A warm, friendly Heather welcome

We are delighted to share Heather, an historic boat, artistic refuge and home for over a century, laying on the ancient Broads Waterways of Norfolk.

It is our aim to preserve the distinctive character of Heather, enabling future generations to enjoy her charms. We welcome you to explore the houseboat and bountiful riverside beyond...

Andrew, Timothy and Christopher

30 September 2014

Kitchen sink drama ~ part 1

Heather's compact kitchen inside the distinctive curved bows, has been largely untouched for over twenty years. We have been gradually upgrading the simple facilities in the Fo'c'sle ~ the front part of the boat, in workable stages as part of the overall restoration plan.

Outwardly, the exterior woodwork looked in good condition. Further investigation found several of the narrow upright match boards, around the sink and window on the starboard side were well worn. The rotten boards were carefully cut out by Nigel Royall, leaving a gaping hole. At one point, the sliding window was suspended in mid air and we could once again step onto a surviving portion of the original open deck (now a shelf, at knee height).
Reclaimed and acclimatized pine was cut to size and slowly fitted in place with oil based mastic and stainless steel screws. Next, we scraped and sanded the boards with an orbital sanding machine, making them follow the tight curvature of the bows. The window frame was carefully re installed piece by piece and various wood stain was daubed on to match the older timber .

It is believed following conversion around 1928, the front end of the boat was open, with a canvas tilt sweeping down from a narrower roof section. It was possibly last accessible around 1950 and subsequently enclosed by Mr Dennis George, either at Eastwick's Yacht Station, Acle Dyke, or Turner's Yard, Horning.

Inside, the ends of old fastenings, sticking though the vertical wood boards have been ground off. Bare patches and rough peeling paint on the headlining (ceiling), food cupboard and elsewhere were cleaned and sanded. A cool egg blue colour was revealed on the sides ~ also used in the saloon. All the upper woodwork was then refreshed with new coats of industrial quality semi gloss cream paint.

Fo'c'sle ~ a medieval term for a castle or platform, used mostly for combat, found at the forward part of ships.

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King's Head Staithe, Hoveton, pictured from Wroxham public Parish Staithe