The Society for the Movement of “Up” to a More Convenient Location – S.M.U.M.C.L.

Cable tray partly in place – virtually all of the 12V wiring is carried along here, the 230V “mains” is on t’other side o’boat. Yup, the tray is staying exposed and on view like that – and to add a touch more of “Red Dwarf” it will soon have some ventilation pipes hanging off it too. The images below are yonder Cardinal Wolsey himself, and a view of the pounding of the French ship ‘Redoubtable’ at Trafalgar (although too late to save Nelson). White blanking plate between is where there used to be a dangly-dangly brass wall-light thingy, the real and main purpose of which seemed to be to collect dead flies.

Yonder human frame is emphatically not adapted well to working overhead. Drilling, stripping wires, tinning wires, crimping terminals onto wires (and testing them), screwing up wotsit connection blocks and connecting wires with fiddly wee screws – when conducted in the “up” dimension of time and space – wreak havoc on necks, backs and arms.

I therefore propose that we form a society with the express aim and intention of having “up” removed from its current, highly inconvenient location, and placed somewhere where it’s not quite so creak & groan-inducing to use, such as at desk height or roughly 30″ – 33″ from the average set of human toes.


All “overhead” work might then be more conveniently carried out with arms hanging down instead of raised above the shoulder, and with head in the more natural “drooping” position. Furthermore, my varifocal spectacles (close work to bottom of lens, long-distance to top) might then actually have a ruddy chance of being useful, and I might look less like an elderly bog-eyed frog trying to use a screwdriver in a pea-soup fog.

This week the Bro and I have, on occasion, when there has been demonstrably fewer than one spectator in sight, lumbered onto the roof the the Cardinal and performed “The Happy Dance”. This is because all of the thinking, planning and physical work hitherto undertaken is now paying dividends (and dividends a damned sight more generous than any National Savings Account). The last of the electrics is going in…

We’ve thrown out pipeworkery, we’ve heaved out woodwork, and now we’re ditching the last of the Duct Tape. Below, the old versus the new:

Earlier “electrickery merchants” seemed to have thought that twisting wires together and then taping over them was kosher industry standard and practise.
Many, many splendid examples of the electrical trade. These really ought to go to some museum for display. I recommend Madam Tussauds, in the “horror” department.
A small measure of the new… new wire, labelled at either end (and sometimes in the middle too, if a long run) and hooked up in terminal blocks ready to run back and forth in conduit in the new cable-tray. Most splendid indeed. All immortalised in diagrams in the new Owner’s Manual too. The only downside to this is that it’s overhead, which is up, hence S.M.U.M.C.L.
Wiring further down towards the blunt end and still in progress, temporarily labelled with tape and ready for being cut to length, proper labelling and connecting.

S.M.U.M.C.L. would, when our aims have been achieved, also take the pressure off words such as “ooh” and “aargh” and “yikes” and “gadzooks”. Phrases currently under ridiculous demand, such as “chuffin’ Nora, my back’s gone again” and “no – I can’t feel my hands at all now, the blood must be somewhere else” would be much more freely available in moments of more genuine need. For the good of the human species we simply cannot continue to undertake overhead work in the “up” position, it simpy must be moved.

Interspersed with trips to the wilds of the marina to find vertebrae that have pinged out and shot off to pastures untrodden, some of the good good goodies have been finalised (using wiring put in many moons ago at the start of this venture).

There are now two of these LP Gas detector beasties live, one at the lowest point (as the Cardinal usually rests) and t’other in the galley near the cooker. Either of these will turn off the gas in the gas locker all by themselves, if triggered.

Yes, yes, yes – wiring yet to be neatly p-clipped away! Sensor itslef is way down below…

There is now a big, red switch near the galley that will also, if whacked in a panic, turn off the gas bottles (and probably throw a cover over the budgie’s cage too).

Gas on – gas off. Gas on – gas off. Gas on – gas off…

One very neat feature added is a couple of extra switches right next to the light switch by my bed in the cabin. These are “protected” switches in that to work them requires that the little red secondary switch is tickled first, so they can’t be operated accidentally. One is an extra switch to the deck floodlights (that went in earlier in the work) and the other is an extra switch for my 120db horn… Should I find myself in the middle of nowhere and the boat being attacked by badgers during the night all I need do is to reach out a languid arm and flick a couple of switches to both illuminate and mightily disturb the peace. No need to get dressed first, find the ignition key, or even go outside. Hopefully this son et lumière show will keep badgers, burglars and zombies distracted while I load the blunderbuss with grape, don a pair of exceptionally frilly knickers and adjust the strap on my pickelhaube.

Yikes – duct tape! No worries though, it’s just holding the new wiring back until it is covered by the wood trim on its way to the cable tray up above (see aims of S.M.U.N.M.C.L. for problems with “above”). One horn, one outside floodlights.

Numb fingers, shoulders, elbows, wrists and brains aside, the week has not been without its more mundane tribulations. Polycarbonates ordered from a certain “specialist” plastics firm early last month have been arriving – arriving damaged, cut with axes instead of saws, with holes drilled in the wrong places and with no holes drilled at all. “Useless twonks” is a phrase that keeps springing to mind. One of the sheets ordered (and the one in the photo below is sans holes ordered – useless twonkery abounding) is to be the access panel to the heavy electrics cupboard (and to protect it from t’weather, should t’hatch be open). Because it has none of the endrillinations required it is shown with some canvas webbing wot I did use to lift it in and out to try it in place. When the plastics twonks get their act together, it will just be a plain see-through panel.

Please to ignore the purple canvas webbing, this is that which will what be not there when finished properly. Row of coloured switches shown are: engine isolation; inverter on/off; bilge pump; engine-bay ventilation fan; cabin ventilation (mentioned below) and, finally, electrical cupboard ventilation fans over-ride.

The see-through panel keeps the inverter, isolation transformer, various fuseboxes and the solar controllers – and their various flashing LEDs – on view, while still protected. This used to be covered by a couple of dodgy doors with the poor circuit-breaker panel languishing on one of them under some sort of “photo frame” arrangement in a desperate attempt to keep it out of any and all rain.

All of the switchworkery and battery displays have been moved one step further inside, away from the steps and away from the great outdoors.

The exposed metal cable-tray is a deliberate feature, running the full length of the boat – and I loves it. It will, for even more Red Dwarfery effect, soon enough have some plastic and crinkly pipework dangling from it – forced ventilation to take warm air from around the stove area and to throw it into the shower room and the sleeping cabin. The shower room doubles as a clothes-drying area, so it will have warm air blown in at floor level and the vent in the ceiling to extract the various scents of my laundered boxer shorts (these scents being lemon, lavender, meadow-flowers and curry-breath).


Oh yes – and I took five minutes out to stick up the third smoke/CO alarm! If all three (and a fourth is planned…) were to go off simultaneously then I suspect that the decibels alone would remove all human life from the Cardinal’s interior.

I also took advantage of the flat calm the other day to move the Cardinal about face at his mooring, thus giving me easier access (as in access with a pontoon under my boots) to scrub the rest of the roof and to tart up some of the battle-scars on the gunwales (in my free time). The pointy end is now moored where the more blunt end used to be, and – fortunately, a testament to Northwich Boat Builders’ skill and the quality of the hull – the blunt end moored where the pointy end used to be moored. It’s all very confusin’, I know. In landlubber terms, a three-point turn was performed. Alright, a four point turn was performed; there’s not a lot of room in the marina for this sort of floating tomfoolery.

Moving the Cardinal thus was also an act of calculated cruelty performed upon my fellow marina inmates, in that they all thought – they all hoped – that we were departing for pastures new. Oh, their little crest-fallen faces when I reversed the Cardinal back into his mooring and re-tied our strings. The marina went from full of folk running about with boxes of paper party-hats and crates of beer and fireworks to full of folk sitting on rocks, weeping.

We aim to please.

Which reminds me, I must clean the bathroom. We should aim there too, please.

Chin-chin for the mo’.

S.M.U.M.C.L. membership forms are available from the front desk, or by post from The Department for Time, Space & The Idiotic Placement of Important Dimensions, P.O. Box 3.142ish or more, SWIA 1AA.

IGH on behalf of Cardinal Upgradements & Improvements Limited.



  1. Cor blimey Mary Poppins wot high tech shenanigans; t’would make the space ship Enterprise look like a windyuper thing! Me thinks The Cardinal needs a manual of guidance to work the inside features, plus a map of the interior to show where each feature is. You have created a wonderful floating phenomenon! Well done Sir!

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