Well, I said Swallow was as finished as I was going to get her… but then today, my last day in Todmorden before setting off to Manchester, I got the DIY bug again.
I had a HUGE piece of plywood that I’d bought a while back – far too expensive to waste. My sort-of landlord Hugh helped me to cut it down into manageable pieces and we made a few bits and bobs for the boat.
1. New steps
The steps Dad and I made right on that very first working-on-the-boat day back in Chester, August 2013, had become pretty rotten thanks to a leaky window (now fixed!) So we made some nice new ones. I had plenty of red paint left from Swallow’s exterior job, so painted them up – they look pretty smart now!
One thing that’s hard to get used to about living on a boat is that there is always a small amount of water in the bilge. It just gets there somehow. So I dried out the space under the top step and fitted a nice enamel bread-bin where I could keep vegetables and fresh – it’s much cooler in there and works nicely.
I hadn’t paid much attention to the entrance way so it was still quick-fix ply and rotten wood from before I had bought Swallow.
Emma made me a new gearstick board last week but it wasn’t fixed to anything, it rocked around dangerously. I covered up areas where roof insulation was showing through with some boards of ply, and found a gorgeous piece of leftover wainy-edged oak from Emma’s boat. It’s not a permanent solution, but it keeps the control panel and gear stick boards from moving around and looks pretty lovely.
4. Sink splashback
The sofa backed straight on to kitchen shelving with pots and pans, and the sink above had no splashback, so I fitted a nice piece of white-painted ply here. It makes a nice sort of half-bulkhead, making the living room area feel more contained, and protects the sofa from splashes from the sink.
With some cheap white emulsion, I gave the entire interior a quick coat, which brightened everything up. The bedroom looks especially spiffy with nice new bedclothes :)
6. 12v phone charger
I also finally fitted one of my 12v cigarette lighter sockets – something I’ve been meaning to do for months. Ideally there will be several (I have the sockets in a box) but I quickly fitted one today so we would be able to charge phones on our journey with a USB ‘car charger’.