After (above) and before:
Male visitors and club members are probably unaware of what the ladies’ changing room in the clubhouse is like. Firstly it is much smaller, as the whole clubhouse width area at the back of the gents does not exist in the ladies, who have only the area excluding this section. Secondly it is in a worse state of repair. Thanks to club member Barrie Holden, the walls in the gents have been repaired and painted and many of the benches too. As with the mens’, the ladies showers and toilets were upgraded a few years ago, but the changing area is in need of attention.

So, while the clubhouse is closed, a group of sociable sailors and other volunteers are coming together to carry out some much needed repairs and maintenance of this forgotten area. This group are determined to make the ladies’ changing room a destination to be proud of and to make the men jealous of.

Meanwhile, Barrie has been re-invigorated to finish the gents, so we hope that both changing rooms will be much changed for the better when they are reopened.

Tuesday 23rd June

We made it! After five weeks of almost uninterrupted work the job is complete. Chris and Lynn replaced the overhead racks and I did some final paint touching up and put the blue mats back in place. A thousand thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who made this project a success.

Sunday 21st – Monday 22nd June

On Sunday Ray did a fantastic job positioning, glueing and screwing the battens in place. On Monday, Jane (having recovered from her tooth extraction) arrived to attack the remaining blue mats from the Gents’ with the pressure washer and antibacterial wash.

They are now all gleaming and ready to be put back in place. Barrie arrived armed with his power screwdriver and screwed all the coat hooks back on in the ladies’. It is now starting to look like a changing room again. I painted another coat of paint on the iron gate at the back of the ladies, which is now a fetching shade of lilac to match the battens.The final leg is now in sight.

Friday 19th – Saturday 20th June

Really on the home straight now. I painted two further coats on the battens so these are now ready to be attached to the walls. After Elinor had enjoyed a sail in her Topper on Saturday morning she stayed in her wetsuit to start pressure washing the blue mats from the gents’. 13 complete so far which is about one third of the total number.

Thursday 18th June

The materials to allow us to replace the overhead racks were delivered early this morning. So when Chris and Lynn arrived for the afternoon shift, I had lots of two-person jobs lined up for them. Firstly they moved all the racks and mats that had been stored in the cafe back upstairs, then they moved all the tables and chairs into the centre of the cafe ready for it to reopen for a take-away service on Saturday. There will be more information about this on the website home page.

Then they carried all the wood for the new battens up to the ladies changing room, sawed them to the correct sizes and carefully marked where each piece will go on the walls. In parallel I put the first coat of paint on the battens. Tomorrow’s job will be the second (and possibly third) coat of paint, then they can be mounted, the hooks replaced and the overhead racks installed.

Monday 15th – Tuesday 16th June

A lot has happened in the last two days. In the ladies, Sarah has powered through two more coats of floor paint (with a little help from me) and is finishing off the final coat as I write.

Nigel painted the last section of wall and the pillar near the entrance in the gents, so this is effectively finished; there is always a bit more to do but we can call it done, hooray and massive thanks to all – especially Barrie – who have put in the effort.

Ann and Lynn spent a happy morning sitting (socially distanced) outside the cafe scraping and scrubbing dried-on paint off the coat hooks and managed more than 130 between them. Then Chris and Lynn screwed 32 hooks back onto the free standing bench and replaced the overhead rack. So this bench is also finished! While Chris, Lynn and Ann went for a walk to the west end of the lake, I scraped and scrubbed the rest of the hooks, so they are all now clean and ready to be replaced on the walls.

Friday 12th – Sunday 14th June

This was floor painting weekend. Sarah was missing painting now that the gents’ was finished so very kindly offered to help with the ladies’. I scraped and scrubbed ingrained mud, chewing gum and other unrecognisable items under the benches. Then it was a matter of washing down all the floor area with soapy water, rinsing with multiple buckets of clean water, washing down on hands and knees with sugar soap and then finally rinsing again to get the whole of the remaining floor area ready for the first coat of paint.

Sarah put in two shifts of floor painting, so that by Sunday evening the whole floor is now grey instead of green. The photos show the final obliteration of the green floor tiles. Tomorrow we will start on the second coat of floor paint. It needs careful planning to work around to the exit and not get stuck, or leave belongings, inside wet paint. Locking the gate at the top of the cafe stairs and switching off the lights was a bit of an issue but fortunately there are multiple ways in and out of the area.

Thursday 11th June

Today marked a major milestone – Barrie has finished the benches in the gents. This has been a huge undertaking spanning three years, and all users of the gents changing room will benefit from Barrie’s dedication and hard work. There is a small amount of white wall painting still to do, so if anyone can volunteer for that, it would be fantastic to be able to say the project is complete!

Meanwhile there was plenty going on in the ladies too. I applied the first coat of floor paint to the first bay, and what a difference it has made! Compare today’s photo to yesterday’s of the same area.

Chris and Lynn arrived for yet another afternoon session and achieved loads. Lynn finished painting the bench slats, so all the benches are now complete. Chris finished off a bit of lilac painting on the free-standing bench and then went down to the cafe, aka storage area to work on the overhead racks. He washed them all down, sanded the brackets and bracket mountings and painted these white. Then he and Lynn gave the same treatment to the two very long racks which are still upstairs as they are too big to remove from the room without dismantling. This means that the floor is now clear for the rest of it to be painted.

All that remains now is to install new battens to spread the load of the overhead racks so they stay attached to the wall, clean and refasten the coat hooks, replace the overhead racks and finish painting the floor. This has been a labour of love by the small band of fantastic volunteers – there is still work for more volunteers if you can help us finish the project off.

Wednesday 10th June

Sarah finished ‘her’ bench and made a start on the second coat of the last unfinished one. Dave Williams took over from her to complete the second coat. Meanwhile I sugar soaped and rinsed the floor in the first bay. This is now drying ready for the first coat of floor paint to go down tomorrow.

Tuesday 9th June

Although Barrie has been bravely battling on in the gents, in the meantime there was a little pause in the ladies while more supplies were obtained. Even Barrie took two days off on Sunday and Monday. So with renewed vigour, this morning Barrie and Sarah were working on the final two benches in the gents.

Sarah is determined to finish ‘her’ bench tomorrow, while Barrie was doing the first coat on the other one. In the ladies, Ann put in another excellent morning’s work painting between the slats and on the legs, which Chris finished off in the afternoon (except one leg which inexplicably got missed). Meanwhile I mopped the floor in the first bay twice to start getting ready to paint it. Then I cut pieces of off-cut vinyl to size to fill the gaps where there are missing tiles and stuck them down, getting my fingers thoroughly coated in Evo-stick. This reminded me of craft activities when I was a child, I remember peeling dried Evo-stick off my fingers after Blue Peter-like sessions (probably in the Brownies). I’m sure they don’t allow children to get covered in Evo-stick these days! If anyone has any spare bits of vinyl flooring lying around that they could donate, please let me know – we don’t have enough to fill all the gaps in the floor tiles.

Thursday 4th June

Chris and Lynn put in another afternoon session painting more of the benches. Lynn finished off the first coat on all the bench slats and put a second coat over Ann’s work of yesterday. Chris carried on painting the fiddly bits between the slats and the legs.

Wednesday 3rd June

Ann started painting the benches in the first bay. This is very time consuming as although the slats can be rollered very quickly, between and behind the slats and the legs of the benches are very fiddly. We agreed that the tops of the slats would need a second coat. I continued clearing out the grime of ages between the ends of the slats and the walls.

Tuesday 2nd June

R day is here at last! No not the reproduction rate of the virus, but Reopening Day. Several of our stalwart volunteers arrived to get their reward on the water, while Lynn spent the morning while Chris was sailing, sugar soaping and rinsing all the ladies’ benches. These are now ready for painting tomorrow, when Ann, having enjoyed her sail today, will be back to paint. Barrie arrived with all the new supplies and he and Sarah got back to bench painting.

Meanwhile, sailors long deprived arrived, rigged and went sailing in the beautiful conditions, although the wind did drop very light on several occasions. BBC Look East arrived to film us and interview John and Jon (from Shuttleworth). The report will be some time after 6:30 pm this evening.

Monday 1st June

For the first time in weeks the gents’ was deserted as Barry took a day off and went to collect more paint, white spirit and other varied supplies. Nigel arrived to work in the ladies and powered through the sanding, including clearing ingrained dirt behind the bench slats, while I finished off the one I was working on yesterday. Final preparations for site reopening completed, with barriers showing the one-way system for exiting the toilets via the changing room fire escapes.

Sunday 31st May

Because Sarah and Jason had used up all the paint on Saturday, Barrie was alone working on varnishing the woodwork in the gents’ on Sunday. I washed down the bench Manuel had sanded in the ladies, while Gary carried on with the sanding. I tried to extract the muck of ages from behind the bench slats which was a very difficult job, so far we have found 55p and a hairgrip. We also carried on preparing for reopening, with all the signage and one-way systems being checked

Saturday 30th May

Barrie was as usual hard at work in the men’s’ changing room painting benches and was joined by Colin. Colin’s wife and daughter Sue and Abigail volunteered to help out in the ladies’. So Sue painted a second coat on the battens (they are a very pretty colour now) and got round two-thirds of the room before Abigail decided it was lunch time.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Jason arrived to take over the afternoon shift in the men’s and Iris and Manuel arrived to tackle the ladies. Iris finished the battens, including painting two coats on the free-standing bench, so these are now ready to have the coat hooks reapplied. Manuel, equipped with electric sander, sanded down the benches in the first bay. We have decided these will have to be repainted for now, rather than being boxed in (that may come later). So the next job, for tomorrow’s volunteers, is to wash the first bay’s benches down ready for repainting and carry on sanding round the rest of the room. Outside, work continued on getting the grounds ready for reopening on Tuesday. Signage was erected, grass was strimmed and mowed. There is more information on all of this on the Covid-19 Operating Procedures page. This is currently being updated; be sure to check it on Monday if you are planning to visit the club on Tuesday.

Friday 29th May

We were so busy getting ready for the club reopening that there are no photos of today’s work, so I am including one of the finished steps from the changing room to cafe which I did yesterday. Jane and Ann arrived and got down to painting. Jane painted the iron gate at the top of the stairs to the cafe a pale grey colour which should be easier to see against the white wall behind. She then painted the final bit of black skirting board at the base of the central pillar. Ann painted the first coat onto the battens all round the walls that hold the hundreds of coat hooks above the benches. There will be one more coat needed, which will be done over the next few days. Then the next job is sanding down the benches around the walls ready for painting. Meanwhile Barrie was joined in the gents’ again by Sarah this morning and this afternoon David arrived to help him.

Thursday 28th May

Ray came to finish off the filling of holes in the walls and I painted white edges on the steps to make them visible. Because the surface is uneven, it was difficult to get perfectly straight edges. In the afternoon, Chris and Lynn arrived and finished the painting of the walls. Meanwhile, Barrie’s plea for help in the gents’ was answered as Sarah arrived to help him with painting the benches. More people are lined up to help in the next couple of days, but any offers of assistance will be very gratefully received.







Wednesday 27th May

Ray arrived nice and early to do part one of filling the large holes in the walls under the window. He will be back for part two tomorrow so we will then be able to finish painting the walls. Jane then applied the second coat of floor paint to the stairs between the changing rooms and cafe. These are now finished apart from contrasting marking for the tread edges. We now have hopefully got all the paint we need to finish the job over the next couple of days. Barrie was back in the gents’ after a day off yesterday, to start painting the six free-standing benches. He is putting out a plea for volunteers to help him with this, the final task to complete the refurb of the gents’ changing. If you would be happy to spend a socially distanced morning or afternoon painting then please do get in touch:

Tuesday 26th May

The start of week two and stalwart volunteer Ann arrived to finish painting the bench that Fiona had worked on yesterday. By now we had almost run out of white paint so thought she wouldn’t have enough work to keep her busy. In the end it took much more time, but slightly less paint, than expected. By the time Chris and Lynn arrived for the afternoon turn, Ann was out of energy but not out of paint or bench. So Lynn took over from a rather weary Ann and managed to finish the paint and the bench simultaneously.

I attacked the cafe-changing room steps again, this time with sugar soap followed by three buckets-full of clean water so it would be ready for painting. There wasn’t much left of the sponge by the end. The steps had dried just in time for Chris to start painting them. They should then dry overnight so that a second coat can be applied tomorrow. Meanwhile more paint has been ordered so we can carry on working.

Monday 25th May

Jane and Elinor arrived for the morning shift. Jane very kindly agreed to help Barrie in the gents’, with socially distanced washing down of the free-standing benches he has been working on for the past week, so they are now ready for painting. Barrie now owes us ladies one. Meanwhile Elinor was able to paint the underside of the free-standing bench in the ladies. It seems that because her landlord doesn’t allow any re-decoration work in their flat, this opportunity is quite therapeutic. Nigel and Fiona arrived for the afternoon shift and put the free-standing bench back on its feet.

Then Fiona painted the top part of the bench, while Nigel painted the long back wall and most of the end wall. This just leaves a second coat on the bench, plus the last bit of the end wall and the two outside walls to paint – these need some repair to the concrete first before they can be painted. The whole room is looking so much brighter and cleaner already.

Meanwhile your correspondent rolled up her sleeves for the first time and did some actual work. I picked up where Gary had left off with the stairs to the cafe. Barrie had brought a wire brush, which helped a lot in removing the stubborn mud (and some of the skin on my wrist). Elinor and Jane kept calling “are you ok?” in response to my many cries of “Ouch”. Then I mopped them down with detergent and finally clean water (5 buckets full!), so they are finally ready for sugar soaping and repainting.

Sunday 24th May

Today Iris (who is responsible for this whole project starting off) and Manuel arrived to carry out double-handed working. First they managed to turn the free-standing bench, that had been worked on by Ann and Elinor previously, onto its side so the underneath could be worked on and Iris washed it down with sugar soap ready for painting. Between them they then managed to paint about one third of the wall area in white paint. Already the whole room looks much brighter. They were here all day as they kept spotting another bit of painting they could do before they went. They are also volunteering to come back next weekend.

Elinor emailed to say that apparently she enjoyed yesterday’s work so much she is coming back tomorrow for more. Jane will also be here, plus Nigel and Fiona Denchfield in the afternoon.

Saturday 23rd May

Elinor arrived to pick up where Ann left off yesterday. She washed down the bench Ann had sanded, first with sugar soap and then with water.This is now ready for painting. Afterwards she gave her Topper a bit of TLC. Elinor said we should make clear that a major perk of volunteering inside the clubhouse is that you can use the toilets (they are being disinfected every night). So please step up!

Gary then agreed to undertake one of the most unenviable tasks so far:cleaning the steps from the changing rooms to the cafe. These were encrusted with many years of mud and it took him seven passes with water and scrubbing to get them clean. The plan is to wash with sugar soap then repaint the steps with floor paint and then apply hazard tape to the edges so they are safe.

Barrie also returned with new sander (thanks to eBay) to carry on with the benches in the mens’. These are now all sanded, now comes the big clean-up followed by repainting.

Many thanks to all the keen volunteers who are carrying this project forward. If you are able to help in any way, please get in touch:

Friday 22nd May

Four days in and we have made huge progress. The preparation is almost finished and we are nearly ready to start painting. Ann worked on her own for more than four hours today! She had brought her power sander with her and sanded down the one free-standing bench in the middle of the area. This was a massive job and a lot of it had to be done by hand as there was so much debris between and behind the bench slats. Hopefully tomorrow’s volunteer will be able to give it one more going over and a wash down so it is ready for painting. The paint and painting equipment has been ordered and will arrive tomorrow.

Thursday 21st May

Today Ros and Chris and Lynn gave up their time to do more preparation work . The walls and iron gates to the cafe are now ready for repainting and the windows are sparkling. We have now ordered the paint and other materials for us to start repairing and improving. Barrie was again working on preparing the benches in the mens’ until his sander gave up the ghost. We hope he will be back soon with a repaired/replaced sander. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who are helping to make our club a destination to be proud of.

Wednesday 20th May

Ros and Ann again spent the whole morning at the club (huge thanks). All the blue mats are now sparkling, having been scrubbed with anti-bacterial solution and are stored in the cafe area until they can be reinstated. The remainder of the coat hooks have been removed and stored for replacing once the painting is complete. All the battens supporting the coat hooks have been sanded down ready for repainting and a good proportion of the walls washed down with sugar soap ready for repainting. Barrie was also back onsite doing more work on the mens’ benches. Next steps are to finish washing the walls and to prepare the iron gates for repainting.

Tuesday 19th May

Work has now started on cleaning the blue floor mats, stripping down all the fixtures and fittings (coat hooks, overhead racks, blue mats, etc), ready for repainting and refitting. We will be filling holes in the walls, sanding down, making good, painting and hopefully putting down a new floor and installing new benches and cubicles.

Thanks to the four volunteers (Ros, Ann, Chris and Lynn) who turned out on the first work day to start all the preparation work. Obviously we are observing all the necessary restrictions on working environments and our risk assessment has been signed off. The plan is to keep this blog going to record the progress and (hopefully) proud reopening of a fantastic new facility.

Maybe if the men ask us nicely we could also help them to improve their changing room. However, the good news for them is that while the work is going on in the ladies, Barrie is also doing more work on the remaining benches in the mens’. The sound of hammering and sawing was heard across the site today.

If you are able to volunteer to help with either project, we would love to hear from you, please email me at