Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Fever

The creek close to the little house.

Finding the time to do everything I want to do and get enough sleep at the same time seems to be difficult. As I advance in years, I seem to need more sleep, not less, and this conflicts with the ideas I have of continuing to do everything at a break neck speed, or at the very least with some kind of efficiency.

Much as I love the spring, it always reveals a heap of things to be done outside that in my winter cocoon mode, I have either failed to notice or deliberately ignored. Spring can even be a depressing time when you live on a barge as the winter is never kind to boats and while the rest of the world is waking up fresh and renewed, boats tend to look at their shabbiest and most neglected by contrast.

Two weeks ago, I had the Vereeniging on the slips for bottom work and painting. No inspection this time, but I had two metres of plating added for the zekerheid as we say here in the Netherlands. Added to that, the marvellous Frits (who did the work, nobly assisted by Koos) added stabilising fins to each side of the bottom to stop it rolling quite so porpoisefully (haha) when out on the choppy waters of the river. Meanwhile, I scraped, sanded and painted. Even so, we only managed to get the hull done, although we did remove some more of the old tar off the rubbing rail and take all the red paint off the strip above it. Frits is coming tomorrow to do some patchwork here, as while Koos was stripping the paint off with our very effective needle scaler, he also managed to take off some rusty lumps of steel. Parts of the strip now look like open weave lace work as a result.

Besides this, we have both been working hard on the Hennie H, now back in its berth and with a bottom so strong it will see both of us out plus a few generations of our combined offspring to come. The bottom is Strong with a well deserved and very expensive capital S. We have both agreed we can't afford to sell it now, it's cost us so much, so our latest dream is to take it to England and explore the UK canal network. I even think it might just happen!

On top of that, there is maintenance on the little house to be done (one job a week) plus real work (!) to do to keep paying for all this, and then in October, I am starting a Master's degree in TESOL. Will there be time for a holiday this year? I don't know, but since every weekend in Zeeuws Vlaanderen is like a holiday anyway, maybe it doesn't matter so much. At least we can still do fun things like nipping off to France for lunch, and thanks to the fantastic (and most importantly, very cheap) Ryan Air, the odd weekend to Poland, Sardinia or Malta is still on the cards.

The weather here is gorgeous at the moment too, so I can't even complain about lack of sunshine.


  1. Val, you and I are much alike with more dreams and plans than we can fit in a single day or week. I don't envy you all the "housework", although my list is pretty full for the next few weeks too. I am glad to read that someone is having glorious spring weather- still 3 C here with windchill factors!!!!! I would love to clear the downstairs hooks of winter coats, but cannot, yet.

    Enjoy your Sunday. Now I must go read about some sheep.


  2. Oh Anne Marie, I don't envy you your cold winds. I think our winter started earlier than yours, so thankfully, it seems to be over earlier too. Yes, the list of chores is endless. One extra dream I have, a tad predictably I know, is for the financial independence to have someone do all this maintenance and painting for me. Alas it's the dream least likely to come true :)

  3. It is lovely here as well...spring is glorious this year!

  4. String, I've been reading your blog post about Fukushima. The hardship, devastation and ongoing hazards the Japanese people are facing as a result of the quake and subsequent tsunami are tragic. I feel so blessed to have so much to enjoy here.

  5. Preparing a boat for the warmer months or restoring it from winter is very hard work. I am glad it can take you to France. Wonderful! And yeah to you for the master's degree! Great-going!

    Wonderful to see a colourful spring image op den nederlands. it will snow here tonight!

  6. It is a very warm Spring here in Ireland too and I just hope that it isn't our summer :)!

  7. It still snows here.
    Does it not know the ski hill is closed?
    In my mind, a waste.

    Here's to green grass, warm breezes and colourful flowers!

  8. lovely, lovely scene Val. I would love to see your house.

    We're in April showers. :(.

    I am looking forward to sunny days.

    much love, plugging along..... Grace, June & Summer xox

  9. Mel, the beautiful weather here seems to go on and on.

    Dale, I remember we were complaining about the cold and snow before it reached you, so maybe it's lingering longer in your part of the world. Great to 'see' you again! I've missed you.

    Grace, I'm sorry it's raining there :( Still, maybe your summer will be better than ours. It usually is! Will write soon, but I'm glad you're still keeping on keeping on dear one. You know you are in my thoughts.

    Gina, thanks! The masters will be a challenge, but what the heck! Before that, I'm taking my national Dutch exams, dus ik moet mijn Nederlands oefenen :) Blijf lekker bij de kachel! In other words...keep warm dear!

  10. Oooooh, do come over here and we can meet up. You could cross the North Sea and start your adventures from Tollesbury xxx

  11. Fran, I would love to do that. I'll put it in the plan and hope that Koos complies :) Wouldn't it be lovely!


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