Tuesday, 18 March 2014


It is a good thing I am retired. Just when I think of a relaxing afternoon, or a quiet drive in the old motor, Simon sends me fresh evidence of his progress.
Below decks is going to need some serious heating (once it is refurbished and insulated). I have sent Simon numerous adverts for modern multi-fuel stoves with back boilers to run radiators down there, but Simon doesn’t often do modern – as witnessed by his purchase of this 1878 ship!  So he has bought something with a lot of character, something which will blend in with its surroundings and yet (hopefully) do the job. It is ‘probably’ a French Godin stove, age uncertain, quite ornate and in need of some TLC (Photo). The glass front door is not in place, but it did come with the stove.

While that sits on deck waiting its turn, Simon has got on with the skylight. Until now it has been covered with a board and plastic sheeting (Photo - note the rusty old ventilation cowls). 

To compensate for some of the low blows Fate has dealt him over recent months, he did acquire a double-glazed panel of toughened glass, just the right size and with a blind incorporated in it, for just the cost of the petrol to go and fetch it. So off came the temporary cover (Photo – note the newly refurbished ventilation cowls) and, with a bespoke frame to give it a slight ‘drainage’ slope, on went the new panel (Photo).

The interior surround now needs packing, plaster-boarding and plastering, but looks very good already. (Photo)

Meanwhile my search for history goes on. Last week Charlie Warmington published an article about the Cormorant/Lady Dixon in his excellent Roamer column in the Belfast Newsletter. Already he has been contacted by some of his readers and of course I am hoping that some of them may have memories and perhaps photos of the ship when she was stationed off Carrickfergus.  I am planning a trip across to Belfast to research the Lady Dixon’s log-books which the Public Records Office has in the archives.