Sunday, 28 June 2009

Small Spaces II

One recent visitor to Brentford's eco village was Vinay Gupta, creator of the Hexayurt - an easily built structure designed for temporary housing and disaster relief. He's also in a wonderful book I found after my previous post:

It's full of small housing projects with a similar philosphy, genuinely inspiring. I guess that most of what we see conciously of arhitect's work are the big and/or whimsical projects - it's great to see imagination being applied to the real human issues.

This reminds me that I met a student (?) architect, a friend of a friend, a while ago, who was also interested in minimal living spaces, so I should really get in touch with him. We're hoping the eco village could well be pretty long term, and come autumn we'll need something a little more solid than we have at the moment.

extra links:

appropedia wiki
playatech sheet material furniture designs

In other news: RIP, Steven Wells.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

local event

Brentford Dock is the housing estate built on the site of the old rail/river transhipment point - built as a council estate in the 60s, but very quickly largely in private ownership. Nice to see a bit of a historical celebration, though, and a variety of transport methods represented, including canal boats (although more wanted, by the sounds of it although access is directly from the Thames, not the canal). The railway long since stopped running to the dock itself, stopping at 'Brentford Town' station on the way, but it still runs just short of Brentford as a freight only line. I don't see any that this line have passenger services reinstated, although a direct train from home to the boat would be very nice, I admit.

More info for the event at

ETA - from their website - The 100 Years old steam narrow boat President will be going by Brentford Dock on Monday July 13. I bid them welcome to Brentford!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

more Epping about

I have a tendency to like to see things in place, do a dry/dummy run before things are ready for the final install, just to see how it all looks - and this is a typical example. I was gluing in the hearth tiles for the new stove plinth, wanted to weight them down so the glue spread well and flatten out the tiles, so what better weight than the stove itself?

It doesn't look very pretty there, as there's no tiling around it yet (not that the masterboard goes all the way round, although it does show the greater width of the space required), there's no trim on panelling around it, and after all, it' sitting on a sheet of grotty old 18mm ply rather than the tiles themselves...

But - in reality, it looks & feels very natural, and when commisioned, will be a real focal point of the boat. I balanced in the old flue just to see how it looks; the stove/flue junction will need a little work, and I'm also considering not replacing the 'smokebox' part that nornmally sits at that point. Apart from the door for flue access for cleaning, anyone know reasons for or against (apart from tradition?).

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Google maps updated

Last time I looked at the Iver moorings on google maps, the images were at least two years old, no evidence of my boat at all. This new image is pretty recent by the locations of boats up and down, particularly the brokerage boats - but Tortoise still isn't there - she should be alongside Benbulben in the middle of this image. So this one must be from last summer, or possibly this spring when I was away doing blacking/welding stuff.

If I get really, really, bored (unlikely) I'll have to follow my route to see if I can find her, but of course there's no guarantee she'll be there at all, obviously.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


... work progresses on the new kitchen & plinth, I may add a pic later. Typically the tile spacers I thought I had on the boat weren't, but I need my tile cutter anyway. I've taken my old peltier fridge home, I'm going to see how I get on with the hull bottom cool box idea - this will also free up a lot of space, too. Strangely, widening the worktop from 18" to 21" makes it look for elegant and proportioned.

Also lovely to see back around old mate Helen, currently staying on her mum's boat whilst hers is still rented out; she's been in New Zealand for two years; she's back in the UK to study carpentry, then hopes to head back south.

The thing is - much closer to home, there's an exciting land squat next to Kew Bridge, on a site that has been enmpty for more than a decade, and is currently believed to have no approved planning permission anyway. Although the original diggers encampment on St George's Hill was further down the river, St George's is the name of the developer, and approiate enough. I'm of course getting involved; the boat can wait, a little. One contribution is mentioning here - I took an old, cheap cordless drill (14.4v, but 12v would be better) who's battery would no longer hold a change, wired in a piece of cable to large croc clips, and supplied an old car battery - instant drilling power for building.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


I don't intend a big epic trip again this year, but should have a few weeks available in August/September, after a three week stint of festivals with the bike powered music system. I don't see myself finding the opportunity to get Tortoise out on the canals before that, even though I'd probably be able to find a day or so during the festivals to move Tortoise to avoid overstaying anywhere.

Anyway, current vague idea is a leisurely (as in lots of stops, I know some of it will be real work) trip to Bath & back on the Kennet & Avon. If circumstances prevent that, then it'll be the Lee & Stort, all a bit more local.

Having said that, I really need to make the time to finish the kitchen rebuild; no rush on the stove flue, as I hope Mick Atkinson is on the K&A with welding kit at the ready... ;-)