The last few weeks have been difficult on board because a little while ago, I arrived back after a weekend away and found my lovely, safe loopplank (gangplank) seriously bent, rendering it now totally un-safe for human passage.
My suspicion is that a whole troop of tourists decided to use it for a photo opportunity and pushed it so far down on one side, it then got stuck under the rope pins of a bollard and was bent even more as the tide rose. Now bearing in mind there's a very visible sticker on it that says "max 3 persons", I was not best amused.
As it really was no longer safe, we didn't put it back after my hellingbeurt (slipway week), so I've been relying on the neighbours for access until we can straighten it out and strengthen the section. These things are far too expensive to abandon and the insurance company doesn't seem to be interested in helping either. I know it doesn't look bad in this photo, but you should see how skew it really is…and very wonky indeed.
To make matters worse, my nearest neighbour has also removed her loopplank as she is no longer living on board, so I am now doing a three barge hop to board the Vereeniging. This requires skills something akin to those of a mountain goat, which - I hope you'll agree - I'm not! Well, if I am, I'm a very clumsy one.
The overall consequence is that there's a limit to what I can do as I cannot easily get materials on and off. So...I am concentrating on painting (surprise surprise!). Slowly but surely, all the red trim is being finished (takes me an age) and my next job is to de-rust and paint the engine room windows. I can't believe this warm weather is going to go on that much longer, but while it does, I must paint…and paint….and paint some more!
Added to that I have also been been working inside and have re-painted my kitchen cupboards. When I made them back in 2002, I stained the panels with chestnut coloured varnish, which looked more red than anything, and I'd never felt like changing them. As of this last week, though, they are no longer red-pannelled but completely creamy white, and I am so enjoying their bright shiny faces.
During the course of the coming week, I'm praying the weather will give me the break I need so I can also paint the foredeck (I've been saying that for months, I know). In the last ten days or so, every time I've decided to do this very necessary job, it's rained, so keep your fingers crossed for me because next weekend, we have to move again and I don't know when I'll next get the chance.
The reason for the move is because the council are currently dredging all the harbours so we are being turfed out of our spots in rotation to clear different sections at different times. Next week it is the Oude Haven's turn to be dredged and I don't know yet where we'll have to go. By the time I write this blog again, we'll probably be in a different harbour and mooring, so watch this space! I'll also take some photos as it's very rare that the harbour is ever empty of barges. The last time was in 2007 when the harbour wall was re-built. Koos and I were the last to leave, and I took this photo just before we cast off and pulled out.
|An almost empty harbour in 2007|
|It normally looks like this! Very full.|