Sunday, July 27, 2014

Barging about as all sorts of things, but not as an author

Life on the water is going through a slightly turbulent time at the moment. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm busy with renovations on the Vereeniging, but that's only half the story…or maybe even less.

In fact I'm doing quite a bit of juggling time wise. As many of you know, we have another much smaller barge called the Hennie H that Koos and I bought together some years ago and which we keep in Zeews Vlaanderen in the south of the country. Due to a rather disastrous lack of foresight, it's caused us a heap of work that we weren't anticipating, so recently, and even though we both love the little barge, we decided to sell it. Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? I mean the whole principle of constantly throwing good money into the water (almost literally) is not really a good one, is it?

Hennie H - on the way to a decent paint job

So the decision to sell it seemed like a positive move until we got it out of the water to paint the bottom and get it ready for sale.

But, as has been the case every step of the way with this gem of a boat (and it really is), it had a trick up its little rudder just to spite us. We discovered that the propellor shaft was rotten and that we were lucky the propellor itself had not fallen off. So, and this has now become the norm, we have to wait until the parts have arrived before it can be fixed. Meanwhile, we figure it's only a good idea to give it a decent paint job. After all, if we want to sell it, the better it looks, the better…

The better it looks, the better it will sell

The juggling bit comes because I'm also trying to do a lot of work on the Vereeniging at the same time (we won't even mention the studies here…no, not yet). Piece-meal is what I think you might call my activities at the moment, and so my week has looked something like this:

Monday: painting the hull on the Hennie H

Tuesday: painting again on the Hennie H and preparing lessons

Wednesday: I drive up to Rotterdam; give a lesson; observe and give feedback on a presentation; go to hardware and buy wood; go to Vereeniging and start repairing stairs which are about to collapse; continue painting the ceiling and the floor which I started last week.

Thursday: Teaching all morning. I go to a meeting in the afternoon and then  go back to Vereeniging. Ah, the sun's shining, so I start painting the engine room hatch outside. I continue painting the floor and ceiling in the evening when it's dark (not wise - see reasons on Friday). But I give up on repairing the stairs as I've destroyed several cheap screw bits already wrestling with old, rusty screws and have none left to help me fit the new treads in place. This will have to wait till next week.

Friday: I go to an early lesson then go back to the Vereeniging and paint the second engine room hatch. Oh goody, my daughter comes round and we go for a spuddle through the harbours - a lovely respite. When she's gone, I give a second coat to the section of floor I painted yesterday, picking off all the long grey hairs I managed to shed on the wet paint but didn't see because it was dark (hence the 'not wise' comment on Thursday).

4 o'clock arrives. I now see it's getting on time for me to pack up and go back to Zeeland again. I make a mad dash down to avoid the traffic and collapse into arms of dear Koos who's been holding the fort.

Saturday: We go back to Hennie H and continue paint job there….

What a life, hey?

Tomorrow, I really must spend the day studying (I know - I wasn't going to mention it, but needs must), so after a quick tidy up in my poor neglected garden which is covered in shredded leaves and weeds following last week's rainstorms, I'll have my nose in papers on subjects no one else in the world would be interested in…it makes me wonder why I am really.

My one gardening success this summer - my first
 hollyhocks, my absolute favourite plants

Life is quite full enough without academic pressures too… all of which makes me doubt if I'll ever get to writing more of my novel this summer. So, as the heading for this post says, I am barging about with all sorts of things…but not with writing.

I will get back to it though, I will!


  1. It seems to me that you secretly enjoy this dynamic lifestyle :)

    For to quote an old adage 'My friend complianeth too much'

  2. Of course I do, Mel :) I'm well known for being hyper-active.

    But one of the advantages of putting it all in a blog is that I can keep track of myself :)

  3. It will all be worth it in the end, Val, but I think you've earned yourself a holiday!

  4. At least your life is not boring :) Happy to read your blogging, as always xoxo

  5. A propshaft abaft
    Must thrust… but rust just decays…
    In watery ways.

  6. It will, Jenny, I know that! Want to buy a small barge? It would fit nicely in the locks on all the widebeam canals :)

    Suze, boredom is not something I suffer from, that's true. And I love the work on the boats as you know. It's just that the HH has had more than its share of problems and our share of money!

    Christina, your dexterity with language is truly amazing. So aptly put! :)

  7. Hennie H is a cute little boat, Val,and I sure will look her gorgeous best when she is sold. You do have a busy, but obviously well-organised life. And a very strong arm for painting, I suspect! Maybe you will get a rest during the Winter?

  8. I have always said -: if you want something done, ask a busy woman! You certainly have got a lot on your plate, but I agree with Mel, sounds like you are enjoying it! The hollyhocks are a beautiful colour and Henny H is such a pretty boat xxx

  9. LOVE Christina's comment... ;-)

    Good luck Val, hope it all gets done, we're pulling for you!

  10. Patricia, thank you. Yes, we love the Hennie H too, but I'm afraid beneath its lovely surface lurk problems just waiting to happen. It needs a couple who are younger and more energetic than we are, who can fix things themselves and who only have one boat!

    Fran, that's true about busy people. I do enjoy the work, but in all honesty, I feel it more than I used to now and am looking forward to having only one boat to care for. The Hennie H has drained us, physically, emotionally and financially. It's been a real money pit and we can't afford it anymore. Even though it's in good order now, the maintenance just goes on….and on….and on…. xxx

    Tom, I hope Christina sees your comment. She's so good! Thanks for the encouragement! Love to you both! xxx

  11. You must be exhausted Val. You need a holiday!

  12. Oh boats! There is always something.... we are going to my daughters boat on Friday, it needs taking out and blacking. :)


Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops!

However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name. Even if you leave a nice, relevant comment, I won't publish it without a name.