I was thinking of this myself only yesterday. For the past few days, I have spent every available moment sanding and painting the paintwork on the Vereeniging. Jodie and her boyfriend have been hard at it as well. It's been a tremendous amount of work and we're only half way through it. For a small barge, there seems to be an unconscionable amount to be done.
|The read stripe all round the barge and the red trim on the windows|
|The mast needs doing regularly too.|
There are upsides, though. For example, I get to sit in my little rowing boat and paddle round the barge as I paint. I can also sit in the self same little boat with a cup of coffee and feel the sun on my neck. Wonderful. Meanwhile, I can talk as an equal to the ducks who are currently zooming around followed by their most recent crop of ducklings. I am convinced they are doing training before they go to the duck distribution depot where they will be assigned to one of the millions of ponds, canals, drainage ditches and creeks in the country. Sometimes, on rare occasions, even the swans come and say hello, although I'm slightly nervous of getting too close to these. They can have mean tempers if they think you've got something they want - like a snack. Generally, though, this is one of the simple pleasures that I love and I know not many other people can do, not just whenever they feel like it anyway.
|Spuddling in the little boat|
We can also do tours round the harbour in our little rowing boat. Seeing all the other barges from a ducks eye view is fascinating. We've been known to do this winter and summer and I well remember doing the rounds with my daughter Mo in, I think, November. We were wrapped up to the eyeballs, that I do recall, and we couldn't find our oars, so we used a broom and a homemade oar made from a stick and a short plank of wood screwed together. Unforgettable.
Mo and I 'rowing' round the harbour with a broom
and a makeshift oar
|A Duck's Eye view of the harbour|
So there it is, the pleasures and the pains of owning an old barge. I think that overall, the pleasures far outweigh the pain and for that reason alone, the work will never kill us.