A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


The day where weeks happen

13th August 2023

Yesterday was one of those days where weeks happen, thanks to a wonderful man named James. But first, the week started by finishing the primer on the kitchen window frames, cutting 3 steel disks for the holes in the roof and side, and removing the hatch and doors:

Removed hatch and doors

It certainly opens the boat a little more, and on Wednesday I picked up the 2 new kitchen windows:

New kitchen windows

By Thursday it was time to move, and I set sail in search of some power to weld. After going through two locks with a family and receiving class B drugs as thanks, I reached Stockton that afternoon and asked around for a plug socket. I soon met James, the owner of Stockton Dry Dock, and we started talking boats; he was curious about this project, and couldn’t help but laugh when I showed him. We joked about the missing windows and doors, the rusty roof, the illegal gas bottle sat next to my fridge, but I felt a kindred spirit with this ex-programmer. He asked if I was around on the weekend, and said he’d like to help with removing those holes in the roof.

Come Saturday afternoon we’re moving the boat into the mouth of the dock and it’s all kicking off, starting with the chimney section after cleaning the area and cutting a new plate:

James welding chimney plate Welded chimney plate

There were 14 bits to weld, and I did a little, but it’s James I have to thank for doing a wonderful job on the rest, including 3 big holes in the roof and side where vents used to be:

Old cooker vent ![Old boiler vent(/media/old-boiler-vent.jpeg)

And the welding did look cool from inside (remember not to stare directly at the arc):

Side hole welding

It’s weird to describe how happy it makes me to look at a piece of steel where sunlight used to shine through. By JOVE is it wonderful; a huge milestone on Project Watertight, and the rest feels like a cakewalk in comparison. There’s also Project Antirust, which shall resume after the rainfall tonight…

And by reader request, here’s a photo of my kitchen with a salmon salad underway, my evening staple:

Camping kitchen, number 2

Until next Sunday!

- Nick

Subscribe to this here blog

A boatful of delight in your inbox, every week.