- Leo No2 at Reading prior to repaint - July-2011 - 

I was keen, a year or so ago, to consider repainting my narrowboat, Leo No2 but, like a lot of things in life I had no experience of engaging a painter to do this work. On the North Oxford canal in July of last year a saw a boat which looked very nicely painted with a little 'by line' at the back which said 'Painted by Stem to Stern'. That evening I looked them up on the internet and sent off an enquiry. Mark Clamp of Stem to Stern called me a couple of hours later. We agreed to meet at his place, in Stratford-on-Avon, on the Sunday which we were planning as arest day. My friend Brian, who was on his boat Orion's Wey wanted to watch the Grand Prix and the Tour de France so that worked well.

I went to to Stratford, via all sorts of places including Birmingham New Street and spent an interesting afternoon with Mark viewing his handiwork. We agreed he would come and look at Leo No2 on our way back from the IWA Meeting at Burton-on-Trent.

Mark came and had a look at the boat when were were moored outside the Cape of Good Hope at the bottom of Hatton and we agreed a price for July-2012 painting. The long and short of it was that my friend Ray (thank you Ray) and I delivered the boat to Mark at the end of June-2012 travelling via the Grand Union as the Thames was seemingly always on Red Boards. Also it was about £ 130 for a Thames licence for 4 days (and I'd still need to buy a CaRT licence) whereas, if resident on the Wey we can obtain a Wey Transit Licence for £ 10 (it does count towards your annual useage and you may be asked to purchase an annual licence eventually) to travel from below Shepperton to Teddington. As it was we left the Wey at 09:30 and were at Bulls Bridge by 20:30. The photos of the repaint are © Stem to Stern and Mark Clamp and are reproduced here by his kind permission.

I agonised a bit over the wording to go on the back panel, I didn't really want to keep the current wording which advertised my friends Mick and Suzanne Wilson's business. I was fairly sure I wanted my name in place of 'Aquarius' but what to put along the bottom in place of 'Narrowboat Fitters' - 'nothing' was not an option. I became fairly set on Black Boy Bridge (River Wey close to my mooring at Addlestone) but following advice from friends decided against this as it can have 'racial' overtones. I then thought seriously about Sheets Heath Bridge (where I live on the edge of the Basingstoke Canal) and even considered replicating the rear panel of my Mum's cousin's boat Heather Bell which was 'C & D March' and 'Worcester' but as the boat is being restored I decided against that. I also thought about Pelican Wharf (supposedly where I moor but there is, and never has been, a Pelican Wharf - only a pub of the same name. In the end I decided on Coxes Mill (Click Coxes Mill for a picture of it) as it is at the upper end of the mooring I use and has a boating and industrial history.

Below are the pictures and a few other comments that Mark has sent to me during the repaint. I will continue to update this page until I collect the boat which is planned for the week commencing 30-July-2012 - just hope it doesn't get too hot as that can interfere with the painting process. The photos were taken with an iPhone (thanks Mark) so are only of 'iPhone' size but if you click on any of the photographs below you will get a double size version of it!

I wanted the boat to be as near as possible traditional in all respects (yes I know it is not a traditional boat - it does have a 'trad' stern) especially as regards the paint so the things I have gone for (with help/advice from Dave Moore) is raddle red roof / raddle red front and rear decks / black cants - to continue the black gunwales / green sides with red panels and inca gold coachlining.

Stop Press: 01-August: Looks as if I will be able to collect the boat on Monday afternoon - 6-August. We'll be travelling Stratford, GU to Napton, Oxford and then Thames as my crew needs to be home by a certain date.

05-August-12: Text from Mark the painter this morning to say now not ready until 8-August at lunchtime - huge disappointment initially but if it is to get things 'right' then that's the way it will be but we'll need to show Stratford a clean pair of heels if I am to get Brian (my crew) home in time - maybe I'll send him by train from Oxford as the Thames locks are 'easier' with the wonderful lockies.

06-August-12: Just discovered (thank you Rodney) that I can get a 'Section 9' exemption for travel from Osney Lock to Weybridge as the boat is returning from maintenance. That will save a few quid. I have to produce the bill for the work (well it's a William really!) so that's no trouble and just makes life slightly easier from a financial point-of-view. Tried to find out if CaRT have a similar exemption but it appears not. :-(

(3-July-2012) The roof on Leo No2 where the brass 'ladder rack' attached - the only real area of rust. (3-July-2012) Mark Clamp removing the old paint. See this Video link to watch Mark taking the paint off. (4-July-2012) The windows were removed - just a tiny bit of rust to be removed (7-July-2012) Now in 'Battleship Grey'
(12-July-2012) The green is coming along. (16-July-2012) Flatting it back - again (17-July-2012) Starting to reflect the real depth of colour (18-July-2012) The roof looks great and is in the traditional 'raddle' red.
(19-July-2012) Getting even more depth to the colour now (23-July-2012) By 10:30 today it was just too hot to paint 25-July-2012) Starting to look like a narrowboat with deep red panels (25-July-2012) Another view of the deep red panels
(25-July-2012) The 'harlequin' pattern going back on (26-July-2012) Dave Moore doing the signwriting (26-July-2012) The new Dave Moore sign-writing on the boat (26-July-2012) Dave Moore applying the finishing touches
(28-July-2012) The name really stands out with the yellow coachlines on (28-July-2012) An overview of both rear panels (28-July-2012) A closer view of the rear panel (30-July-2012) The 'harlequin' pattern is now finished and looks great
(01-August-2012) The red handrails look just great (01-August-2012) The front deck. The area around the gas locker will be raddle red. (01-August-2012) More of the red handrails (06-August-2012) The bow decoration. The light blue represents Aquarius Narrowboat Fitters

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