Taking Stock: Weathering St Jude, Progress So Far and What To Do Next

I survived St Jude, ‘patron saint of lost causes’ on my own, as the Owl is in Cape Town this week for work. It was relatively dramatic as storms go, heightened by the Prince of Darkness being taken ill on Saturday afternoon and needing an emergency vet appointment first thing this morning. Fortunately the 9am ‘peak’ happened around 7.30 so I eventually made it safely off the mooring without blowing over and dropping him and his box into the drink. That gangplank is a bastard though, we’ve got to sort it out. In the meantime: a powerful disincentive to drunkenness.


While we were away last week, we took stock of our progress so far on the good ship Maria Elisabeth. In the last few months we have:

– scrubbed everything from top to bottom
– Got running water
– Got electricity (and thereby hot running water)
– Got heating
– Cleared our storage unit
– Found a friendly home for my gigantic lovely bed
– Resealed the leakiest port lights
– Fixed up the table and found dining chairs
Bought new double glazing units for the roof (yet to be installed).

The list of jobs still to go is dizzyingly steep. Nevertheless, by the Spring we aim to have these ones finished:

– clear out or recommission the obsolete tanks from the engine room and behind the bathroom bulkhead
– install a new freshwater tank inside and get rid of the IBC tank
– replace the diesel boiler chimney which is too short and lets water in
– install/ recommission a fuel tank for the engine and central heating boiler, and return Richard’s drums to him
– figure out what we want to do with the bathroom and install an optional black water tank
– pressure-wash the deck, strip and prime any remotely dodgy rusty bits and get it ready to go for spring painting
– sell our lovely great (too big) stove
– Get one with a window and install it on a proper tiled mount and surround with chimney

With any luck, removing the ply tanks behind the bathroom will also give us sufficient access to the lowest part of the bilge so we can clean it out, get it sealed and generally into shape.

That then, is our plan.

In the meantime we’re thinking of attempting a trip up the Thames at some point. Our birthdays? New year’s? Suggestions for central-ish visitor moorings available to lengthy barges on a postcard please.

And: I finally bought my paint, from the completely excellent people at Colour Makes People Happy in East Dulwich. Possibly the most satisfying conversation about paint I’ve ever had, they understood exactly what I wanted AND recommended the world’s best brushes for applying gloss. The war against the Orange Monstrosity is nearly mine!


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