Sunday, May 10, 2009

So, another week on the helling is over and I have to admit to being thoroughly and completely knackered, inelegant though the word may be, but then elegance is not what this world is about. Remember that expression "koop een boot, werk je dood"?

Still, apart from getting extremely dirty..(someone even said I looked like Philip the Teeth of Watery Ways fame ;-))

And picking up my own war wound in the form of a scratched eye (chips of paint gain remarkable velocity and power when spinning off an angle grinder)

the work is very rewarding when I see my little barge gleaming and freshly painted as in the pics below. Note the celebratory poses being struck by my sterling crew who have helped me tremendously these last days. Mo has been an absolute trooper the whole week, never failing once, and Craig put in his money's worth in heaps by being my official sander of paintwork today. The results are really amazing, I think.

In short, we have
1. scraped cleaned and painted the bottom with 2 coats of tar substitute, known in the UK as 'blacking'.
2. Frits (the star) welded a new plate to the bottom to protect a vulnerable place that collects condensation inside.
3. Koos removed the propeller and took it to a specialist to have it adjusted and shaped.
4. Mo and I chipped and scraped a hundred years of old tar off the rubbing rail that runs all round the barge. A horrible job that can only be done on the helling as dropping tar scrapings in the water is a seriously fineable offence. What's worse is that it burns your skin as well, so we both feel as if our faces have been sandblasted.
5. We also sanded, scraped and filled rusty places on the red strip (the boiesel), and then re-painted it (it still needs a second coat though).
6 Then while Craig sanded, Mo and I painted the back cabin, the engine room and the front of the hold in a new bright and luscious green. The place where I used to buy my paint has closed down, so we had to mix our own. It's lighter than the old version, but will definitely darken down when the shine wears off. All the same I rather like it.
7. Lastly, I repainted my foredeck which is always difficult as it's where everyone has to walk, so I was up with the lark this morning to do it before anyone else was awake. Luckily it dries very fast, but it's aleady been well used.

Oh and by the way, when you click to enlarge the photos, you can see loads of small seed pods stuck to the bottom and sides of the barge. They've nearly driven me crazy today, and my newly painted areas are covered in the things, especially the foredeck.

Well, back in the water we go tomorrow, and I'll be pleased to be swaying with the motion of the boat again. It feels really weird to be on land, and the barge feels hard and rigid. Not nice at all. Still, I think Sin prefers it! In a couple of weeks, there will be some big changes, but I'll fill you in on that later. For now, the Vereeniging is fit to fare for another two years...which reminds me - I must book now to get the week I want next time. Yes, really. You have to book it two years ahead if you want to choose your time!


  1. Wow, what a job, and now clean and ready to go! Enjoy!

  2. Wow, that's a whole lotta work. I will never complain about having to paint a room again. :)

    I hope the eye will be fine- I scratched my cornea many years ago and it was a painful recovery.

    It looks quite fabulous! Kudos to the entire crew!


  3. Wow, you two, that was quick! I was still editing and correcting when your comments came in. Thanks so muchto you both! Yes, it was a lot considering it's just a small barge, but then it always seems to be more than I ever expect. My successor on the helling has a 40 metre barge, so I can't really complain ;-)

    My eye is already a lot better, thanks Anne Marie. It was pretty painful for a couple of days, but it wasn't the cornea, luckily (that must have been really ouch!). Anyway, I heal fast and having a resident pharmacist is always handy! Mo was able to tell me the best thing to do about it, which involved lots of eye baths, healing drops and the patch. Shame I couldn't find one like Carlos's of my Spanish trip! That would have been more stylish than a face cleaning pad and tw plasters ;-)

  4. Geee... what a lot of work! And I thought overhauling my little dinghy every spring is tedious...
    Enjoy your next two years and remember to wear protection glasses next time! :)

  5. She looks fantastic! I'm amazed how much you got done in two weeks!!

  6. Hi Val!
    You look like me with a goggle tan in the first photo...
    Vereeniging looks so lovely after her maintenance and fresh paint job!
    I hope your eye is on the mend - ouch.
    By now you will be at the mercy of the wind swaying to the tides again.

    Your week on the helling sounds more like a week of hell... ;)


  7. Hi Val,

    your barge looks beautiful, like new. I'm not a good painter, and so I must order a craftsman for such things. Hope your eye is recovering very soon. I cross my fingers for you.


  8. Damn, it's good that worse didn't happen to the eye!

    Anyhow, all the work, you could say the dirt is good, honest dirt. :-)

  9. Hey VallyP

    with that stalwart gang of hardy workers you really got it all done amazingly quickly. Must be those genes.
    I saw the Vereeniging when you first bought it and it just seems to get better and better. The rough diamond is truly a gem and deserves many an admiring glance from passers by.
    Hope the eye is better...and the aches and pains have eased off by now.

  10. Thanks for the sympathy everyone!

    Hans, you won't believe me but the chip got me because the band of my protective glasses had just broken!

    Thanks Melissa. Dare I mention that it was just one week for the Vereeniging. Two weeks before, we were on the slips with my partner's barge..yes, I know. Gluttons for it we are!

    LOL Dale, yes that really was a goggle 'tan'. But the tan was dirt instead ;-) My eye is much better now, although strangely it still hurts at night, but I was lucky really, I think!

    Thanks Stefan. My little barge is my pride and joy and of course I think it's the most beautiful boat in the world. I hate painting too, but for the Vereeniging, I'll do anything ;-)

    Maria, this dirt is really honest, you are right! And I do love a challenge as well!

    Hey Marion, I'm so chuffed to see you too. Yes, you were one of the very first to see the Vereeniging and help me paint it! I'm just about to remove the back window and re-furbish the part you painted for me back when I first had it and there was nothing inside. Remember? By the way, I've been talking to Koos non-stop about Spain and Valencia since I came back. I think he's just about twigged that I'd like to go back and visit you again...soon ;-) xxx


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