(PW53) Grim, cold, wet, grimy and dirty surroundings and a feeling of not being very useful were what l expected from my first attendance at a KC working party. But Medway Bridge Marina is in pleasant surroundings and we have been fortunate that the winter has not been severe. More important l found that my presence was useful despite the lack of any craftsman’s skills. Although it meant walking two miles from my village to Fareham station at six in the morning on a February Sunday, four hours of train travel in cold clothes and a long journey home, the day turned out to be enjoyable, rewarding and worthwhile. Other members would find their presence just as much appreciated and it would be really valuable if 100 members (membership of a branch like Wessex, for example) each came one day a month at weekends. That could provide ten workers each session. The Medway Bridge Marina can be reached by eleven in the morning with a day return ticket from places as far afield as Weymouth and if you haven't been yet, why deny yourself the pleasure? I can recommend it! Andrew Patrick, Fareham, Hants.
(PW53) I have just returned from a second visit to KC having spent the morning removing rust in the forward saloon. Being ‘unskilled’ labour this is one of the jobs l can tackle and no doubt there will be many more in the ensuing months. lt is a great feeling working on one’s ‘own’ paddle steamer and I am enthusiastically looking forward to many more hours of hard work (such is the lure of KC). Patricia Bushell (Miss) , Chislehurst, Kent.
The first bit was easy!
Pat Bushell poses with chipping hammer Photos: June Bushell
(PW 54)The grit-blasting was not without problems as the blasting team found their blasting nozzles and their visors unable to reach the hull near the keel. This required a return visit but eventually the hull was blasted and one ferro-plumbate coat got on straight after. Clearing the surrounding area of grit occupied working parties on March 25, April 1 &7 - one estimate was 2 tons of the stuff!
Other mundane jobs that had to be done were bilge cleaning (March 25) and pumping (April 14, 20 & 22); slip cleaning (April 14, 15, 21, 22 & 28; May 26; June 9); cleaning tools, setting up benches (including our fine new angle grinder) etc., March 18, April 1, May 3. Since grit-blasting most work has been painting, and repainting, the hull and sponsons, on March 31, April 7, 28, 29, May 12, 13. 19, 27, and June 9 &1O.
Grit-blasting revealed several weak spots in plates. These were inspected by ultrasonic testing on April 28.
Fore Saloon and Starboard “Gentlemen’s” panelling flooring and boxing was removed April 22 for scaling on April 29. Marin Saloon flooring was lifted April 20. In the stern well, steering chain guide trays were removed on March 18, In the engine room preparation was made for removing the pistons on April 7.
The Log book records the areas painted as being from one frame of the hull to another, e.g. on June 10 a second coat of black covered all plates from frame 35 to frame 41.
Work on bridge companionway woodwork, started May 26 and continued June 2. Stanchions and poop deck beams and stringers scaled and painted on June 16. One of the odd facts this work throws up: on the latter occasion it was found the poop-deck beam next the stern vestibule is galvanised.
The boiler casing was chipped and scraped on May 29. May 30 the boiler was cleaned and painted, and fittings inspected for stud wastage. Inside of the funnel was cleaned and painted May 30.
The motion and valve gear on the high-pressure side was scraped, cleaned, oiled and treated with proprietary compound May 30 & 31. The starboard overboard discharge valve was completely over- hauled June 4.
Working parties are often 12 strong with people from as far as Somerset: this is the reason for the striking progress.