Paraffin, Presents and goodbye Shipwreck

So here we are, a few days in to 2016 and I’d like to have something more momentous to report other than the strong winds, tail end of storm Dave, Eva or Frank or whoever, which ripped the tarpaulin off the frame requiring a morning spent wrestling it back on. But the fact is, for the last month there’s  been nothing more than some ineffectual pottering, inconsequential scraping, untimely stripping, and a morsel of polishing, in fact anything that puts off the moment of biting the bullet and actually starting to laminate frames. “It’s the weather.” I tell myself as another drip finds its way down my collar. “I need a workshop” I mutter as I squelch about in the mud. However, Christmas spending has depleted the workshop building pot to non existence so work will have to continue on a weather permitting basis.

On a more positive note 25 litres of paraffin have found their way into my possession (thank you Brian!) and with this seemingly inexhaustible supply I fired up the old blow torch for some nice warm paint stripping.

Paraffin Blow Torch getting scarily hot
Paraffin Blow Torch getting scarily hot

It’s a bit of a fiddle getting it fired up and it’s heavier than a gas one but there is something satisfying about a tool that’s on its third generation and it certainly keeps you warm!

More paint stripping...
More paint stripping…

It took a couple of hours to get to this stage (below) and there is still many hours of picking, scratching, scraping and sanding to go to get all trace of paint off…. where are my boys when I need them?

Lesson learned here is never paint wood if you might ever want it unpainted!
Lesson learned here is never paint wood if you might ever want it unpainted!

In these dark winter days the interior of Flamingo’s cabin is dim at best. Luckily my lovely wife bought me this old brass lamp for Christmas, with half a dozen more like this I may even be able to read a chart in there….

Despite much rubbing, no boat building genie appeared...
Despite much rubbing, no boat building genie appeared…

The arrival of the paraffin lamp prompted the removal of the nasty lighting and wiring, legacy of a previous owner.

Shoddy cabling...
Shoddy cabling…
Lights and wiring stripped out
Lights and wiring stripped out and all looking much cleaner.

Realising the little lamp was not giving quite the output required for working, I filled up and fired up an old pressure lamp. It adds heat and light in about equal measure and if I had portholes and wash boards in, might have actually made Flamingo, dare I say….. cosy!

Faithful old pressure lamp kicking out the heat
Faithful old pressure lamp kicking out the heat

The extreme weather continued and days of rain culminated in the stream by the house rising about 1.5m in a few hours bringing it perilously close to the house. Remarkably an hour or so after the rain stopped the water level dropped back down to more normal winter levels. Still I think some sand bags might be a wise precaution.

This being the time of year for promises and plans I am adding another resolution to the ‘no alcohol during the week’ one that ‘we’ have decided on. I have shortened and prioritised the mahusive Schedule of Works from September last year, into a smaller, still daunting, but hopefully achievable list of jobs for 2016. I wont bore you with the details, but if I can complete it, I will have a watertight, seaworthy hull before the year is out and Tilly will no longer be able to refer to this project as ‘Daddy’s Shipwreck’.

’til next time…


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