Tuesday, 18 February 2014


It’s time for the last big job in the kitchen – the floor. Not a straight forward job either – the previous owner did not make a terribly good job of the basic floor covering and there is the complication of a trap door next to the spiral staircase which has to open if any large objects are to be sent down or brought up. So instead of the usual tile-laying technique – start at a straight wall and work across – Simon has to start on the trap door and go both ways so that the trap door (when closed!) is as inconspicuous as possible (Photo). The trap door incidentally is the old bathroom door, which was not a good fit and needed to be replaced. Waste not, want not!

The other bit of the deck which needs attention is the spiral staircase hole. (Photo)  

This was rectangular and encompassed what is now the above-mentioned trapdoor. It has been reshaped to accommodate the staircase and the edges need some trim. The car enthusiast I mentioned in my post of 18 January, is being very helpful again and is producing strips of 0.9mm galvanised steel to cover the edges all the way round.

Meanwhile, outside, the large vessel that was moored at the end of the catwalk has been taken elsewhere and so Simon has an uninterrupted view over the bow of the Medway Estuary. (Photo)

 Hopefully the two vessels moored ‘temporarily’ alongside Simon, will now be moved and he will then also have a lovely view from his kitchen window as he does the dishes! Perhaps that double rainbow is a presage of better things to come?

Monday, 10 February 2014


I have found another possibly interesting document in the National Archives. The trouble is that search results have but a very brief description of content. My latest find is dated 1912 and states :-

   Board of Trade Harbour Department:   Correspondence and Papers.  Lights.
Sanction for expenditure by the Commissioners of Irish Lights for the provision of portable fire extinguishers at each lighthouse and lightship under their jurisdiction.”

The document is 29 pages long, costs £29 to copy and may contain only a mention of Cormorant as one of the many lightships and lighthouses to receive a portable fire extinguisher. However, the last two batches have been absolute gems, so I am taking a risk and ordering this one.  I suppose the best way to proceed in an ideal world would be to go to the National Archives and examine what is on offer, but Kew is over 200 miles away.  I think that will be all paper-wise until I can get over to the Public Record Office in Belfast to have a look at the Masters’ Logs and Crew Lists for Cormorant. At least I know what I am going to see.

I am on the trail of a contemporary Diaphone fog-horn, but unfortunately, even if I get it, the working parts are missing. If anyone knows where I might find some ……….

Two other small artefacts are still in situ – the side door in the superstructure has a brass handle matching the little porthole I mentioned in an earlier post ... (Photo)

...and the bow companionway door has a quaint little handle which must date from at least the 1943 refurbishment. (Photo)

Meanwhile Simon is painting the kitchen a very nice shade of grey. He was about to reinstate the skylight (Photos) but a sheet of toughened glass turned out to be not so tough! 

I know he’s my son, but I have to say he has been very resilient in the face of some pretty low blows from Fate!

Monday, 3 February 2014


Well the progress may be slow, but it is progress. The kitchen was a cramped area in the middle of the superstructure (Photo) 

 and although still needing some finishing touches, the new kitchen looks very smart indeed. (Photo).

Access to the lower regions has also been very much improved from the steep companionway at the bow (Photo).

He now has a very elegant spiral staircase amidships. (Photos).   

Again, finishing touches still needed but considering Simon bought the staircase (in a dismantled state) while he was still negotiating to purchase the ship, he made a good decision. The companionway will be retained as an emergency exit.
Now, what's next?