards on houses. I had some offcuts in the garage, and the repair would be of no further cost. When finished, it would now also be totally resistant to further deteriation due to the weather.

After cutting out the sheets, they were offered up before fixing in place with a timber edge to hide the corner joins.

The timber was then varnished to match, and the vent covers replaced.

The finished job. Well I think it looks great!

Another job that has been bugging me, is that the step inside the boat to the outside front well deck has never been attached to anything. This has resulted in me skating on it as I came back in, usually carrying a bucket of coal. The fix for this was easy, - two brass cabin door hooks to secure it to the hatch of the locker it stands in front of.

The previous owner had also removed the shower pump switch from its original position and put it into the shower cubicle itself, so the pump could be switched on and off whilst in the shower itself. This is something I didn't find necessary, so I returned it back to its rightful place after obtaining a new double rocker switch on a brass panel from Nantwich Canal Centre.

The new switch back in place.

The switch I removed, a standard car dash switch, and this was on a panel in the shower cubicle!

Today, in the sunshine, I have completed all the engine bay checks, as well as tightening the bolts on the stern tube gland. Although it wasn't yet dripping when we were stopped, I had noticed last year that the amount of water that had gathered in the container I keep under it, had increased, and had started to overflow after a days cruising. Hopefully this will have cured it. On this type of gland, greased packing, the aim is for 2 or 3 drips of water a minute while the shaft is turning, with none when stopped. It is important though to ensure that it is not overtightened, which would cause the shaft to overheat. When tightened, just check that the shaft still turns freely by hand.

These are the two gland adjustment bolts. The pipe is the grease feed from the grease gun, a daily task of 1 or 2 turns to keep lubricated while cruising.

Engine bay work included checking the battery electrolyte levels, checking the coolant and engine oil level, and I also gave the base plate another coat of red oxide paint. For this you have to be a contortionist!

In a previous post I mentioned that a nearby listed bridge had been damaged by a vehicle, and repairs were now underway. They have now been completed to a good standard, as can be seen here.

Well, I said all work and no play. That is not strictly true. We had a great night out at the Red Melon Indian Restaurant on Welsh Row on Tuesday evening.  The restaurant opened in July last year in premises that had previously served Thai food. It opened, after full refurbishment, in competition to a long established Indian restaurant up the road, The Indian Ocean, which has a dedicated following of customers due to its very high standards. However, in my opinion the Red Melon is just as good if not better. The internal decor, being refurbished only last year, make the surroundings much more pleasant. The owner is also very friendly and will talk with you at your table between courses. Tuesday night is also special Balti night at £9.95 per person for 5 courses, - bargain!

The Red Melon, Welsh Row.

The Tuesday Special menu. £9.95pp!
Red Melon Indian Restauramt on Urbanspoon

All in all a very enjoyable week. We can now return next weekend to a boat that is fit and ready to go and to do what we want with.

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