Sunday, October 30, 2016

Up and Down...stairs, ceilings and other jobs

This past week I've been up and down to Rotterdam like a yoyo, yet somehow I've managed to get a few things done besides the normal paid job.

I don't know if any of you remember, but this time last year, I wrote a post reflecting on my watery life, in which I described how I would just gaze around my barge looking for all the ways I could improve it. Funnily enough, it's become my most-read-post ever and still gets a steady trickle of views as the months goes by.

Anyway, in that post, one of the jobs I said I wanted to do was to neaten up the panelling above my bed and re-paint it. There was a gap in the middle where one of my offspring had removed a section but not replaced it, and following a shuffle round with the wall that covered the water tanks, the electricity cable was left running across the middle of the ceiling where previously, it had been behind said wall.

Rather a noisy photo, but the gap is now filled

It's taken me all these months since then to decide how to sort it out, but I've finally done it. Over the past few weeks, I've moved the cable to the edge of the ceiling, repaired the gap in the ceiling with a nice piece of trimmed wood, filled in the plethora of screw holes and painted everything a creamy colour instead of the green it used to be. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, like most things boaty, it took a lot longer than I thought it would, and was much more work and much less efficiently done than my  imagination had...erm...imagined? Even now, I might say it's finished, but it isn't really. I would still like to have a conduit or housing for the electricity cable, but I haven't yet found one big enough. I might need to improvise, though, as I did in fact buy one, but it wasn't deep enough for the cable which is quite thick, and I haven't seen another one with the right dimensions.

Everything is now painted a creamy white instead of green
Another job I've managed to do is to put a shelf in the top part of my hanging cupboard. I realised fifteen years down the line (I don't rush these things, do I?) there was some wasted space in there as I don't wear long coats and dresses. It occurred to me (better late than never) that an extra shelf would come in really handy. So, after lowering the hanging rail, it was a quick matter to find a piece of left over wood in my store and make this shelf. And guess what? It's already fully occupied and it's only been there a couple of days. What's that they say about always filling your environment to capacity? As a footnote to this, I've also repaired one of my stair treads which had virtually collapsed under a long ago visitor's weight. For several months, I've been harping on a bit like the London Underground's 'Mind the Gap' man with my own version of the mantra called 'Mind the Step'.  I even thought of recording it and setting it to play any time anyone opened the hatch, but I didn't get round to that either. As a result the hammer and nails were out in full force this week and not before time.

Last but not least, I was inordinately excited to receive a package in this week's post containing a very small, but hopefully powerful fumigation 'bomb' to finally put the mockers on the woodworm in my little back cabin. It probably sounds a bit sad to be so excited about something so utilitarian, but believe me, this is a problem that's been occupying my mind and energy for so much time, I'm hugely relieved to have what I hope is a real solution to the problem. Even better, I activated it this morning with much ceremony, aplomb and coughing. After a couple of hours of letting it all penetrate every part of the cupboards and ceiling (during which time I beat a hasty retreat),  I now feel I can get on with replacing the floor and putting the room back in use. Before that happens, however, I think I'll have to give everything a detox first. I've used so much woodworm killer in it I'm risking ending up like a doomed bug myself...on my back with my legs in the air! I actually hate using persticides, but it was really necessary in this case as I have already completely lost the floor to the little burrowers and was in danger of losing the original cupboards and panels as well. This will, I'm praying, be the end of it.

So...are you all now totally enthralled with my Mrs Fixit activities? Yes? Haha, I know the real answer to that. Suffice to say, it all fits in with my aim to make sure I do something for the barge every week. In a way, I'm glad it's never finished, and never will be really. Planning, preparing and doing all these small jobs is my relief from work. While I'm teaching, I rarely have time to write, so these DIY efforts are my relaxation and also my reward. And did I mention that I love my barge? I do, and with something approaching fanaticism, but I try not to be too noisy about it.

Just to finish off by looking back to my last year's post, I now wonder what I'll have done by this time next year? I have so many plans it'll be interesting to see how many of them make it to reality!

Have a good week everyone!

14 comments:

  1. My what a busy bee you have been. It must have been hard painting I over the bed. I think I once had a sundress the same pattern as your duvet cover! It's funny how you can easily fill shelves or cupboards that haven't been there before. We've ordered wardrobes from Ikea. We already have a set but we have space for another set and probably won't be very long until they're full,but first we have to build them,that will be fun.

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    1. How perceptive of you, Anne! Yes, it was quite difficult to paint over the bed. Good luck with your Ikea cupboards! I think we are like Goldfish. We grow (or our stuff does) to fit the space we have ;)

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  2. What diameter is your cable Val because I am thinking that the conduit that might be used is some PVC water pipe ?

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    1. I'll have to measure it, Mel. I took a guess before, but yes, water pipe might do the trick indeed :)

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  3. You are, indeed, Mrs Fixit. (I look round my house and list all the things I need someone else to help me with!!)

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  4. Well done, Val! It's immensely pleasing to get jobs like those crossed off the list isn't it? But hang on, you're a boater - surely new jobs have crept onto the list in their place!? :-)

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    1. Too true, Roger :) The list keeps growing faster than I do the jobs...I bet you know thhat feeling!

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  5. You are all together amazing & lovely, Val. Love your innovative approaches to problems & agree totally that those bugs had to go! How did they get on a barge in the first place? They must be able to swim. Your life, like your books, could never be boring.

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    1. Good question, Steph! I don't know how they get in...but they couldn't stay. I'm just glad there aren't any steel worms! Thank you for your kind words, dear!

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  6. I am awe-struck with admiration,Val.

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    1. It's a case of needs must, Caro, but thank you!

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  7. Like Carol above, I am always in awe about how practical you are. I wouldn't even know where to start tackling some of the jobs that you do. I do know the sense of satisfaction that you get when you have got something out the way that you have been meaning to do for ages. I laughed out loud at the the thought of you on your back with legs in the air!! Xxx

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    1. I laughed at it myself, Fran, and yes, it is satisfying. I know you know because of the amazing job you've done in making your barge such a beautiful home xxx

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