A Vintage Day Out at The Mount Edgcumbe Classic Car Show 2018 ...
It's time for some vintage driving, so today we're taking the Pick-Up out on to the open road before heading down to The 2018 Mount Edgcumbe Classic Car Show. It was a beautiful, hot sunny day, perfect for some motoring nostalgia browsing the hundreds of cars, meeting some great people and brewing up cups of tea in the shade of the truck ... We might even have won a little prize ... (Well, sort of ...)
The Mount Edgcumbe Classic Car Show is a charity event held at the estate in Cornwall. Money raised goes to Cornwall Hospice Care https://www.cornwallhospicecare.co.uk
With special thanks to the folks who appeared in our film and made our day what it was ...
Pete the Chevrolet Man and provider of some much needed shade ... (Paint! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Paint!)
The Owner of the massive American Dodge who was afraid of our rust but loaned me his state-of-the-art USB point to recharge my phone and without whom there would have been a lot less film footage ...
'The Twins' ... Nice to see you again ...
Bob, Ian & Jann for braving the heat and the crowds to come and say hello ...
Gordon The Judge for being so nice and making our day ...
Ian Webb and his very cool cars ... http://ianwebbspecialistcars.com
And all the other great folks we chatted to over the day ...
Music licensed by https://artlist.io
'Dark Fields' by Giants & Pilgrims
Filmed and edited entirely on Lisa's iPhone SE
Making Elderflower Cordial for your Summer Girlfriend* ...
It's midsummer and the fields and hedgerows are wearing their finery, so we thought we'd take advantage of nature's abundance, go foraging for elderflowers and attempt to make a cordial from our harvest ... This is the result ...
Our recipe - (Recreate with caution ...)
- A minimum of about 30 elderflower heads in full bloom. Try not to pick from a roadside or you may get a delicate hint of diesel.
- 3 lemons (for zest and juice).
- 1.5 litres of water.
- 1kg of sugar.
(Don't forget to shake out the flowers and check for little critters. We rescued and re-homed several tiny hitchhikers before we turned on the heat!)
1. Trim elderflowers heads from stalks into a large pan (1.5 litres) of cold water.
2. Add the zest of 2-3 lemons.
3. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for a minimum of 30 minutes. (For a stronger infusion leave elderflowers to steep in the cooling water for 24 hours).
4. Add sugar and lemon juice and dissolve, bringing back to the boil.
5. Allow to cool.
6. Strain liquid through muslin or a clean tea towel into a pouring jug.
7. Transfer liquid to a sterilised bottle and fill to no more than 3/4 full.
8. Keep in fridge for a few weeks or freeze to keep for longer.
9. Enjoy your (hopefully!) delicious drink ... (Don't forget to dilute it with water, lemonade, tonic water, champagne etc etc etc)
... Can also be used as a dressing on fruit salads etc ...
All filmed and edited on Lisa's iPhone SE.
*Summer Girlfriend, a tongue-in-cheek phrase inspired by an episode of Black Books and oft quoted by us to each other ... 'I'm literally jumping for joy' etc ... Check it out. It's funny ...
Once again, we would like to extend fond gratitude to the boatyard for providing the ambient sounds of power tools in the background.
Music licensed by https://artlist.io
'Reminiscing' by Assaf Ayalon
... Or, How to Recycle Scrap into Cash ...
After 5 years spent converting a 50 year old fishing trawler into a live aboard, there was a lot of scrap metal left over. So we hired a massive skip and set about recycling it. This is a film about how we did it and how much money we made from it. This is our first 'feature' film made for our new Video Blog about our life spent on boats, upcycling, playing with (very) old cars and exploring hidden corners of Cornwall. We had great fun making it. Hope you enjoy it too ...
For interesting facts about what happens to scrap metal after you've traded it in ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrap
Some Credits ...
Licensed music uploaded from Artlist at https://artlist.io
'Big White Ship' by James Forest
'Enemy Toes' by Light Whales
'Tough' by Rafael Rico
Skip Hire from Simms Metal Management at http://www.simsmm.co.uk/Contact-Us/So...
Tim's Delicious Pasty courtesy of Warrens of Torpoint
Tim's Outfits by Hard Graft.com
Teabags supplied by Lisa
Ambient sounds of hammering, sanding and grinding courtesy of the inhabitants of The Boatyard ... Thanks for all the additional help lifting and carrying, guys!
Ambient sound of The Wind supplied by The Cornish Weather.
Filmed and edited entirely on an iPhone SE ... Some day we might even upgrade to some fancy new equipment ...
Well, this is a new venture for us ... Making videos.
This is something we've been wanting to try for some time now, but we've been so busy all winter just trying to stay alive and get the boat all painted and repaired. She's looking wonderful now and the weather is glorious after the seemingly endless rain, wind, hail, snow and fog of the last few months. We're still super busy but taking a little more time now to kick back and enjoy the sunny days of May, and May is a glorious month down here in Cornwall. So with the new season, a new direction, and for us this means we will be making a lot more videos to accompany the blog.
Some of these we anticipate will be about our life here. Some will be about the truck and vintage driving, car shows, practical demos etc. Some will be about the things we make, particularly our upcycling. And some will be demos on the things we do in general, like this of Tim giving a demo on how he created the woodgrain effect on the steel wheelhouse of our boat 'May Queen'.
We get asked a lot how the effect was done, so we hope this gives some insight into the whys and the hows, including the materials he used to achieve the end result. If you have any questions about anything we might have missed, leave a comment and we'll do our best to provide an answer. We hope you enjoy our first (proper!?) video, brought to you from the deck of our boat in the boatyard where 'May Queen' is moored in sunny (and a little windy!) south-east Cornwall ...
... Or A Long Overdue Update ...
This morning, I thought to myself: 'I will write a blog post for Old Rope Salvage. It's been a while.'Only I didn't realise that 'a while' is, in fact, a year, and that there really is a lot of stuff to catch up on. Now, I'm not making excuses, but it is 8 months since I last took some time off from The Day Job and 8 months ago, when I took that time off, I spent it scraping barnacles from The Underneath of A Really Big Boat.
Since then, our Really Big Boat has undergone something of a radical transformation ...
Those of you who have followed us and supported us on this journey, from the very early days with Tim in Kilkeel, and his (somewhat perilous) journey across the Irish Sea (romantically retold by me in the story 'Salt in The Blood'), through the years of life onboard and the ups and downs of restoration work slowly and meticulously carried out, we thank you all and would like to assure you that although this is the end of one adventure, it is also the gateway into another. As Tim would like you all to know: 'I'll always be a pirate. I'm a pirate at 3 in the morning on a Saturday and I'm a pirate at half past ten on a Tuesday morning' ... (To be fair, he may have been a little tipsy on the rum when he said that!) Our decision to sell has not been easy, but after 5 years (7 for Tim) the time has come for us to embark on new projects. No plan is set in stone, but we do hope to grow and expand our upcycling venture at Old Rope Salvage: One of the things we have recently started working on is the possibility of video blogs. We also want to explore some new ideas for sustainable living and working, perhaps a campervan for extended trips ... (Tim?) ... There is much to do and much to think about as we look to the future but most importantly, the first thing will be to have a wedding and a much needed holiday (not necessarily in that order!) so WATCH THIS SPACE!
So, the time has come for us to part ways with our beloved 'Albacore', now restored to her former name 'May Queen 1V'. She will always be 'Albacore' to us, but during the restoration we uncovered, under the many layers of peeling paint, the beautifully carved letters of the old name and so we decided to reinstate 'May Queen 1V', an old/new name for a new life.
For those of you not in the know or recently joining us, Tim brought the boat, then with the name 'Albacore' across the Irish Sea to Cornwall from Kilkeel in 2011 and since 2012 he has lived full time on board whilst converting her from a fishing trawler into a houseboat. We have her moored on the Cornwall side of the River Tamar on a residential mooring with an enviable view across the estuary.
Last summer, after several years of living and working this idyllic but sometimes hard outdoor life, always beautiful and interesting, always close to the edge financially as we worked at building Old Rope Salvage, our thoughts started turning towards 'The Future' and where we wanted to put our energies, and we decided that the time had come to move on from the boat. Our adventure had become our everyday life, and whilst wonderful, we both enjoy new challenges.
And so, through the autumn and winter, Tim has worked tirelessly to turn Albacore into the kind of liveaboard he would be proud to pass on to a new keeper. During the renovations her old name was discovered carved into the wood and so we decided to return her to her former name. She will always be 'Albacore' to us, but a new/old name seemed fitting for a new life with a new owner.
Over the winter then (which as we all know, has been pretty brutal this year!) 'May Queen' has undergone her transformation. The former fish hold (below decks) with its impressive oak ribs, has been cleaned out, sanded back, waxed and polished. The once very dirty bilges were also painstakingly cleaned out. There is a new, hand crafted staircase and an incredible bespoke kitchen which has been uniquely and painstakingly built to fit the space and the aluminium shelter deck has been weatherproofed with a 'front door' and a 'back door' to keep the lively Cornish elements firmly on the outside.
In September last year, we took her out of the water and treated her to a complete de-barnacling(!), a rigorous clean, caulking, repair and anti-foul. I could swear that the smell of old seaweed and dead seagull still lingers in my abused nostrils from that memorable fortnight, although I have to say that I loved every crazy moment of it. Check out the film I took to see some of this in progress ... (Apologies for some of the sound quality, the wind was relentless!) ...
She has since, over the winter, undergone a transformative, extensive and meticulous restoration and repainting from the top down, including the removal of all the old paint, repairs to boards and the thorough preparation of all surfaces prior to painting. This includes the wheelhouse which has been restored to the traditional wood effect she would have had when originally built.
There is still some work to be done and Tim is still living and working on her full time, still ploughing on despite the numerous aches and injuries he continues to add to his impressive resume! We have taken, literally, thousands of photographs and we will, at some point, begin to catalogue everything we have done, partly for anyone who might be interested in undertaking a similar project, partly for the curious, but mostly for ourselves so we have a record of this extraordinary time in our lives.
Without a doubt, 'Albacore' has been the greatest adventure for both of us. She will always be uniquely special in our memory but as anyone who has ever had an adventure knows, when one story ends, another is just beginning, and we can't wait to get started on the first chapter of our new book ...
If you're interested in buying, there is info on the sale here at Sale of The May Queen.
'What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?'
- Audrey Niffenegger, The Night Bookmobile
Doing what I like to do best ... Reading in the garden. This rare vintage street lamp has been restored and remodelled into a reading/dreaming seat and will soon be available to buy. We think it is one of the most beautiful items we've created so far, and one evening at the end of autumn we took it down into the garden at the Crafthole Cottage and lit up the night with it ... Watch this space for the story of its journey from discarded street light to enchanted reading seat and details on how to purchase (if I can bear to let it go) ...
Dismantling The Winch
One of the essential requirements to being a good Upcycler is the ability to spot an object's 'potential', regardless of its current use, state of (dis)repair and, well, its size!
I suppose I have a bit of a reputation in the boatyard for being the 'go-to' man when something needs removing and, as is often the case in these situations, if I can remove it, I get to keep it.
So it was that I first encountered this particular treasure when my good friend, artist and fellow boat dweller John Maclean asked me for help in removing an-almost-but-not-quite working Thompson Barrel Winch which was welded to the stern of his houseboat, the retired trawler MV Olympic.
All the old fishing gear had long since been removed so we could only assume that the winch had been used, or intended to be used, as an emergency back-up winch. Well, a good anchor winch it wasn't, but as far as John was concerned, a giant lump of in-the-way it was. To my eyes, it was treasure of the highest order, and so we set to removing it ...
Well, this turned out to be considerably more difficult than I might have hoped due not least to the fact that the winch was insanely heavy, but being an Upcycler with a good eye and a large reserve of determined optimism, we persevered, removing the winch piece by weighty piece. One lengthy dismantling later I had a cup of tea and the winch in its many greasy parts.
Creating The Table
My initial intention was to keep some of the original gears in situ as part of the piece but on throughly cleaning the main frames and seeing the three holes with their bearings still in place, I decided to leave it bare. I'm sure the gears will come into their own in another project.
The polished bearings where the gears used to be now make a nice feature in the 'table legs'
I liked the existing patina so carefully removed just enough paint and prepared the rust surface before coating in a few layers of my special gloss varnish.
It is always my intention to show the natural beauty of old surfaces. Here, the rust patina has been treated and varnished and is now looking good next to the brass and painted gold details of the fittings
And so to the feet ...
Well, feet were definitely needed as I didn't particularly want the table to be scratching somebody's nice floor (I seem to spend a lot of time making feet!) This took me a lot of pondering and more than the usual amount of tea, but eventually I came up with a great solution. Unfortunately for me it was also a very complicated and time consuming solution, but patience is a virtue and a whole lot of carving, cutting and angle-grinding later and I eventually had them fitting beautifully ...
The making of the (in)famous feet
The worktop needed a lot of wood (they always seem to need more than you think) and it just so happened that I had two very long roof joists that I had kept after having helped demolish an old building in the yard (yes, that is something else I got to keep if I could remove it). These two joists I thoroughly treated against rot and woodworm. They were then biscuit jointed, glued and bolted all the way through with threaded bar - incidentally also salvaged from The Olympic (is nothing safe from the hands of this Upcycler!) - sanded and finished with a few coats of Danish Oil (same as the feet).
From gnarly old roof joists to beautiful oiled worktop ... The evolution of salvaged wood
For some finishing touches I used more threaded bar the length of the table between the feet inside the decorational copper tube, and another small piece where the winch's original brake was attached. Bearings were polished and old grease nipples painted gold to match.
Overall, I was very happy with the final look of this table. By some happy coincidence, the size came out at 120x60 which is standard kitchen worktop height, so that was even better than I might have hoped for. And as with many of our pieces, the table has a wonderful history and wears that history still in the beautiful colours and textures of the finish.
The only downside, if you can call it that, is the weight. There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of its original function because Man, is this thing heavy! After completion at the workshop, I transported to our place at Crafthole ... That is to say, I and 3 other willing accomplices transported it to Crafthole on the back of the Old Rope Salvage truck. We eventually manoevered it into storage where it will undoubtedly remain now until sold, and for sale it is, in our Shop of Wonders, for £750.00 ... Please contact us to arrange a viewing.
Delivery/Collection can be discussed!
There were so many possibilities with this former outboard motor ... Should we take it apart and use the pieces individually, or should we keep the piece more or less intact and create one stunning work of art?
Well, the result probably speaks for itself ...
Beautifully re-imagined and re-designed by Tim in our workshop, this humble outboard motor is now a stunning piece of (functional) wall art.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given our location within a Cornish Boatyard, this re-purposed outboard motor was sold even as Tim was adding the all important finishing touches to it and will, by now, be lighting up the interior of our lucky buyer's man cave!
Take a look through our photos to appreciate the vision and workmanship of this unique Object of Beauty and check out the Shop of Wonders for our other creations ...
The Boat Jumble
For us, authentic salvaging, or upcycling, is about taking an object which has been given up on and truly discarded, recognising its hidden potential and coaxing it back to life as something new and beautiful. There is something quite deeply satisfying in this process. The 'before' and 'after' photos, the knowledge that you have given something old, ugly, abandoned, a new purpose ... Not that we want to get all deep and metaphorical about it, but everything deserves a second chance, after all ...
Therefore, we're generally reluctant to visit auctions or to purchase items which are already perfectly good as they are, simply to make them 'prettier', so when I was invited to a boat jumble by fellow boat dweller, Geoff Seago, I was in two minds, worried that I'd end up spending money on 'stuff' that I didn't really need. Still, thinking 'what's not to enjoy about a good boat jumble?', I tagged along anyway. (Geoff, incidentally, has spent several years working on the magnificent conversion of his ship Diction into a houseboat and has kept a great blog recording the process at mvdiction.co.uk.)
As it happened, it was Geoff who spent all the money. I parted with a total of £12.50 on a pile of plunder which took the two of us two trips each to carry back to the car and fill the ample boot. I'm not sure exactly how much Geoff spent, but his one small carrier bag and the look on his face assured me that I had had a very good day.
The Tilley Heater / Lamp
Two of my purchases from that bountiful day, a couple of extremely dirty, dusty old paraffin heaters, came from a very interesting French gentleman who I enjoyed spending time chatting with. One of these heaters has given me all sorts of problems with its lacquer coatings and fittings. I've lost track of all the times it's been finished and then unfinished! That one, however, is a story for another time.
This old Tilley here is a delicate combination of polished brass parts and sympathetic restoration, my aim here being to create an electric light that looks like it was originally made that way. All the brass fittings have been restored, whilst the 'reflector' has been polished to an incredible shine which reflects the light of the bulb in a really interesting and unique way. This is also due to the polished stainless steel mesh basket - (which used to be the sea water strainer from a boat engine!) - which acts as a shade for the bulb and creates an incredible pattern on the reflector, even when the light is switched off. And the base, which retains the patina of its years, has been buffed to a sparkling shine.
Admittedly, I never expected this old paraffin heater to come to much, but after all the hard work restoring and converting it into a lamp, we think it's one of our favourite pieces and has that perfect combination of old meets new.
If you're interested in purchasing this lamp, be assured that it has been fitted with all new electrics, including a complimentary gold flex, a new plug, and a bayonet bulb fitting with on/off switch, and it is currently available to buy from our store on Etsy for £220.00.
It's no secret that I do, on occasion, enjoy a good scrounge in the odd skip or two. It might even be fair to say that I have a bit of a reputation for it. Lisa likes to joke that I'm a Womble (not entirely sure which one) whilst Lisa's Dad, less endearingly, calls me Steptoe. Still, you'd be amazed at what people throw away. Take this strange looking object, for instance ...
I came across the white aluminium shell of this initially unidentifiable something whilst tipping around in a skip which had recently been littered up by generous donor 'Nick-the-Tug'.
It was clearly missing some parts so, whilst trying to figure out what it may once have been, I continued to rummage and one by one the missing pieces began to turn up until eventually, the all-important domed front window appeared and I realised that what I had in front of me was some sort of underwater submarine camera. Not exactly your everyday skip find.
I was feeling pretty smug with my discovery but it took some time before I eventually figured out what I was going to do with it next.
After studying it from every angle, leaving it unattended and sneaking the odd sideways glance, dismantling it into various parts and staring at it over a cup of tea, I decided that it was probably going to become the oddest lamp that I had ever attempted to make.
The main body was coated in some white paint that really didn't want to be removed and it had a horrible silicone feel to it. Neither were part of my vision for the lamp so I had to spend many hours of paint scraping and wire brush work to return it to the bare aluminium. Some further sanding and a trip to the buffing wheel eventually revealed the shine I wanted. The front window also needed some work to remove some of its worst scratches. The main body came apart into two pieces: The top half I discarded (at least for this project) and the bottom half I retained. I then went in search of the other parts I would need ...
One big problem was the gaping hole at the rear of the lamp from a missing part, so I searched all over the place with tape measure in hand, not really knowing what I was actually looking for, when one of those rare moments happened: Exactly the right thing, precisely the right size, presented itself at just the right moment, cunningly disguised as an old car speaker. More cleaning, the countersinking of fastening bolts and a paint job later and I had solved the problem of the missing piece.
So, just the details: Curtain pole bracket, brass pipe fittings, copper pipe, rubber grommets and feet, a load of stainless steel screws and M6 bolts and, oh, lots and lots more polishing ... There is always more polishing ...
All that was left now was to choose the electrics. These needed to be all new to comply with regulations. After some discussion, Lisa and I decided on a really pretty twisted brown flex which matched the wood base and the copper pipe, and a black switch and plug.
For the light itself, we had originally thought of using a full frequency SAD (seasonal affective disorder) bulb, so the lamp could be positioned on your desk for feel good vibes on those winter days, but for the purposes of photographing (and because it looked so nice) we settled on a vintage globe bulb.
The end result is a repurposed submersible camera, turned upside down and re-imagined as one very strange and unique desk lamp. We think it looks a little like a sea pig, a creature from the deep and certainly something which will be a talking point in its new home.
The 'Sea Pig' lamp is currently available to purchase from our Etsy Store for £295.00.
Old Rope Salvage