Friday, September 19, 2014

Renovations and relaxation

It's a while since I posted anything about my renovation activities on the Vereeniging, so I thought I'd do a bit of a catch up. My posting has been a bit erratic, I know, mainly because I've been so busy trying to get everything done before work starts in earnest. I haven't succeeded of course, but then (as always), everything takes at least three times longer than you think it will! Still I'm not doing too badly.

So first up was the floor in the Vereeniging. I've painted it in stages as I've had to keep moving things around to clear different sections of it. It looks unnaturally bright and shiny in the photo below, but you get the idea. The paint does dull down to a satin finish after a while which I must say I'm very pleased with.
One re-painted floor

Then there was the great couch destruction episode. My daughter had left an old leather sofa on board when she moved out because it was too big and heavy to remove (lord know how she got it in in the first place). For a while it served a purpose as somewhere for me to sit and ponder on my plans. But, it was not very pretty, it was very badly worn and it wasn't what I really wanted. I therefore decided it had to be dismembered in order to get it through the hatch without destroying other things. This I did with the able assistance and enthusiasm of both my daughters. Then we carted the remains off to the skip on one of the yard's rather old and rickety trolleys (see evidence below). The best thing about this exercise was the fun I had with my two girls as we hacked the thing to pieces.

How to demolish and dispose of an old sofa, harbour style

Following its removal, I was able to finish painting the floor much more easily, as well as re-painting the ceiling throughout the boat. I've also renovated the bathroom, which was looking a bit sad. Now I just need to do all the walls and cupboards.

Meanwhile, other things were happening in the harbour, one of which was a summer festival. The residents of the Oude Haven did their bit by putting on a viking day for the children. The photos below give a glimpse of the festivities and the last one shows the local kids playing with mini viking ships in a paddling pool.

Photos of the summer festival and viking day

Of course, my activities were also interrupted by my week on the helling which focused all my attention on the Vereeniging's exterior, but I've already written about this. The most recent and (I personally feel) crowning achievement has been the construction of my new stairs. The old set that I built back in 2003 or thereabouts was designed for younger versions of us (K and me), and an even younger version of Sindy. Recently she hasn't been able to come on board if I haven't had help. She's just too old and arthritic. The stairs were also getting pretty shabby and so I decided it was time to make some new ones with an easier slope and a bit more substance. Five planks of pine and two thin sheets of plywood later (along with the help of a youtube 'how to' video), this is (queue drum roll) the result. 

Daughter, Jo, playing the fool behind
my new stairs

I still have to finish varnishing them and putting anti-slip strips on them before I test Sindy's abilities to get up and down, but I'm praying she can manage it. I should say the slope looks sharper in the photo than it really is, so wish me luck.

My daughter  came to help me screw all the treads in and again, we had a lot of fun. Then since the afternoon was so gorgeous, we also went for a spuddle in my rowing boat. This became quite hilarious as Jo is a stronger rower than I am (I should also mention my oar had holes in it…it did!) Added to that, the current was running very fast so much of the time we were going either round in circles, veering into other barges or even going backwards. I think we provided quite a bit of entertainment for the other harbour residents too (note to self: must practise). So to sign off, here are a few pics of our spuddle taken with the ubiquitous smart phone. Have a good weekend allemaal

Spuddling on a gorgeous September afternoon


  1. There is something very therapeutic about destroying something, I smashed a wall down once and it felt great! We have just started painting our floor in what looks like the same colour as yours! Obviously the same good taste. Great times with your daughters, I love spending times with my boys too, they make me laugh and they love me just for who I am, their old crazy mum! Love the staircase, you are so clever, even Pete got ours ready made (reclaimed from someone's front garden) and adjusted them. Have a great weekend? Oh, how is your dissertation going? Xxx

  2. How do you find any time to write, or tweet, or do anything else - with all this wonderfulness going on!!

  3. Hi Val - it's great to see you taking such care of your beloved craft .. and then using as many skills as you can - making stairs - clever!

    So pleased for you ... enjoy this warm weather and long may it continue .. cheers Hilary

  4. Val you are doing a grand job especially the floor and the stairway, shall have to get you over here and do some carpentry for us :)
    Seriously though there is great satisfaction making things from scratch.

  5. Barrie and Carole Grant6:38 pm, September 19, 2014

    Building stairs -- you clever girl!!! They look great too. It is so important to spend time with your children making memories that onlhy come once!!!

  6. Fran, laughing and fooling around with your kids is definitely the best. I have some great memories of previous occasions when my girls helped me with my construction efforts. I'm glad you approve of the stairs :) Dissertation…hmm…don't ask - not this week anyway…xxx

    Jo, sometimes I just don't sleep a lot :)

    Jo, sweetie, it was so much fun. I loved it! Mwah!

    Hilary - thank you! The weather is being wonderful! I can't quite believe it!

    Mel, I'll trade you some DIY for a tour of your magical country!

    Carole - thanks to you too. Everything goes better if your children are involved, doesn't it?

  7. I love your floor. I'm so impressed that you made the steps but they do look very steep and scary. You do live in a lovely place. We went on a canoeing day in Turkey and for what seemed like hours could only make the boat go round in circles. Some boats capsized and that was my biggest nightmare. It lasted all day and I was nearly in tears at the end of it. The guide took us to mud baths which I hate meh said he would throw us in if we didn't go in by ourselves, I looked at him and thought after the day I've had just try it mate. So I don't envy the rowing but love your lifestyle ....apart from the studying.

  8. How lovely, girl! I really hope i will be able to see everything during the weekend of November 28! xxx

  9. I am totally gobsmacked by the amount of work you have to undertake on that boat! It's a full time occupation! As Jo said, how do you ever find the time to write? let alone be a friend to all of us! You obvs. have more hours in the day in the EEC than we do!

  10. Anne, you made me smile! My stairs are not as steep as the photo makes them look. It's a bit distorted. I'm sorry you had a bad rowing experience, but yes, all day would have beaten me too…actually Jodie beat me anyway :)

    Suze, I'm looking forward to that, dear!

    Carol, I switch to warp factor ten when I'm busy on board :) But you're right, you're always trailing us in the time stakes over there, so that explains it ;)

  11. Very impressed with your stairs and carpentry skills!
    I can manage painting and tiling and that's it.
    The floor is a lovely colour - I imagine it will look so cosy in the winter.

  12. Love your new red floor! And that you had fun with your daughters while gaining a whole new refurbished interior.

  13. Love the new stairs! I remember being impressed with the construction of the new bath many years ago. You are indeed a marvel of ingenuity. Well done. x

  14. Jane, thank you and welcome here :) I think tiling is quite an accomplishment! I take the easy route on board and screw them on :)

    Carol thanks to you too. Having fun with daughters makes everything easier too!

    Anne-Marie, I'm rather chuffed with my stairs, and I still can't believe they were actually so easy to make. Carpentry skills are not really needed!

  15. It's very nice to destroy something you don't like and which has been bothering you.
    The red floor looks wonderful - assuming it is red, as it appears on my screen. I hope it is red anyway! I would love a red painted floor....our floorboards are too splintery to be painted, although we tried it much with little success.

  16. What a terric post!!!! Loved it, and all the pictures :)

  17. I'm really impressed with all of the remodeling work you did on your own! I also love the red floors, and the new stairs! Good luck with the rest of your projects!


  18. I love that red floor!
    You have been working so hard Val, and making stairs? You are amazing.
    And it does look like great weather for a spuddle with your lovely daughter.
    Fun post!

  19. I love the look of the new floor. Had mine painted in a dark color but you can see all specks of dust now :(

  20. Jenny, it is red, and it is that colour - just not quite as shiny!

    Terry, I'm always chuffed when you come along with your boatloads of enthusiasm.

    Julie, thank you! The red floor seems to be a poular choice :)

    Patricia, the thing is, I love doing it :)

    Nas, that's true about darker colours. I also see the dust, but only when the sun's on it, which in Holland is not as frequent as in other places.


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