Saturday, May 30, 2015

Taking the plunge and not taking the plunge

You will be aware, dear reader, that as a boat blogger it is from time to time compulsory to talk about toilets so, accordingly, I have an announcement to make.  

We've finally decided to join the elite band of boaters with a composting loo.  Having looked at them for a couple of years and carefully listened to the remarks of others who have used them, we've decided to take the plunge and today I ordered one - an Airhead.

There was a bit of a discount being offered at the Crick show which is I suppose what made us do it this week (these things are not cheap!), but perhaps the clincher was a visit to inspect Adam and Adrian's Airhead loo on Briar Rose.  It fits in well where the old loo was and it does really seem to be genuinely odourless.  So once ours arrives and is fitted it'll be goodbye to chemical bottles and cassettes.  I won't miss them - especially the emptying bit.

Having mentioned toilets, I suppose I ought to honour tradition and go on to talk about batteries next, but ours are doing so well at the moment that I don't have anything to say!

Another boat we didn't buy.

As to not taking the plunge, we did actually look over another tempting boat at the Crick show.  (Don't tell Herbie.) A nice tug, ECHO being sold through ABNB with a whopping gert four cylinder Gardner. If you follow the link, you'll get the brochure.  Remember though that internal photos of boats are generally flattering.  Tugs have such good lines and this one had a decent fit out, plus a good shell and at a fair price too. The sort of boat you would love to cruise along on.  The chug of the mighty engine and the gentle swirl of the big prop behind the long curving swim, Kath sitting in a deck chair on the big foredeck, gently sipping a gin and tonic.  Aaaah.  Perfect

So why didn't we go for it? (Apart from the fact that we would have to fork out a fair bit of wonga).  Because, like most tugs, there is alas a down side. It was severely lacking in the sleeping department.  Just a cross bed in the boatman's cabin.  On Herbie we can fairly easily sleep four or occasionally five people, and the fixed double is always ready to collapse on to when bedtime comes.  In fact, although Echo was eight feet longer than Herbie it actually had no more useable internal space.  I'm sure some innovative person could work out some folding or slide out bed under the tug foredeck, but the space looked pretty tight.  A very nice boat  indeed for two people.  You really ought to buy it and give me a ride.

PS I notice from ABNB's web site that Phyllis May II is up for sale.  That's Terry and Monica Darlington's (of Narrow Dog fame) boat. The brochure says "Advancing years force a very reluctant sale."   Aaah.  I wish them well.


Halfie said...

I look forward to reading how you get on with the installation and use of the Airhead, Neil. But surely there will still be emptying to do, of the liquid waste?

Vallypee said...

I'd like one of those, Neil. I'm just saving up though as over here, they are quite pricey. Sad to hear the Darlingtons are giving up. My neighbour here is 84 and still goes cruising on a big dutch barge...good for him! He's a former commercial skipper though, so I suppose that wou;d be like giving up breathing...

Neil Corbett said...

Yes John, but I don't mind that. I'll report on the installation.

Val, they are not cheap here either! If I was relying on my book sales it would take fifty years to save up :-)

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Yes!! Welcome to our world!! Freedom from Elsan points, changing the cassettes every couple of days, lugging 50 pounds of extremely nasty, foul human waste around in a soup of noxious bacteria, and the use of chemicals. You will be amazed at how simple and elegant an Airhead is to use and keep up. Les empties the urine bottle every day and half, and I clean out the solids compartment once a month. It smells like wet peat moss and the bottom has begun composting. For tips on how to keep your composting loo working at its best I recommend a read of my posts: What Every Woman Wants,and the Airhead Composting Toilet: One Year on. Just use the search bar on the upper left of our blog and type in Airhead. It will bring them both up.

Here's hoping we actually meet up on our boats sometime soon.

Neil Corbett said...

Hi Jaq

Reading your posts on the Airhead was a vital part of our research! I'm sure we'll get used to it pretty quickly and it will be nice to reclaim the space we take to store our current three cassettes too.

We'll keep a look out for you on the cut when we finally manage to get out cruising. This year we have done less than ever because of other commitments but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.


Eric said...

Hi Neil,

Long time since I've been in touch! As a fellow tug lover, we looked at this at the Braunston boat share sale but, being on an SCC pension merely drooled for a few hours!
We have just had a full repaint on Kingsley (our shared boat) looking forward to scraping her along the Caldon in about 11 days time!

Best regards,

Neil Corbett said...

Hi Eric, good to know you are still out there somewhere. I know Oakmere well from when it was on show at Crick. lovely boat.