Thursday, 11 April 2013

The inside blog - painting and decorating.

Over the winter we have spent a lot of time working on the boat, finishing off some jobs and improving some things like storage. The inside certainly looks different now to when we moved onboard back in Topsham.


Tarquilla was built in Bristol, England in 1975 by her previous owners family and it’s obvious how much he cared about and looked after her. In more recent years however she has started to show her age a bit. Whilst sitting on the mooring at Falmouth she did suffer from damp as there were several leaks in the roof and in common with all boats condensation is a problem. Over a few stormy nights at Topsham we slowly identified the cause of most of the leaks and worked out where buckets needed to be put in rain storms, then slowly since then the leaks have been fixed.


We have been working on the inside of the boat since we moved on as all families do when moving to a new home, even if the house has been decorated just for sale the urge to decorate to your own tastes and needs is strong. As a family of 5 plus a dog our storage needs and the number of bunks required were also different to those of the previous owner. We have lockers filled with kites, paddling pool and large dumper trucks and a cupboard previously used for spare parts for the boat has been given over to games, paper and craft stuff.


The cockpit got a good clean, a lick of paint and a good sort out of storage (some of you may remember large quantities of wood being stored there for a while. Gradually more handholds have been added and a couple of useful steps to make getting in and out easier for those with shorter legs – whether 2 or 4!


In the galley (kitchen) the carpet had to be removed as it had suffered for being under several leaks. The floor and walls have all been painted (white walls, beige floor for those interested in such things), storage baskets replaced and the whole room scrubbed through. Apart from a lick of paint little else needed doing in there, mainly we have just sorted storage space, we hope at some point to sand down and repaint the worktop.


Our room has a normal size and shape double bed which is unusual for a boat but a great bonus and means we were able to keep our ‘normal’ mattress (although getting it to and then onto, the boat was not a simple task!). The carpet and headboard had to be removed because of damp but otherwise with bleach and paint and the addition of our ‘nick knacks’ there was not a great deal needed other than removing the toilet and sink – useful? Maybe for some, but for us, not as useful as the space to keep bikes in.


In the saloon (living room) we had to remove the chair cushions which had suffered from damp but replaced them with foam covered in fleece loose covers – really easy to wash or take off when something gets spilt. The room needed painting so got a coat of fresh white with some dragonfly (greenyblue) bits. The dog settled nicely into the cubby hole under the chart table and on the odd occasion that she sleeps in her own bed that is where it is with her bowls, tucked out of the way to avoid too many spill (the bowls that is not the dog, she does not spill just dribbles).

Storage has developed over the months and we have book shelves around the walls under the chart table for all the ‘boaty’ related books and more shelves in the back corridor for children’s books. The addition of curtains made by Nanny and our various bits and bobs have made it all much more ‘homey’. We have additional bits which most houses don’t have like fire extinguishers in every room, lifejackets and lifelines hanging in the cockpit, a steering wheel and some storage areas contain useful items like water tanks, sails and gas bottles.


In the wet room, in addition to painting the room, the old sea toilet has been removed and replaced with a composting version. Amongst other things this means that we can use the toilet on the boat when we are in marinas as we are not emptying waste into the sea, in many countries including Spain the discharge of sewage is illegal so many boats without holding tanks cannot use their on board facilities. With three young boys on board this has been brilliant when the nearest toilets are a 10 minute walk away.


We’ve now finished decorating the boy’s new room. As they grew their original bunks were becoming too small and as the storage became more organised (and we kept getting rid of more bits – thanks lovely family for taking in all our stuff!) it made more sense to swap around the front area of the boat and the back cabin with a bit of carpentry, cleaning and decorating thrown in including the removal of another sink. I’m sure you are familiar with the chaos caused around the whole house when one room is emptied, now imagine emptying the contents of two rooms in a living space of 30 foot by 20 foot, it makes getting around quite tricky for a few days. We are all glad to have everything stowed away properly again and the boys are thrilled with their new room.


The main difference to the inside is that we are now dry when it rains! Although the roof no longer leaks in common with all boats we have to watch out for condensation and mildew – nothing is left pushed against an edge or crammed in as ventilation space is so vital. A handy pot of bleach and liberal use of surface wipes keeps most of the shrubbery at bay.


And that’s it, our home.



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