Saturday, October 24, 2015

On the slipway again

Some of you might remember I had the Vereeniging on the slipway last year. Others might even remember that we call it a helling in Dutch. This word always amuses me as in some ways it's always a kind of hell. But then I must also admit that once the first anxiety of getting the barge out of the water and seeing what has been going on underneath is over, I actually enjoy the work, tough, rough and dirty though it is.


Well, it's about to happen again and this time, I'm a bit more anxious than usual. I normally wait two years before lifting it out, but I felt I couldn't afford to do that this time. You see over the past months, I've been working on board and I noticed woodworm has eaten away parts of the floor in my little back cabin. My heart sank and I started ripping everything out but then got distracted. I saw something worse than rotten wood. I saw rust and lots of it.

I don't know how I've managed to overlook this before, but I have. The bottom of the barge below the wormy wood is encrusted with rust and it doesn't look good at all. I started scraping at it and it was damp underneath the first flaky layers. This was even worse and so I stopped. It occurred to me I could easily scrape my way through the bottom of the boat and then I'd have a real problem. As a result, I made a date with the harbour master to have the Vereening up on the helling this coming week so I could attack the nasty area with vigour and without fear of sinking more than just my feelings.

Rust is strange stuff though. It can expand dramatically and look much worse than it really is. But you can't take chances can you? Not when it's your home. And it could quite easily sink if it has even a small hole in the bottom. My plan is therefore to get my friend Tim to give it hell (pardon the pun) with a hammer from the outside, while I do the same inside. If it's all right, then I can relax, but if it's fragile, then Tim will fix it for me, he being an excellent welder.

So that will be my moment of truth on Monday. I hope the rest of the week will go as smoothly as the rolling of all the paint that will follow. Luckily I have Koos to mop my brow and work alongside me with another roller, but I'll keep you posted on how it all goes.

By the way, I am quite close to being ready to publish my latest memoir, Walloon Ways (our three years as weekend Belgians). It's in the final proofing stages and the cover still needs sorting out properly, but my aim is to have it ready to go by mid November. Another anxious moment to come!


26 comments:

  1. Busy as always Val, another book on the slipway too - well done!

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    1. Thanks, Chris! Lovely to see you here again!

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    1. Don't I know it, Hilda :( Thank you for commenting!

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  3. I know you've been there before -wiping bottoms in hell...

    All the best of luck this time, Val! :) xx

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    1. Too true, dear Dale. Thank you, my friend xx

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    1. Haha, very good, Hilda! You have a song for every occasion :)

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  5. On land or water, your home is always in need of something or other. It never stops. Good luck with the wood worm riddance. Interesting reading all about your life here. :)

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    1. Thanks very much, Jane. I'm glad you find it interesting :)

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  6. I hope it's not too bad and it gets sorted soon. I can't believe you have been writing a book along with all your other stuff.

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    1. Ah, Anne, thank you! Tt's not a very long book, but it's amazing how much work even forty thousand words can be . I'm working on another novel now too…can't resist.

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  7. I sincerely hope that your hull problem will only be a slight one Val, may be just a few spot welds will do the trick.
    Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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    1. Thank you, Mel. You'll be one of the first to know! I'll be updating my blog in the next day or so .

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  8. This sounds so alarming, Val. I do hope it proves to be nothing much - but at least if it isn't, and it needs major surgery, that's better than it rusting through and you wake up in the water. The best of luck with it.

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    1. I'm just relieved it's coming out of the water tomorrow, Jo. I've had this rusty problem on my mind a few months now. I'll keep you posted and thank you!

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    1. Haha...yes!! The creeping, insidious enemy of all lovers of old vehicles, whether rudder or wheel steered...you know my pain xx

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  10. Fingers and Toes crossed Val - I do hope it can be easily fixed. We absolutely can't have your beautiful boat in such danger. By now, hopefully it is high and dry and you can get it sorted. Good luck with the new book, too.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! It's always nerve-wracking, but tomorrow we will find out. High and dry it is right now!

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  11. I've read about your rusty bottom, before. GAGGING to read Walloon Ways!! xx

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    1. Oooerr, TT. Now I shall be nervous about publishing it for fear of disappointing you….thanks for the good wishes about my rusty bottom :)

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  12. I trust
    The rust
    That must
    Disgust
    Will just
    Encrust,
    Not thrust
    Too deep.
    You’ll have it sussed
    And not lose sleep!
    (Wishing you and Vereeniging less iron oxide than it looks!)

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    1. My smile of the day, Christina! Thank you for this! I shall have to post it elsewhere. Brilliant :)

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  13. Oh gracious, that is a bit scary. A bit like a homeowner finding dry rot. But as you say, rust often looks worse than it is, even though it definitely isn't something that boat owners should be blase about. Good luck!

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