Wheelhouse window blinds sorted!

We have spent many hours trying to decide how we were going to solve the issue of window coverings for the wheelhouse windows.    We wanted something that would be visually attractive and serve the triple purpose of partially blocking out the sunlight when we are sitting in there, blacking out the windows when anyone is sleeping in the occasional double berth in there and to hide the interior from prying eyes when we leave the boat unattended.

The difficulty in choosing was that the wheelhouse folds down to accommodate access under low bridges and it has three arch topped front windows.

We were offered many suggestions of different possibilities by different people but we were having great difficulty in deciding what would suit us best.

In the end, after much deliberation, we decided that 25mm aluminium venetian blinds would be the best solution for us.    We contacted a local blind supplier who visited us and quoted £1200 to supply and fit the blinds.   This was a little more than we had anticipated so I was prompted to measure each window and see what I could buy the blinds for.   I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could buy all eleven made to measure blinds for £300!   Even better, I could order them and they would be delivered next day!

Measurements checked and double checked, I ordered the blinds and they duly arrived next day.   (www.web-blinds.com).   Me being me, I had them fitted the next day, am very happy with the results and even happier that I was able to save £900 as compared to the supplier’s quote.

The blinds have given the wheelhouse a much more homely feel as well as serving the purposes we were looking to achieve.




Another week, another trip to Henley

Henley is arguably one of the nicest towns on the river.   It is also a favourite haunt of ours from the 1980’s when we were on the Thames with out 27′ Fjord cruiser, “Mikarla of Welwyn”


It also happens to be a couple of hours cruise from our berth at Dreadnought Reach, which is very convenient when we have day visitors.

We were fortunate this week to have our daughter Becks, her husband Trev and their dog Fudge on board for a day so you can guess where we headed to.   We both feel that we could never tire of visiting Henley and this was another enjoyable trip.

On the way we passed through Sonning,  Shiplake and Marsh lock and of course we passed the impressive Shiplake College although this time we were fortunate that the rowers from the college were occupied elsewhere!

Shioplake College
Shiplake College

As we were arriving in Henley, Fudge took the opportunity to check the place out from the port gunwale.   He’s very comfortable in his new lifejacket!IMG-20170412-WA0004

The ladies went shopping while Trev and I enjoyed a cold beer on the aft deck which also gave Fudge a chance to keep his eye on the local duck population.

We then left Henley………..

A beautiful view of Henley with the Red Duster in the foreground

and headed back to Lashbrook Eyot, where we moored for lunch opposite some of the multi-million pound houses in Lower Shiplake, before heading back to Caversham.P1020248

We also welcomed our youngest daughter Laura and her partner Mark to see the boat this week, but as time was short, we headed to Henley by car for dinner.   However, we managed to squeeze in a quick walk to Marsh Lock before eating.20170416_132831

A hob cover that works

We are making good progress in completing the loading and personalisation of Steel Away.

One item we were particularly interested in sorting out was some sort of cover for our hob, which, as you can see from the photographs, is located on a peninsular worktop in the galley, facing towards the saloon.


After much research I was able to come up with a solution from Hob Covers Direct. (www.hobcover.co.uk).   They offer a fair choice of styles and sizes and after some e-mail communication with the helpful owner of the comapany (Colin), we placed our order and 48 hours later we were in possesion of our hob cover.

I have now fitted it and we are very pleased with it.   As you can see, it serves 3 purposes:

P10202501.   A neat finish over the hob.

P10202522.   A splashback when cooking.

P10202513.   Some additional work space for food preparation.  (We cover it with a vinyl cloth when using it for this) to protect the stainless steel.

Once again, we have no connection with this company other than we have received a good product at at competitive price and excellent service.  On that basis alone, we are happy to recommend them.


A great but busy week

Angie & I had an exciting couple of days last week, when we went to Piper Boats Ltd at Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday to watch Steel Away being loaded onto transport then followed her (intermittently) down the M6, M42 and M40.

We stayed overnight at The Catherine Wheel in Henley-on-Thames, a Weatherspoon’s hotel (it was steak night so it would have been rude not to have a steak and a few beers while we were there) and the next morning we were up bright and early to get to the marina ready for the launch.

The truck had arrived overnight and was in a lay-by on the approach to the marina when we arrived.   The launch went very smoothly and after leaving the guys from Piper on board for a short while, they had “done their stuff” (checks in the engine room, placing ballast etc. etc.)  and were ready to re-fit the wheelhouse which had been removed for transport.   They were happy for me to assist which was great as it gave me the opportunity to see how to put it together (and remove it) when we need to do this at some point in the future.

Half an hour later, we were ready to move to our mooring.   By 1400hrs we were alongside our mooring and having a cup of tea!

In simple terms, the loading, transport and launch went very smoothly and was a fitting end for the team at Piper Boats Ltd., who have produced a fantastic boat for us in a very short space of time.   They have certainly produced a boat that they and we can be proud of.

I have produced a summary video which lasts for 8 minutes which I hope shows the whole launch process from start to finish. I hope you enjoy it!



After a couple of fairly long days, we are launched and moored alongside at our home mooring, Dreadnought Reach, Caversham, River Thames.    Videos to come in due course, but I am rather busy with other things at the moment……playing with our boat!