Sunday, 11 March 2018

Bathroom Progress 1

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

We managed to grab rather less than 2 days on board last week, allowing me to make a start on the bathroom rebuild.

In this case the pictures can largely tell the story so far, and further words probably don't add much, other than saying that things didn't always go as smoothly or as fast as I was hoping they would.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Seriously Gratifying Wanton Destruction!

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Ever since I saw the oversized bath in "Flamingo" I have hated it, (see previous post).

We have already reclaimed about 3 feet of main cabin space by reducing the bathroom back to the size that it was before the previous owner decided to modify it from "very large" to "ridiculously large".  As a temporary arrangement we had simply moved the bath 3 feet further forward as well - it could be used as a large shower tray, at least, and we had more urgent tasks to attend to.

Now, however, we were ready to start a refit, and replace the bath with something not taking up such an excessively large part of our total accommodation.

We knew a great deal of damage had been done getting it into the boat.  The only way in had been through a side hatch, but it wasn't big enough, and quite a bit of the ceiling lining had been hacked away to make it possible - damage that was never repaired, and is still with us.  So I was not prepared to do further damage, or risk my repairing hernia operation to try getting it out in one piece.

So out came the angle grinder.  I knew ground up GRP would make a mess - and it did.  However I have to say this bit of wanton destruction was one of the most therapeutic things I have done in ages!

Goodbye bath - I hated you!

Friday, 2 March 2018

How any baths would you actually like, sir?

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

I have been trying to order a new small bath for "Flamingo", (see previous post)

The cheapest firm I could find with reasonable customer reviews said it was on 3 to 4 day delivery, so I ordered and paid for it, (payment number 1). They then told me they couldn't after all supply for 10 weeks, so I requested a cancellation and a refund.

I then contacted another company, and made very specific inquiries that they definitely had it in stock - no problem, they said.   So I ordered and paid for it, (payment number 2). They then contacted me and said they had managed to sell the one they had, between my asking and them receiving my order, (a couple of hours only), and could not get another in for for 6 weeks, so I requested a cancellation and a refund.

So far then, I had fully paid for two baths that were claimed to be available, but was nowhere closer to having a bath to install.

I tried contacting several other suppliers, but none had stock - it seemed these had to come from the factory, and the factory can not supply at the current time.

In desperation I ordered a completely different bath from a third company, (payment number 3) - it wasn't quite as suitable, but was cheaper and would do.

So I had somewhat of a surprise when this turned up on a lorry today, because it was the type I had paid for and had been told I couldn't have for months (twice). The van was from a plumbing supply company I didn't know to be involved, and the driver had no paperwork to give any clue as to which of the two companies who had said they could not supply had now actually managed to by an unexpected route.  (It couldn't be the final bath I had ordered, being the wrong type).

It took a fair amount of detective work, and quite a few phone calls to locate the company who's van had delivered.  Initially they insisted they do not deliver on behalf of other companies, but, after keeping my cool rather more than I felt like keeping it, I finally managed to get them to do enough looking on their systems to see that my company number 2 above had asked them to deliver directly to me on their behalf.

An apologetic man at company number 2 took several sharp intakes of breath, and kept muttering "it's supply chain you see", or "I don't know how some people actually manage to get themselves up, dressed, and go to work in the morning".  I said I sympathised, but now as potentially going to end up with 2 baths!

Anyway I now had the bath we initially wanted, but was told I couldn't have.  So I tried to cancel the third bath ordered.   I was told it was already dispatched, and we could face carriage charges of up to £80 as they attempt to retrieve it back to their depot.  I wasn't a happy bunny, but obviously they are the one company in three who had not got things wrong, and it seemed unfair to be cross with them when it was the other companies that had caused the problem.  Fortunately they have since rung me and said it had not got very far, and I will probably not be charged.

I would actually have liked to be a fly on the wall at company number 2, but I don't suppose I will ever know quite what went on here.

At the moment my credit card account shows I have paid for three baths, but I currently only have one.  I suspect I'll be making more phone calls!
Incidentally, purchasing a wash basin, mounted on a cabinet, (from a different company again), has fortunately proved far less problematic.  They said they had stock - they did have stock, and it has been delivered undamaged!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Planning In Progress

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

When we bought Flamingo, without a doubt the most unsightly and messed about with part of it was the bathroom, (or more accurately the war zone claimed to be the bathroom).

The previous owner had decided to take the very oversized bathroom that was already in the boat when he bought it, and rip down bulkheads to make it even longer by about an additional three feet.

A very large bath had been put in.  I hesitate to use words like "installed" because it hadn't been.  Although never properly fitted, the side panel that went with it had already been smashed and crudely glued back together.

Where tiling had been ripped down we just had frayed plywood where it had once been, and black plastic had been taped over much of the damaged area.

There was no chance of heating sufficient water to fill a full sized bath, and, anyway, the main fresh water tank really didn't have the capacity to support that either.

There was no wash basin.

A bizarre underfloor heating system had been hand crafted from large bore copper pipe, and the main radiator circuit diverted to include it, thus destroying any natural flow assisted by gravity.

Some time back we had spent much effort relocating the bulkhead at the rear end back to where it had once been, thus still giving us a very large bathroom, but giving us 3 feet of extra kitchen space rearward of it, (ultimately the whole kitchen will be moved forward, to give more living space behind).  We had to decommission a radiator, (because it had been placed where we moved the bulkhead back to), and we also ripped out the underfloor heating.  Much ingenuity was used to get rid of most of the wall damage.

However because we were not ready for a full bathroom refit, we had temporarily reused the massive bath, but moved forward by 3 feet.  We couldn't really bath in it, but it could still be used as a large shower tray.  We have survived this way for several trips, and general living aboard at the mooring.

However we have now decided that refitting the new bathroom should be our next priority.  My previous post explains that we have already had to move the calorifier, (the hot water tank), to one corner of the bathroom.  Some space has been used up, as a result, but it was really the only way we could put back a system that worked, (and could be worked upon).

So thoughts have turned to how the rest of it should look.  We have decided to retain a bath, but a much smaller one - it can mostly be used as a shower of course.  I find modelling ideas in the free version of SketchUp to be highly useful for visualising how things will fit together.  I can rotate the model and view from any angle, taking in and out individual elements.  I can even "walk through" the bathroon if I choose.  What is reproduced here are of course just 2 dimensional images, but the whole tool is remarkably powerful.

We are happy we have a way forward.  Unfortunately actually getting our preferred parts has proved harder, and we have not been able  to order up our first choice of bath in a time frame that is acceptable.  So in fact the sketch-up images already need modifying, as the alternate choice of bath will not now be one with a seat in it.