Friday, we made a trip with a very full car to make the first delivery to the boat of the many, many boxes we have of contents which we deem necessary for a comfortable boat living! A couple of weeks ago we finally decided that three car loads would be needed so, with one trip next week for the launch and another the following week for the handover, an extra trip was necessary. In any case, we wanted to be sure that we would have enough space on the third trip for all the things we normally take for a cruise - including supplies from our favourite local butcher, Gary Dutton. At one stage it was just going to be Mike making the round trip in the day but Christine decided to come as well and also to stay over for a night on the way back. To break the journey we booked a room at the Holiday Inn in Filton, near Bristol, just off the M4.
As soon as we arrived at Stafford after a reasonably uneventful journey (despite some potentially dodgy coffee milk from a service station on the way) Mike unloaded the boxes whilst Christine went straight to look inside the boat - with Phil very keen to point all the little features which he is including.
Here are some photos - new small camera (Canon IXUS) so still working out how best to use it. Taking photos of the inside of a boat is not easy and we have admiration for magazine professional photographers that make it look so easy:
Outside first - the registration number is now on. Len has also added the lining to the bow. There are still a few bits left to be done this weekend including the deck and gunnel non-slip.
The roof is now complete - the third item from the front is the radio aerial inlet. Barely visible at the back is the pole and gangplank stand which we debated on the last visit just where it should be fitted.
The front twin bedroom - the floor has been finally fitted here, although that in the main cabin was removed after all the pieces were cut to size so that the ballast can be adjusted once on the water. This was the first time had had a chance to walk on it, the combination of the Karndean and a thicker ply supporting layer make it feel very comfortable, quite supple.
The three internal doors are in place and we can now get a feel for how each cabin will be when in use.
Most of the bathroom is now complete - the shower and surround are in but the shower door is left until last to avoid damage! The wall covering for the shower is quite unusual. As the detail photo captures it has a kind of ridged surface.
Three details from the main bedroom. The first shows a set of shelves alongside the bed which we found before to be very useful. The second is the overhead unit with two downlights and the third the door into the main cabin.
New details from the main cabin: the first shows the detail Phil gives to the joinery - here the top edge of the main cabin cupboard and tv unit. (Not shown, the tv screen is in place but yet to be cabled in). We have shown the freezer before but here the lid is complete with the top lid of the freezer itself attached to the underneath of the pull up cover. Of course this will mean removing the cushion first! (The upholstery and curtains are due for delivery next week so we hope to see them at the launch)
The steps, both at the front and rear, have hinged treads. Under the top rear step, as we have reported before, we have a couple of rubbish bins.
The galley has just a couple of drawers - here the one over the fridge space is intended as a cutlery drawer.
The multifuel stove is almost complete - promised not to show the top of the flue as there is just a piece of cardboard where the final heat resistant cover has to go! Also, an upstand has to be fitted to the front granite floor to comply with current regulations, otherwise it would have had to be extended some way into the cabin.
We also talked about the space underneath. You can just about see our previous idea as a store for Tippy, the ash pan, but Phil has now suggested fitting the space as a coal and firelighter drawer - we will have to find somewhere else for Tippy, perhaps in one of the rear steps.
Not pictured but the two wine stores have been completed with stainless steel bases. All we have to do is find a very shallow rack to stop the bottles rattling around!
David, one of Phil's team, was working hard on finishing the connections to the engine which went in yesterday - they are part of a day behind on that as the final engine bay coat of paint took longer than expected to harden. So we could not take a closer look at the stern area. Most is done but the fuel lines are still missing and then the control cables have to be adjusted. He was also cutting another hole in the side but we forget to ask what it was for!
At the front, Phil has fitted out the locker over the bow thruster tube (you cannot now see that as it is under the floor) As you can see, it has been constructed specially to take the required anchor. The rope and chain are in the space at the bottom along with the rest of the cruising kit that is supplied with the boat. (One of our boxes contains our own set of lightweight and long throw windlasses as well as alternatives to mooring pins)
And finally a look at the newly fitted 18 x 12 propellor - hopefully we shall only see it briefly once more, just before it goes under water. Of course we will no doubt have to feel it when we de-weed! The unique weed hatch of Tyler Wilson is something we have yet to see how it goes!
We tried to keep the disruption of our visit to a minimum and left after just over an hour, with a surprisingly trouble free trip down the motorway to the hotel. We adjourned in the evening to Bella Italia just across the road (the hotel does not have a restaurant) and enjoyed slightly different menu items. The next morning we left after breakfast (which is on-site) before a further unimpeded trip back home. We called first at ASDA alongside the restaurants to pick up another bathroom mug - we found some rather good looking ones the evening before but overnight Christine decided we needed more! We did have to make an unscheduled diversion on the way to a service station as Mike could not remember whether he had picked up the camera before leaving. At first it could not be found, only to be recalled in Mike's pocket!