The wintry weather for the last few days has meant that we are deliberately reducing the amount of time we are spending driving. I prefer to move on most days so that we can top the batteries up, that takes somewhere between one and three miles – under an hour. After that, if we have no pressing business (water, milk, bread, buttons etc.) we look for a pleasant mooring and stop.
We picked up a few essentials in Rugeley before setting off. We topped up at the water point and went beyond Armitage – a town with a large factory. I realise now that this is a name I recognise, often written on porcelain and coupled with Shanks, Ideal and Standard. It was misty all day, though we did get a few minutes of blue sky and hazy sunshine late in the afternoon.
Before we bought Bartimaeus, one of Clare’s reservations was the lack of a bolt on the bathroom doors. The bathroom is the route through the boat from the saloon to the bedroom, and from the stern to the bow. If we simply put bolts on both doors, two things could go wrong. Only locking one door could lead to a false sense of security. Only unlocking one door could block the route.
So before we agreed to purchase the boat, I said I would resolve the problem and started thinking about how to build an interlock. I looked at, and rejected electronic locks, and then devised various complex schemes. These gradually got simplified so that they no longer belonged in a Heath-Robinson cartoon. I bought all the parts I required in Edinburgh and brought them down with us in July.
The reduced time spent driving has given me time to concentrate on this long-delayed project. Yesterday I had got the bulk of the mechanism constructed and in need of painting.
During the morning I dismantled it again so that I could more easily paint the awkward bits, and not splat over the chrome.
I enjoy woodwork, but I do miss the undo button, and handy software features, such as “three more of those”, “one of those but narrower”. After a number of false starts, I got something I was happy with. I have now installed the mechanism at the saloon end of the bathroom. A standard bolt is used to to stop that door opening.
When the bolt is operated, the metal rod rotates, exposing a paddle in front of the other door.
I am still waiting for the paint to dry on a cover to make the paddle completely functional.
I’ve reminded Clare of something she read recently. When a man says he’ll do a job, he will do it – there is no need to remind him every three months!