I mentioned in a previous post that one of the attractions of Enceladus was that it was ‘ready to go’. All the hard work and big bills had been taken care of, and the insurance survey Tom Keeling undertook for us merely underlined our good fortune in finding such a cracking example of a historic boat.
But that’s not to see we haven’t made a few changes. Living with a boat for a bit, even if it is just for weekends, high days and holidays, gives you a feeling for what doesn’t quite work or what could be done to make something better or more usable or more comfortable.
So what have we done? Okay, well this might result in my ex-communication from historic boat circles but one of our first tasks was to do something about the weedhatch. I know, I know, what true ex-working boat has one of those! But in my defence, Keith and the former owner had obviously taken advantage of the new counter and popped one in. Only trouble was, they didn’t add a deck hatch and access to it through the back step/coal box was nigh on impossible for all but the slimmest of amoebas. So we sorted a deck hatch. Sorry. Karma will probably give me a showstopping bladeful on the BCN Challenge and you can all point your shunting hooks and laugh derisorily at me then.
The second change – and another laden with expulsion potential – was that we swapped the range in the saloon for a Refleks oil stove. Don’t get me wrong, I love ranges and black the back cabin Epping solicitously but this was a real big old cast iron behemoth (in the style of a Belle portable and bought, I understand, at great expense) that took its time getting up to temperature; so much so that it would just be getting there when we’d need to let it out to go home. As we like cruising in the cooler months, this was starting to niggle a bit (that’s a euphemism for Andy moaning on about it) so we bit the bullet and opted for a Refleks. Curiously, within a week of that decision being taken, Andy was removing the unfeasibly heavy range chimney and the chain he was holding it by came off in his hand and the chimney plunged into the waters of the Old Union, lost and unlamented. Hey-ho, maybe Fate was telling us this was an okay change to make. The other consideration was that the range hearth was BIG – the new installation has given us back nearly a foot of floor space and in a 48ft boat, that is priceless. You can fit another half a greyhound in. We tried the Refleks out over the New Year and it ran faultlessly and toastily for three days on the bounce. As the range had been a previous source of some marital tension, this was a good result. (NB. It’s a 24″ model, just somehow seems bigger and it is in my garage looking for a new home)
The last bit of the works puzzle – for now at least – was to finish off the bathroom. From what I gather (judging by the washing machine, microwave and shoreline only set-up) Enceladus was ‘rebirthed’ as a plugged in liveaboard somewhere for one single male. I know it was one single male because there was no door to the bathroom (which contains a loo and a shower, no basin) and no door or curtain on the shower. Now, how do I put this delicately? Andy and I are pretty relaxed about sharing a bathroom at home but we both felt that here it might just be nicer all round if there was a little bit of additional privacy for those ‘comfort’ moments in life. So we added a door to the list. Then we thought that it was also a good opportunity to tidy up some of the extraneous pipework that had been installed, because the owners had originally opted for a sea-cock as well as a cack tank; and having rationalised the gubbins, to hide it away behind some paneling. And while we were at it, to make use of the extra space now created and fit a much larger cack tank. Isn’t it amazing how these lists grow?
So there, we have invested a few pennies of our own for once, in just a few minor improvements. More pennies will be needed later in the year as the subject of painting, inside and out, hoves into view, but we won’t worry about that just now, we’re going to enjoy the novelty of a bathroom door.