Saturday, 7 February 2015


The preservation of Cormorant / Lady Dixon is progressing slowly but surely. Simon has at last purchased the protective tiles needed to cover the newly insulated and waterproofed deck. The rubber tiles have come from a playground and are one metre square.  He needs about 60 of them, but the deal is for 120, so there will be plenty of spares! They weigh about 2.4tons in total and will be delivered early this week. At around 45lbs per tile, Simon will have to make many trips along the catwalk with his trolley!

   He has decided not to use the tiles on the stern deck. Some time ago he bought a load of discarded hardwood decking and, after cleaning it up, intends to turn it back into ‘decking’ (Photo 820).

  To make proper use of his new log-burning stove, Simon has had some radiators installed. Some are temporary, but all provide welcome warmth. The first to be installed was a small one to absorb the heat of the water from the back boiler, even if all others were turned off (a ‘safety’ radiator)  and it had to be situated above the level of that boiler (Photo 821).

    Eventually it will be boxed in.  The little bathroom needed some heat and warming towels would be a bonus, so in went a smart towel rail (Photo 822). 

   Then Simon found a very smart radiator which fitted  in beautifully at the top of the spiral staircase (Photo 823).

    A bit more history….
I came across a very nice old (1870) book ‘Lighthouses and Lightships’  by  W.H. Davenport Adams.  I am sure he will not mind me quoting bits from his book as they give a great feel of life aboard the early lightships …….
“The form of the lightship varies according to its locality: in Ireland the hull is more elongated than in England; but in all cases the object to be attained is the same – resistance to the force of the winds and waves.   It is desired that in the most violent tides, in the midst of the angriest billows, and in situations the most exposed to the influence of the currents, it shall drag as little as possible upon its anchor.   That it may at all times and in all conditions preserve the same maritime position, it is securely moored.   Like a galley-slave, riveted to an iron chain, it can move neither to the right nor to the left.
          Let us now say a few words in reference to the resolute crews who man these vessels.  The crew of an English lightship consists of a master, a mate, and nine men.   Three out of the nine are intrusted with the service of the lamps; the six others, who always include among them a good carpenter, attend to the order and cleanliness of the vessel.   It must be remembered, however, that the nine men are never all on board together; one-third are always enjoying an interval of rest on shore.   Experience has proved that a perpetual sojourn on board a ship of this kind is too much for the moral and physical forces of human nature.   The crushing monotony of the same scenes, the eternal spectacle of foam-crested waters rolling wherever the eye is turned, the ceaseless noise of the winds, the everlasting murmur of the ocean – swelling at times into so terrible a roar that it renders inaudible the human voice – could not fail to exercise a depressing influence on the mind.   But even allowing for the occasional vacation spent upon land, the life is so uniform and unexciting that it is wonderful any man can be found to endure it; and the crews of our lightships may assuredly be ranked among the curiosities of civilization”. 

He has a lovely turn of phrase doesn’t he?