A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


So. Many. Windows!

23rd July 2023

People on the canal are so nice! On Friday a Dutch family helped me through some locks, and today I had 4 lovely conversations with boaters and walkers, curious about what I was doing and offering their encouragement. One guy talked about his motorbike from Myanmar in the second world war that he restored; another looked at my glucose monitor and asked if I was diabetic…

Me: “Not diabetic, just curious! I like to see how foods affect me.”
Him: “Ahh I wish I could be curious, unfortunately I am diabetic…”


This week was really wonderful, and I finished installing the 8 saloon windows:

Port side windows installed Starboard side windows installed

I’ll miss having those vast holes in the hull, there was something freeing about them, but it’s a real delight to simply close them when it starts raining as it did on Friday. And only 6 of them leak! That’s 25% of the windows that are watertight — double-digit percentages, which is phenomenal week-on-week growth if you ask me. I’ve ordered some bigger seals for the 4 that open, and I may need some more Sikaflex for the others as well.

With that done on Friday I could focus on the stern, starting with the rest of the wires, and one thing I did break was the bilge bump… at some point I’ll have to dedicate a minute to fixing that: sometimes I forget to re-grease the propeller shaft, and then I’ll hear the “drip, drip” as the engine bay starts filling up. Now it’s a long way from drowing the engine or sinking the boat, but… you know.

I also performed some boat surgery, removing 2 side panels and another one at the stern:

Performing surgery on the boat with an angle grinder

I didn’t cover anything while cutting these out — “It’s only a bit of cutting, what’s the point?” — which I normally do when grinding the rust away with a wire brush. Buoy was that a mistake. I looked up for a second and there it was, the huge dust cloud, and the sweet taste of steel with my dinner.

And were they structural? Let’s hope not; the bottoms were rusted out anyway, and fingers crossed it’s not some Chesterton’s Fence. The port-side panel used to support the boiler, but I’ll move that to the very back as I’d like 1 continuous kitchen countertop. Moving that and the cooker means I have 2 extra holes in the roof to weld shut, and extra holes to cut at some future point.

Next up, removing the big kitchen windows — 2 hours tops, surely, and then I can grind away the rest of the rust. 5 hours later, exhausted, they were gone:

Stern window areas ready for grinding

Removing the first 3 went fine, but I put some pressure on the wrong part of the last one, and, well…

Cracked stern window Stern window in pieces


Until next Sunday!

- Nick

Subscribe to this here blog

A boatful of delight in your inbox, every week.