... 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.
Old Rope Salvage