Friday, September 05, 2014

A helling of a week

Since Monday, I have been in zombie mode. For those who know me and my barge, the Vereeniging, this means I've just had my lovely old girl on the slipway and it has, as always, been very intense. However, this hellingbeurt has been more so than usual as in effect, I've had three days less than the full week I would normally have. The reason for this is that this weekend, it is World Harbour Days, the annual port of Rotterdam festival, and the harbour authorities wanted to use the slipway for other festival activities…as a result, I had to be off today instead of next Monday, which would normally be the case.

Jodie giving the previous incumbent a stern eye…get thee

Koos enjoying the morning air

Waiting to go on the slipway

So it was that last Monday morning, we went on the helling and by the evening, we were already prepared for the big hull painting marathon that took place over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Four layers of bottom coat (below the water line) and two layers of top coat (above the water line) later, plus a new layer on the back cabin (roef)  and the engine room roof, we were ready to slip back down again today.

First coats first on the bows

There can't be many barges with a more beautiful stern

Looking good in her newly blacked skirts!

Unluckily for us, we had a bit of trouble with the engine as we pulled out into the current. It decided to behave very erratically and caused us some unnerving moments by cutting out mid-stream. On the lucky side, however, there was a tugboat in the harbour just lying in wait ready to give use a nudge in the right direction. The engine started again, and we chugged very very slowly back to my mooring. The motor clearly needs some TLC too as it was still very uneven all the way back. It seems likely there's a fuel feed problem, which may or may not be the dreaded diesel bug. I hope not!

So that was the helling week that was.

I've been at it twelve hours a day for the last few and now feel ready for a relaxing weekend. But there is still plenty to do, and before that, I am off to Amsterdam with Jodie to meet the fascinating Trish Nicholson, who is giving a couple of talks at the ABC Tree House on character development in writing. On Sunday, though, I shan't risk dodgy engines, but I shall spuddle around Rotterdam in my rowing boat and see what World Harbour Days has to offer by way of entertainment this year….no doubt I'll have my camera with me!


  1. Wow, that's an enormous amount of work in such a short space of time, I'm surprised you've got any energy left this weekend! We will have to take the boat across the river to get our bottom done as the slipway here is not big enough. We will be sandblasted and painted next year, at the moment the hull looks really grotty but the anodes are working well. Enjoy your weekend and try and relax - you deserve it xxx

  2. Goodness me Val you have done an amazingly well in a short space of time, all of those coats of paint, terrific! The weather too must have been on your side.
    I think you now need some quality R&R along with one or three G&T's.

  3. It's a good thing you love your boat, Val, given all the attention it needs!

  4. Hi Val - lovely photos of your 'old girl' and she does look handsome with her black skirts and red cummerband ..

    Enjoy this weekend .. spuddling around .. cheers Hilary

  5. Hi Fran, I wish we could do sandblasting here. I would soooo love to have my Vereeniging's bottom truly clean, but unfortunately, it's not allowed in our yard. I must admit to being very tired today…it's all caught up with me! xxx

    Mel, the weather was incredibly kind! I can hardly believe it. I am now relaxing with a nice glass of something red :)

    Jo, in a word…yes! I'm having a day off today, but there's still plenty to do before the winter. Hoping you're well and I'll catch up with you soon.

    Hilary, thank you! Her satiny black skirts always look very swish for a while. I love the idea of a red cummerbund :)

  6. Hi Val. Such a lot happening. Glad you got the painting done and that you enjoy World Harbours Day. Getting all set up for the winter. I imagine it can get quite bitter there during the cold month, judging by our winter in Amsterdam.

    The writing talk go well too?

  7. Thanks Denise! Yes, it's always busy trying to prepare for the winter months :) Everything's find here though and the cold weather's decided to stay away a bit longer, much to our relief!

    The writing talk was very interesting! Trish Nicholson is from New Zeland. You many have come across her too?

  8. I am very impressed with your stairs and carpentry skills! Could manage painting the floor or tiling but that's it. I imagine that it will be very cosy in the winter with that lovely coloured floor.


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