Saturday 28 March 2015

Going, Going, Gone

Historic Boat Club auction
March 2015

Going, Going, Gone pretty much sums up our lives at the moment.

Just over a week ago we said goodbye to our home of 25 years and decamped to the boats for an undefined but hopefully short period, whilst our new home comes available. After a week afloat things have moved on and with contracts signed it looks like we will be moving in within two weeks.

On a slightly more mundane level we attended the Historic Boat Club's auction in Weston last week, accompanied by Sandra and Barry (Home Brew Boat) as I had spotted a couple of items I fancied I could use. Sandra, Barry and Helen dutifully joined me in the auction room but I could sense their despair as, after and hour, we crawled to lot 50 out of 200! I took pity on them and suggested that they may like to suss out the local pub and see if there was any chance of seeing the end of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament.

The Woolpack turned out out to be a triumph with two screens and good beer as well. So I stayed with the auction as the Three Amigos supped ale and provided a steady stream of score updates by text.

Of course, the items I wanted were in the final quartile of the event and in any case, all items purchased had to be paid for at the end. I did cats a covetous eye over a couple of rather nice Buckby Cans, particularly the one marked Autherley. I gamely cast my bids through to about £120 when I dropped out only to see the bidding roar away to over £400 - far to rich for my pockets.

One of my targets was a BCN Gauging Plate for Montgomery (The Jam Butty) and there were several on offer. The going rate was £45 to £60 a plate, but I had my heart set on lot 157 - a pair of plates bearing the number 229 which once graced John Toole's boat Albert. Plates were often displayed as a pair and rather than bid for the early ones I decided to bide my time. As in all actions, I set myself a price limit and given the individual prices seemed to be over £50, I figured the pair would  go for over £100 - but as others may be using the same round  sum target I set my limit at £110. As it turned out  the last competing bid was £100 so I won them dead on my limit. Now they need a good clean up and repaint (black with white lettering) after which they will be applied to the exposed bulkhead of the butty.

The second item targeted was an old decorated cupboard door from a motor boat. Its an original door from an unknown boat which has been repainted in recent years and by the screws in the back has been a decoration which has been hung on the wall. Given the price being fetched by the decorated Buckby Cans and Masthead Lights I feared that the bidding for this item would soon go way beyond my grasp, but no. There was just one opening bid at £40 and it was mine for £50 - a bargain. 

Fortunately, I was sat next to the table set aside for payment so I settled within 10 mins and was in  the pub in 15 and able to watch the bulk of the hugely exciting England France game with the outcome of the tournament hanging in the balance right up to the final whistle. Even Sandra found herself applauding England in the final minutes.

Now what  am I going to to with a door from a boatman's cabin I hear you ask?. Its true that I already have one painter door in the butty, so its not for there. No, my intention for this item is completely practical and in keeping with its given purpose. I want to use it as a table in our cratch.

One of my winter jobs has been to build lockers in the cratch and only yesterday we visit ed Elite Furnishings with a pattern to have some seat covers made to fit. One of Mrs Ahabs long held wishes is to have the cratch usable to eat in, and that includes a table of some sort. The item in question looked to be exactly the size we want, and comes with authentic working boat history.

To be versatile the table had to hinge up and down and with a bit of giggery pokerey I managed to get it set at a hight which is comfortable to use and will fold up neatly within the dimension of the cratch windows. The challenge was the other end and a post underneath would damage the artwork - which was unacceptable. If you cant prop it up why not try suspension? A trip to the chandlers saw me rooting through their fittings and before long I has the items necessary to construct a removable chain.

The whole assemble need a bit of fettling after the cushions arrive but it works perfectly and most importantly, its carries Mrs Ahab's seal of approval.

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