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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hot Air

Hmm. This whole updating thing still isn't going so well, is it? A combination of a camera full of sand and a cracked laptop screen are definitely limiting my inclination to get online and blog!
We've pinched a louvred vent off a door in a skip to get some airflow through a still corner of the bedroom
Fascinating stuff, I know, but wait; there's more.

We've also stuck one of these little tube heaters under the bed to keep that area drier:

I'm beginning to wonder about how the *perfect* boat heating system would operate. I'm imagining methods for quietly pushing hot air around low level ducts. We're perfectly warm; the stove is brilliant and the radiators cost barely anything to run, but I'm sure there has to be a clever way to get warm dry air to all the little 'dead spaces' in corners and under things...

Friday, October 7, 2011


It's wine time! 

This year we're going for Blackberry: 
And, bizarrely, Marrow. 

But not tomato. The tomato harvest had to come in early 'cos of black fungus:

Friday, July 29, 2011


Haven't posted for a while, have we? We had a hunch we weren't exactly cut out for blogging. On the other hand, I have now ventured onto twitter. I never understood it, but now a change of professional role has made it almost a necessity. @FryerChris . 

The summer holiday has rolled around. Huzzah! We took the opportunity to get up onto the Kennet and Avon for a few days. 
A mooring allowing Simone to combine two great passions; right outside the medieval tithe barn in Bradford upon Avon.
 Another member joins the captain safety club!
 Funny story. Moored at Pulteney wier a few weeks back, we were just about to head to A+E to have my throat looked at (I'd whacked it with the lock key earlier in the day and broken my voice) when a homeless guy on the bank began to yell out in pain because his dog, an american pit bull / staffy cross had pulled his shoulder out of joint. Long story short; in order for him to be able to go to hospital, we ended up looking after said dog, who turned out to be very sweet, until 4am.
 This is Terence, the marina's most unusual occupant.
 We've begun work on painting some of the scratches and knocks on the paintwork. Accordingly, it's raining for the first time in a week.
 Bath deep lock. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
 The tomatoes are coming along very nicely. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ill Culinary Behaviour

Do you ever worry that your cold eggs from the fridge will crack when you put them into boiling water? Worry no more, with the unique, patented, put-one-in-your-mouth-and-shove-the-others-in-your-armpits-to-bring-them-up-to-room-temperature technique. Buy the instructional DVD now! 
 Other, more normal, culinary adventures over the last month or so have included:
 Beetroot and parmesan soda bread. Soda bread is a revelation; from no bread to fresh bread in half an hour.
 The worst looking, but best tasting, meal of the year; haddock in Moroccan spices with chilli, carrot, pumpkin seed and orange juice salad. With chips.
 Tapas night!
 If I could only eat one cheese forever, it would be Manchego. Discuss. Use both sides of the paper if necessary.
 Chorizo in olive oil, honey, and cider vinegar. Amazing.
 Patatas bravas.
Teeny tiny little quiches in teeny tiny little quiche dishes we were given for christmas. Mind, the mobile phone in the background gives the impression that it's an absolutely enormous quiche. Escher, eat your heart out.

Easter Holiday Projects

Easter holidays are here! Hurrah! 
 We found a kayak in the river a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to have belonged to a friend, and before that to a friend of his, but nobody wants it back - there's a kind of communist kayak manifesto operating in and around the marina where it seems all red kayaks are fair game and to be shared by the people.

I've been busy over the last couple of days doing some jobs I've wanted to do for ages.

Some nice shelves to replace the ikea ones that were on the bathroom bulkhead. I got this really nice wood from a reclamation yard in Bedminster for about £1.50 a foot. It's nice to get a bit of 'roughness' and the texture of old wood to offset all the shiny newness of the panels and some of the furniture. The shelves are built around a desk to create a little study corner for Simone:
 I made a matching set of shelves for the bedroom, too.
 It was a real treat to be working with 'new', or rather, fresh, pieces of real wood - pretty much everything else in the boat is built with scrap from the build, which has meant constant struggles with lack of right angles and trying to cut rectangles out of ovals. Plus, the smell when I was cutting the joints was just beautiful.
 Because it's hardwood, rather than the ply that constitutes most of the scrap, I was able to get stuck in to some 'proper' carpentry and cut some housed joints for the ends of the shelves. (This is before I knocked it into place!)
 Then, the next day, it was back to using scrap - this is the remains of the futon, and some shelves from the ikea bookshelf, magically transformed into some drawers to sort out the storage under the bed.

 And as an added bonus, the instruments finally have a home!
In other exciting news, Simone has a sewing machine. If you thought that post about curtains a while back was good, just you wait!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Ext. Day. The Pearly Gates. 

St Peter: So, Chris, tell me what happened.
Chris: Well, there was all this wood just lying around, so we thought we ought to fetch it in for firewood for next year.
St Peter: I see. Where was this wood, exactly?
Chris: (Mumbling) By the weir. 
St Peter: You say by the weir...
Chris: In the weir. 
St Peter: In the weir.
Chris: Mm.
St Peter: So, you were fetching firewood from in the weir....

 A glorious Sunday afternoon spent in the spring sunshine in a tiny dinghy with a friend, sawing enormous logs into enormous pieces with a tiny saw. Grubby knees, close shaves, tired hands, cups of tea, and firewood for months and months.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I don't want to be melodramatic about this, but there's a scene in Sean Penn's film of "Into the Wild" where the icicles on the bus where McCandless is living start to melt, and you can see the excitement of spring warming him back up after the long hard winter. Like I said, I don't want to be melodramatic about this, but I thought you might enjoy that little story.

For the first time this year, it's been light enough to take the boat down to the nearest visitor mooring after work for a glorious evening of peace and quiet. 

 And amazing to wake up in the morning to the light pouring into the boat...

and illuminating Gregory, our little purple shamrock. He died entirely in the frost over Christmas, but has been resurrected. 

We've built a little woodshed to start seasoning some firewood in.

I spent some of half term making these little windows for the front cratch.

And we braved the rain and the slightly-too-high river to take a trip into Bath for the night. This is the view through the rain at Pulteney Wier. 


A Room of One's Own...

When you have a boyfriend whom you love very much, but who plays the banjo, and you're working on a PhD, you sometimes need a little quiet space. We have plenty of space, but it's all joined up. The only space that can be closed off from the rest of the boat is the bedroom. Trying to read lengthy latin monographs on ethics in bed is not a good idea. What we needed, therefore, was an office, in the bedroom. We reviewed several options: 

The Study Bed: 

These are absolute genius. They work on a cantilever mechanism which means you can leave all your stuff in place while you pull the bed down. One day, I might find a way of making something like this work on a boat. 

Renting office space:

Bristol is absolutely brimming with painfully cool ways to rent office space. Except, Bristol wouldn't call it 'renting office space,' they'd call it 'concept zoning' or 'eco studio concept mission' or something. These are wonderful, well lit spaces where artistic types have epistemological conversations on hemp sofas, smoking fairtrade mochachocalattechinos and growing moustaches. 

Selling the banjo: 



Spending an hour listening to the wooshing sound the inside of your head makes as your heart beats furiously towards your inevitable demise is only slightly better than listening to the banjo. 

So, having scrutinised the available solutions, and for purely meritocratic reasons, we settled on a homegrown solution:  Here is Simone at her new desk, which works by the patented Fryer 'one end is propped on the end of the bed and the other slots into some old bits of futon screwed to the shelves with the shoes on' mechanism. Blueprints £5. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Things

We have some new things - the boat is feeling more and more like a home. Each new addition reflects the current economic climate. 

A broomstick and string 'wardrobe'. The string was fivepence a piece from the Crick boat show last year, the broom handle was 20p in a garage sale in Bradford upon Avon. The hooks attaching it to the ceiling were found in one of those icecream tubs that is hiding under the sink of every rented property in the country - the ones with the radiator key, curtain hooks, assorted knobs, and a locked padlock in. 

A little set of shelves to put a laptop on whilst we watch films and to keep a few books and bits on (including a great little lamp from Simone's mum.) We made these, and a second little set of shelves for the bedroom, out of the old shelves that used to be where the 'wardrobe' now is.

 A new sofa, which was rescued from Gumtree and then re-covered with a Chitenje I bought in Malawi. The awful futon that used to be here was taken to pieces and the ends used to make a shelf for the coal to sit under, and the ends of the broomhandle - there's enough timber left to make a new set of bookshelves. Simone is hard at work on her PhD. She is definitely not on facebook.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Oops. Christmas festivities in Cambridgeshire were interrupted by a call from a neighbour to say there was four inches of water in the bottom of the boat. It got down to -12 degrees on boxing day night, apparently, and the subsequent thaw burst loads of pipes on boats all around, and also the thermostat unit in our shower. We'd stupidly left the water pump on, so the crack then emptied our water tank into the boat. 
We were lucky on so many counts: our neighbour heard the pump going and went on and turned it off, the water ran around the sofa, avoided the printer, and damaged pretty well nothing, and about half the water in the tank was frozen so didn't come through. The same neighbour who heard the leak has a great little wet and dry hoover, so a quick hole in the floorboards and we'd soon got all the water out. Since, it's just been a case of keeping the fire going and keeping the boat as warm as possible; we're only too happy to be doing that!