Monday, 18 October 2010

Eye eye captain

Vicky got something in her eye last week and it never quite stopped hurting. On Saturday she got something in her other eye and that's been hurting like mad. So after dosing them with Optrex for days she finally surrended and went to the GP. Who sent her to the A&E because only hospitals have the equipment to properly examine your eyes.
Result: she has scratches on both her eyes.
So now she's putting drops in my bad eye and I'm putting drops in hers!

Eyes right

We've been on land for a few days so I can have my second cataract operation. The first was eye opening -literally. When the eye patch came off I was staggered at how bright the world was, how vivid the colours, how far I could see.
The second one could never match that impact but even so it's pretty good to have two decent eyes to look through. And a side benefit is that I'm not allowed to do any heavy work for a month so it's been feet-up, daytime tv, dvds and Lee Child books for me!
It's a curious operation is the cataract one - scary to contemplate but actually very similar to going to the dentist. In fact it's quicker than having a filling. And even less painful.
After a few preliminary eye drops to dilate your pupil, you walk into the operating theatre fully clothed, lie on the table, have a protective sheet put over your face, a few more drops to numb the eye then "keep staring at the microscope light please" and off we go. You see nothing except a bright light. You feel nothing. At all.
And believe me, there is no temptation to move your eye or your head!
Ten minutes later it's done. A protective eye pad is put over the eye and you can stroll off. Well, actually you have to hang around for a while to check all is well before heading home.
Next day the eyepatch comes off and the new sharper, brighter world gradually comes into view.

History in a hinge

Way back in 1790 a certain Mr Gold started a firm in Birmingham making hinges. It was quite successful. More successful than Mr Gold was at gambling. And to pay off a particularly heavy gambling debt he gave away his company.
And the descendants of the person he gave it to still run it. In Tamworth, just down the road from Streethay. As we discovered when we went in pursuit of new hinges for Harry's doors.
Gold & Wassall ia a wonderful place, full of clattering machines stamping out every conceivable sort of hinge. Crowded with boxes of finished ones. Hinges that you never knew existed. Hinges so curious looking it's hard to imagine how they work. Hinges so heavy you can hardly hold them and so delicate you admire their fineness. Bespoke hinges - like our 30 withe their phosphor bronze pins - or standard ones by the hundred and thousand.
So if you want a hinge you know where to look.

The work goes on

Tug decks are nice to sleep under but nasty to work under, as I discovered when hauling out all the old burnt rubbish and Mark has now discovered too. He's been cramped up in the bow welding in a new gas locker bulkhead and looking less comfortable than a Chilean miner.
Meanwhile we've been taking a fresh look at the state of the exterior of the boat. The original plan was to have it grit blasted but looking at the amount of new steel we've put in and the condition of the rest of the boat, well we've had second thoughts.
A grit blast would cost around £3000, allowing for the craning and transport to the blaster. That buys a lot of wet and dry paper. So we're going to do it the hard way but the cheap way. And as you can see, Vicky has already started...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

And this is our new gas locker lid

Another smart piece of fabrication by Mark.

Our new roof

This is our new roof - well it will be in a few days when five or six strapping Streethay-ites have hefted it into place and Mark has welded it up.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The light stuff

Excuse the excrutiating pun but with the sides filled in and a new roof about to go on the interior of Harry will resemble a steel tomb.
Which is why we want one of these.

There was a large steel pigeon box in the saloon roof before the fire twisted it to bits but it must have dripped condensation all over the place so we want to go the hardwood route.
If we can find someone who will make it – because with my sawing skills I'm certainly not going to try.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

We're off!

It's all finally happening. Tug Harry has gone into the workbay here at Streethay and repair work has begun. And now the flag has dropped the accelerator has been floored and everything is happening at high speed.
On day one the fire twisted side panel was repaired. What looked an ugly kink sprung back straight after just a single cut with the grinder - it's remarkable all the tension that hides in such seemingly placid lengths of steel.
Next day our talented fabricator Mark began re-fitting the recessed cabinside panels – despite the suggestion from a few observers that we could have left the spaces as big picture windows. Well maybe but Everest double glazed tugs aren't very traditional.
And after the side panels went in the roof came out. Mark welded in some cross braces to hold the shell in shape then applied the cutting torch to the fire twisted front third of the roof and soon Harry was a convertible.
Meanwhile we've been working away in the engine room. I've relocated the tanks and pump from the rear to the forward bulkhead, making access to the non-corridor side of the engine much easier and got part way through re-plumbing. But Vicky has made the real difference. She's cleaned and re-painted the smoke stained walls and has been meticulously cleaning and re-painting the engine in the correct shade of Lister Mid Brunswick Green. It's half done now and already looks cracking.
There's plenty more to do (understatement of the decade??) but now work has begun we've both cheered up and can see a dim pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel ahead.