Keep on dancing!
Why stick to magnolia when you can have colour on your boat? Find out how David created a ‘playground for the mind’...
If an idea or dream nags enough, at some point, you have to take notice and act on it. For me, as for many readers here, it was the dream of a boat and the freedom of the cut. After trips to marinas and many hours on eBay, Disco was the realisation of that dream. An old boat, one of only two boats built by Brian Duval in the early 1970s.
A few years after construction, the wooden superstructure was destroyed by fire when a neighbouring boat caught fire. She lay half sunken when Pip from the Tate gallery came along and fell in love with her. Pip called in a Tate metal sculptor to replace the destroyed wooden top with a steel one, trying to keep the original design. She then lived aboard for the next 19 years.
I came to this life with no knowledge of canal boats and, boy, have I had to learn.
A friend of a friend of a friend had offered to bring her down from Yorkshire. I gave the chap a lift up and, on the way, he admitted to knowing nothing about engines and not being able to see beyond the end of his nose. He abandoned the boat before delivery with many scars as well as an overflowing toilet cassette. The scars have gone, but the smell of that toilet will stay with me.
The final leg of delivery, now with a much more helpful friend of a friend, Dave Wakefield, was going well until the TMP gearbox gave up but, with the help of more boater goodwill, she was towed to her berth in Saul. TMPs are hard to find these days but it turned out that Ben Selfe, my new neighbour, had one lying in a field. We thought the different ratio would perhaps require a different prop but sadly, with an inch different drop, required the moving of the stern tube and, therefore, a big hole to be cut in my new boat.
I’d been told that Disco liked straight lines and she was reluctant to turn. While out of the water at R W Davis in Gloucester, director Phil Trotter pointed at the stern plate and said: “that’s your