Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back in my berth again

Well that was a week and a half. As I mentioned in my last post, the man with the hammer came on Tuesday and showed almost unhealthy enthusiasm for finding fault with my 120 year old bottom. Well, find it he did: one thin area in front of the propellor through which he made a small hole, and a one and a half metre strip just above where some of the plates are riveted together. I shouldn't complain though. He was just doing his job and probably saved me a heap of trouble later on. But as I also said last time, I hadn't booked anyone to do the welding for me.

Tim's patch
True to his word, though, our lovely neighbour, Tim, came and welded a small emergency patch over the hole just before he set off on his own journey north to fetch a mast for his ship. We watched him leaving and I don't think I've ever seen his smile so wide; it was the first time he'd been away on his beautiful barge so it was quite something to see it moving.

A smiling Tim setting off on his own barge


That same morning, however, another wonderful neighbour, who is actually retired, came to offer his services. He was, bless him, concerned I wouldn't get another chance as the yard might be closing for good next year, so as a special favour, he collected up some odd pieces of steel and knitted them together to patch the thinning skin of my ageing Vereeniging.

The strip above the plate joints

It took three days of hard work, and three days when I had to spend much of my time crouched in the back cabin with the floor up and the cupboards dismantled watching for possible fires. My only company was a washing up liquid bottle full of water ready to squirt on any flames and a bunch of damp cloths to wrap over the old wooden framework of the cupboards, some of which were unnervingly close to the iron plates being welded. Rather wet companions, don't you think?

My properly patched up behind before painting

My only entertainment was posting cryptic messages on Twitter, but it did occur to me I could write the experience into a book about tips and tricks for restoring an old Dutch barge. The inimitable Roger Distill sowed the seeds with his own book 'Hints and Tips for Life with Your Feet Under Water (see the link here) as he'd already suggested I should do one for living on European waters.

Once the welding was over, it was down to painting again, so back came the rollers and black tar substitute. Koos and I rolled and brushed for all we were were worth until yesterday morning when the week was over and we slid back into the water again. After a quick check to make sure there were no nasty surprises after the welding and bashing, one of our other special neighbours towed us back to my berth. Next projects? Getting the engine going...again, sorting out the rust under the rubbing rail...again, and re-building the back cabin...again.

What was that they say here in the Netherlands? Koop een boot, werk je dood! (or loosely translated: buy a boat, work yourself to death)

Have a good week allemaal!

17 comments:

  1. Hi Val - I must say Tim's smile and waves says it all ... he's a happy boy - and how lovely to see him 'sail' out. So glad the Vereeniging is safely repaired for next year ... sounds one 'interesting' job ... rest up now ... before settling to do the rest - cheers Hilary

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    1. Tim has the best smile in the harbour, Hilary, and this really shows it! Thank you so much! Interesting it certainly is :)

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  2. Better to get it all sorted now than to sing the song,"There's a hole in my barge,my barge,my barge" although that's probably not funny!
    Anne Mackle

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    1. Anne, it make me laugh! Thank you!

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  3. So glad your bottom is better ...

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  4. So now Val you are once again, as the old saying goes 'all ship shape and Bristol fashion !'

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    1. Yes! Now I wonder what the origins of 'Bristol fashion' are?

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  5. Or, as we say over here, "BOAT - Bring Out Another Thousand"! I'm glad it's all done, Val, but it's rather like painting the Forth Bridge, isn't it? Best of luck with the rest of it. And thanks for the plug!

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    1. Oh goodness yes! That's a good comparison! And you're welcome :)

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  6. What a fascinating life you lead, Val. But me thinks you could do with a bit less excitement and fire watching! (Steph)

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  7. and I thought I had problems repainting the house!

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    1. Yes...I know I'm bonkers, CarolStar...there's no help for it though!

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  8. I bet your muscles were cramped too after the fire watching. It's part of boat life to have to care for them. BOAT indeed (as someone commented above). Our boats become family as inevitably happens when you have to clean someone's bottom. X
    Tonia

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  9. What are you going to do when the yard closes?

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