Monday, October 27, 2014

Musical Boats

For the last month, we've been playing musical boats in the harbour. Up until last week, it only affected me in so far as I kept seeing different barges in the Oude Haven and one or other of the other harbours in our complex was simultaneously empty.

The reason for this complicated form of boat rotation is that the Rotterdam authorities are dredging…something they need to do now and then to clear the river bed of the debris that collects there, among which are large numbers of bicycles, mobile phones, shopping trolleys and other assorted projectiles that the inhabitants decide to hurl into the waters when the spirits take them - literally and figuratively.

The dredgers started at the eastern end of our small network of harbours and worked their way up through the Haringvliet and into Wijnhaven to our west. At each stage, the barges have had to move to another harbour to allow the dredgers to work unimpeded, hence the assorted array of visitors. Then last week, the mail arrived informing those of us in the Oude Haven that it was our turn to move.

Now life needs a good deal of coordinating when it comes to shifting and finding places for twenty odd resident barges as well as quite a number who were there temporarily. The email included an extensive spreadsheet giving instructions as to who was going where, when, and by what means - some barges have no engines so had to be towed. The image below is just a portion of the table of instructions.

I was a little concerned about these arrangements since having lost my loopplank, I've been relying on my neighbours to give me access. I had visions of being stranded with the Vereeniging floating dejectedly on its own. I knew many of my fellow bargees were moving on Thursday while I couldn't move till the weekend owing to my day job.

As it happened, I decided to cancel Friday's work so I could be there, and it was just as well. On Thursday afternoon, three of the barges (in fact my immediate neighbours) had gone and the others were scheduled to leave the following day. Koos drove up from Zeeland to help and on a very soggy Friday morning, we started to get the engine running in readiness to move as the barges on each side of me were being towed.

To our dismay, the problem that caught us out when we were last moving occurred again. The engine just died. We thought we'd fixed it, but it seems there is still something wrong. The upside was that since the tug boat was on duty anyway, we could be towed too. Still, it's a worrying issue that Koos still hasn't managed to resolve despite several more hours trying to bleed the system and find out what is causing it to lose power and what's worse, to smoke badly too.

That apart, though, I am pleased with my change of scene, and looking forward to at least two weeks 'holiday' in the Haringvliet. It's only a couple of hundred metres from where I was, but it's great to have a change of outlook, so for now I'll take in my new surroundings and get a feel for it all.

The photos below are of where I am now and also of the almost empty Oude Haven.

In position

No loopplank needed here - just these small steps

A nearly empty Oude Haven - a very unusual sight

The current incumbent of our slipway - huge, isn't it?
Have a good week everyone and watch this space. No doubt there'll be more news from the watery burbs next week!


  1. Hello Val it must be nice to have a change of scenery, rather like being on holiday.

    If you liked this new harbour better to would you be allowed to stay on the same berth ?

    Enjoy enjoy sleep calls.

  2. Just had a look at Google satellite to remind me. It shows an empty haven with dredger!

  3. Hi Val - the new incumbent certainly has spread his wings .. has to be a 'he' ..

    Well at least the tow was there - but as you say worrying re engine stoppage - and I hope Koos can sort it for you.

    Enjoy the new surroundings for now - cheers Hilary

  4. Sorry to hear about your engine Val - hope it gets sorted soon. Good to have a change of scene now and then and great the canal gets cleaned regularly.

  5. Having a temperamental ancient engine is part of the charm of your lovely old dame. A little holiday with a change of scene is always invigorating even if it is just around the corner. How long will you be there? Cherrio from N London this week!

  6. This gives 'moving home' a whole new meaning!

  7. Hi Mel, yes, I could stay here if I like it better. I'm not sure that I will though. I am very fond of some of my neighbours in the OH, and it's also a better position for me and my monumental status :-)

    Christina, that's amazing! I didn't know they were so on the ball!

    Hilary, I hope we can fix it soon too, but I'm afraid it's going to be expensive :(

    Jane, thank you. The change of scene is great and it's one of the joys of living on a boat.

    Carole, you're right about the temperamental bit! This one's not quite as mercuriel as the last one, but it's showing some tendencies of going the same way :) probably goes with the age - a bit like us! I'll be in this harbour for a couple of weeks at least.

    Jo, yes, I suppose it does…but it is what I find appealing about living on a barge. Everything inside stays the same, but you can wake up with a different view every day if you wish!

  8. As the old saying goes 'A change is as good as a holiday', and I hope you enjoy the new surroundings for a week or too, Val. So sorry about the engine and I hope you can get it sorted and return without the tug. Meanwhile, the little green steps are just the cutest ever things for getting onboard!

  9. Thank you, Patricia. It is a nice change, the only problem being that at the moment I have no internet on board, so my apologies for not doing blog rounds. I'm hoping I can sort it out this evening. Hope you are well!

  10. Sorry about your engine! Hope it gets easier playing "musical boats!"


  11. You look very snug in your new spot! Will the two weeks give you a chance to get your loopplank fixed? Xxx

  12. Enjoy your new space for a bit. You'll be happy to be back home after.

  13. It's such a different kind of existence, being on a boat. I love the thought that you could change the view from your window just like that... if the engine behaves of course.

  14. Julie, thanks! The engine does now start, but it's not very healthy yet.

    Fran, thank you too. I'm hoping I'll get my plank fixed this coming week xxx

    Carol, nice to see you! I'm not sure if I'm going 'home' yet. I might stay here a while, but I'll see. Watch this space!

    Ros, that's what appealed to me from the outset! I like the idea of waking up in my familiar space and then looking outside to see a different view! As for the engine, I'm going to need a professional to look at it, but it will have to wait a while as it's also going to be expensive, I'm afraid. I'll get home if I need to though.


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