Saturday, December 15, 2007

All Quiet

Syncopation is still afloat. I checked yesterday to make sure. No progress, as expected. I now have the first draft of the final plan for the interior layout. The bedroom at the rear of the boat still needs some thought as to where cupboards are going to go. Work is expected to recommence at the beginning of January with the installation of the engine. There is a small amount (a pint at most) of water in the cabin bilge, from condensation on the houdini hatches. With three of them, condensation can be an issue. This is something we will have to bear in mind when we are using the boat and make sure there is plenty of ventilation.

Friday, December 07, 2007

He can Jump

I think Arrow must be near full size now. He's a little over six months old:

His training is also coming along. Cathy started on the remote control commands at training class today. He has to lie down at a distance. This is new for him as all rewards have been given to him by one of us so he's used to coming to us for his reward. Now he's learning to lie down on cammand at the other side of the room and has his reward thrown to him. He also jumps for treats:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dog with a New Bed

Arrow has chewed up a double blanket he was given for a bed so we bought a new bed for him from the market:
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And a new toy to distract him from chewing his bed.

This one has a hole in the middle where you can hide treats so that it's rewarding for the dog to play with. The only problem is that Arrow keeps losing it under the sofa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monmoth and Brecon

I'm here near Brecon on a school trip. Dominic and I are enjoying the fresh air and open spaces of mid-Wales at Woodlands outdoor education centre in Glasbury. On the program are hill walking, canoeing and caving. We went canoeing on the Monmouth and Brecon canal today. We were last here a couple of years ago for a holiday on the Mon and Brec with Castle narrowboats when we took our hired boat from Gilwern to Brecon and back. Sadly however the canal is closed to navigation (except canoes) for what may be a long time after the recent breach at Gilwern.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Potato Hound

Some people have dogs that do useful jobs like herd sheep or find truffles. Arrow digs up potatoes from the garden. We had a patch of potatoes that self-seeded from the remains of the compost heap. Last year we harvested them and this year there were enough left to grow another small crop. I'm not sure if potato digging is a useful activity for a young dog. He doesn't eat them but most emerge badly scarred with claw marks.

Here he is, resting after his labours.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Syncopation's baseplate has now been cleaned and blacked inside, ready for ballasting. The lining has been oiled and given a coat of varnish to protect it during fit-out. Nothing significant is likely to happen for a couple of months as the boatyard are going to be busy with winter maintenance of the fleet of shared ownership boats based there.

Checking the stern tube.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lined Out

Syncopation now has full set of windows and Houdini hatches. The shell is now weather proof and the first stage of the interior fittings have gone in; the lining. Ash faced plywood sheets have been fixed to all the interior surfaces. The lining has received a preliminary coat of varnish to protect it during the fit-out. These sheets will be removed and replaced during the next phase, the electrical cabling installation. We have finalised the locations of light fittings, switches and electrical sockets. Now the shell is weather proof the engine can be installed so Syncopation will move back into the dock soon for engine installation, skin fittings for the plumbing and another coat of primer for the winter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Syncopation has been spray foamed inside. The foam has been cut back where it covered the battens attached to the inside of the shell to take the lining.

As of this morning, half of the windows had been fitted (all the square ones) and the rest of them (the portholes) should have been fitted. The lining has been marked out and is ready to fix to the battens as soon as the windows are in place. The engine 'ole has been painted with smooth Hammerite.

The final interior plan is due to be completed this weekend as we make our preferences for the placement of electrical sockets and lights.

Large Box

I saw a large box in the yard at the boat fitters' last time I was there and although I had been told our engine was delivered on the same day as the shell I didn't connect the two. For a narrowboat engine this shipping crate is huge.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Londinium Pedo

This event is held every year in the City of London, organised with its sister event the Miglia Quadrato by the United Hospitals and University of London Motor Club. Participants follow a series of clues that lead around a course divided into a number of sections that cover the City of London. There are six sections and all are timed. To win contestants must correctly answer the maximum number of questions without incurring a time penalty. Failure to complete a section in the time allotted means that you miss time from the next section.
We entered the family event which has a reduced number of clues per section compared to the full event. Typically seven or eight answers were required instead of eleven or twelve per section. Answers are usually parts of inscriptions or signs, some clearly visible others not so easy to find.
We entered the whole family, including the dog. We managed two sections with the complete team but only two of us (and Arrow) completed the course. Dominic twisted his ankle on a kerb and had to retire. Cathy took him and Ewan home early.
This is the second year we have taken part and I am eagerly awaiting the results because last year we dropped out after four sections.

Tired Dog - home at last

Saturday, October 06, 2007

In Primer

Syncopation is now wearing her first paint scheme - grey primer. This is the traditional scheme for narrowboats during fitting out. The Sprayfoam man is due on Wednesday 10th October.

Grit Blasted and Primed

Syncopation's shell has now been blasted and the bare metal surface coated with epoxy primer. The gunwhales and the areas below the water line have been blacked with a bituminous compound.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

TSA Conference

We went to the TSA conference. Dominic had a chance to meet lots of other people with Tourette's and we were able to hear three very informative and potentially useful talks by a teacher with Tourette's, Professor Mary Robertson and from the Trust's education expert. Some of this information we put to immediate use for Dominic's upcoming 11+ test.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dog in a Box

Arrow is growing out of his box bed. He has had a series of cardboard boxes as beds because of his habit of chewing his bed. When he gets over the chewing phase he can have a proper permanent dog bed to sleep in.
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Balloon Release (not)

Siobhan's school had its official rebranding ceremony. They have amalgamated two infant schools to make a single primary school catering for children up to 11 years of age on two separate sites.

The local MP (John Bercow) came to cut the ribbon.
Originally the ceremony was planned to end with the release of helium balloons. The RSPCA advise against releasing balloons (even though the material the balloons are made from is entirely bio-degradable) because of the potential harm to wildlife. The balloons were released on a tether and then pulled back down to earth.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Progress Planned

Syncopation is now at the boat yard. The shot blasting man is booked for next week. He will take 3-4 days to process the hull which will be immediately painted with several coats of epoxy primer to prevent corrosion.
Spray foam insulation has been booked for Monday 8 October so after that it's all systems go!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Arrow has to check the dishwasher whenever it is open. Dishwashers are a great source of food scraps.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Custard and Designer Footwear

Ewan has been busy designing his own footwear, available soon in quality footwear emporia near you:

And this was recently discovered next to his bed :

Friday, September 14, 2007

Overnight Stop

Plan A was to move the shell 20 minutes down the cut to the boat yard. Unfortunately the wind , orientation and size of the shell proved to be too much for the day-boat used to tow, so it has been tied up outside the marina at Gayton overnight until a larger boat can be brought up for the tow.

Here's the skin tank. It is basically a radiator that provides cooling for the boat's engine. Being made of metal the hull will conduct heat to the water of the canal. Hot water from the engine is passed through this thin tank on the inside of the hull and is cooled by the canal.

Stern gland.

This is the part of the boat where the propellor shaft passes through the rear of the hull. You can see the shaft at the centre. The stern gland is the housing around the shaft and contains specially made rope that is packed in lengths around the shaft and grease is forced in to prevent water getting past the rope and also to lubricate the shaft so that it can spin freely.

Afloat at Last

The shell for Syncopation was delivered and craned in to the canal this afternoon. Tim Tyler's steel work looks fabulous with plenty of detail to please the eye.Lifting off the lorry.


First Voyage - being towed to the boatyard.

First Bath

Arrow was getting rather smelly, so we bathed him. He was not too keen on the idea but was persuaded to stay in the bath long enough for us to get the job done:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Full of Energy

It's Arrow again. Full of energy as ever. This picture catches a little of his seemingly boundless energy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Rare View

Here's another rare view in London. They've just demolished the building at the end of Cheapside, revealing the eastern end of St Paul's cathedral. This view will only be visible for a few months because no site in the City remains empty for long. The building that was there previously looked as if it was built in the early fifties.

Martin's Travels

A former colleague and friend is about to emigrate to Australia. But first he's going to travel around a bit. In a Maserati! Here's his blog.


Syncopation will be craned in on Friday afternoon. This has been confirmed with the crane man so I'm taking the day off work to go and watch and take some photographs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Syncopation is Coming!

We have been told the shell for our narrowboat will (probably) be craned in to the canal next Thursday.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More Puppies!

Brian's other female dog has had 9 puppies. Here she is, with the puppies at 11 days old:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What Was He Thinking?

When I got the shopping back from the supermarket this morning and we were unpacking it, Ewan was caught heading for the garden with a packet of tea and a spoon. What he intended to do in the garden with those two things we will never know because he was intercepted at the back door and the contraband removed from his person.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


In the garden there are holes where part of the lawn used to be.

And here's the culprit taking a rest after all that effort.

He went to the vet today to have his vaccination booster shot. He's allowed to meet other dogs in a week's time. He's also had a chip implanted so that he can be indentified if he gets lost.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Growing Dog.

He likes sand

And Socks

He also likes to eat snails in the garden but I don't have a picture of that yet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

He Likes Shoes

Cathy's sandals now have teeth marks in their straps. I've been told a new pair are required. He also likes folds in fabric and today he destroyed the power cable for Cathy's laptop.

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