Sunday, September 11, 2016

Gone blacking


What a busy week it's been. Something I didn't mention after the fun of World Harbour Days was that last Sunday, I met a long time Facebook and Blogging buddy, Lucinda E Clarke, who came to Amsterdam for a few days' holiday. I am a great admirer of Lucinda's books and being another former 'African', we have lots in common.  I took the train to Amsterdam in the morning, arrived at midday, following which we found a cafĂ© near the station and spent more than three hours nattering non-stop. Her poor, patient husband was just that...very patient, but he was very interesting to chat to as well having lived a fairly roving life too.

Lucinda and me in amsterdam

Then on Sunday evening, we charged down to our Zeeland harbour in Sas van Gent because we had to take our Hennie Ha to the boatyard in Terneuzen early on Monday morning to be lifted out for its insurance inspection. On the way, we took a detour over the Zeeland islands on a road we haven't followed before. It took us over a huge dyke with a massive set of locks in the middle that separate sea water from fresh water - a very complicated locking process. As there was an outlook point, we took the opportunity to stop and admire the evening view. It really was rather lovely.

The Krammersluizen (Krammer locks) centre.

Dyke road

The Krammersluizen (Krammer locks)

The outlook point from below. We climbed to
the top
We left the marina on the Hennie Ha on Monday morning at eight fifteen, a bit worried that we'd be late for our ten o'clock lift out, but the brave little barge went so well, we were actually there early. It's only thirteen kilometres from harbour to harbour, but we'd counted on taking nearly two hours. Here are a couple of photos I took on the way of what I call the coal art. The whole canal is lined with loading bays for various materials, much of which is occupied by coal heaps. I find it quite beautiful, but I know not everyone might think so.

Coal mountains at the canal side

Frosted coal

A coal depot
I also enjoyed this view of a truck spraying the dust to keep it down and the ferry across the canal that carries workers from the village of Sluiskil to the industry on the other side.


Dust laying truck


Ferry across the sea canal

When we arrived at the yard, we waited a while, but then everything started moving and before long, the Hennie Ha was floating high above the ground where it was cleaned with a high pressure hose before being put on a monster trolley and shunted into a position where we could work on it. The following photo series shows the whole process.







Thoroughly sprayed with most of the old blacking off
An hour or so after we'd settled into position, a beefy Suzuki motorbike roared into the yard, off which tumbled - sorry dismounted - our dear friends, Jackie and Noel, last seen on the Canal de Roubaix in France. They were on their way back to Belgium to collect their belongings from the barge they have now sold before heading off to pastures further and newer. It was a farewell meeting but we had our usual fun and laughter with them. I shall miss these two immensely. We only met up a few times, but it was enough to cement a firm friendship.



Favourite folks - Jackie and Noel on their way.
Tuesday brought the insurance man, who tested the thickness of the hull in strategic places, pronounced it fit and barring a couple of minor details in the engine room, gave us a thumbs up for the next six years. The rest of the week has been spent scraping, sanding and painting the hull above the water line and also blacking the bottom. It's been hard work as always, and Koos did a truly sterling job of the underside of the hull, which involved lying on his back and rolling the bitumen paint on above him. I was allowed to just do the pretty bits this time, in other words the green sides and red trim. It now looks like this.


Happiness is a beautiful black bottom

Like this
Tomorrow, we will be going back in the water again and taking the Hennie Ha back to its own berth to finish off the decks and other paintwork that we don't have to hang over the side to do. That reminds me - I also have to finish off the paintwork on the Vereeniging...ho hum...a boat lover's work is never done!

16 comments:

  1. What an exciting...and exhausting life you lead! Thanks for sharing it. I'm not sure if I'm revved up ready to join you on your "Watery Ways," or if I need a nap!

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    1. The exhausting bit is for real, Steph. I've just read this through and it all sounds more than a bit rushed, but that's about the pace of it! No time for anything more descriptive! I'll try and make the next post a bit more relaxed :)

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  2. Wonderful - I have to admit I was sniffling for a bit as we zoomed off down the road. What a lovely meet up though - just fabulous! We are blessed to have met such lovely people - and just look at Hennie H - she looks fabulous - well done you two! xxxx

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    1. I had a weepy wobble too, Jackie. You guys have been a breath of fresh air in our lives. Go well, but please, please keep in touch!! Huge hugs! Xxx

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  3. What a great time you had! And isn't it fun showing people round your precious places?

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    1. It is, Jo. What a week! I'm totally pooped now!

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  4. What a brave couple you are, doing the hull yourselves! So far, we've chickened out and dug deep to get professionals to do it, but we have friends who say you're not a boater until you've "blacked her bottom", so maybe... maybe one day! Hennie H looks splendid!

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    1. Yes indeed! It's actually not that bad, and I've learnt from a narrowboater we were on the yard with that you never have to black the bottom plate of a narrowboat! It was news to me as we always have to do ours. But, if that's the case, it's no problem! Go for it! I've lost count of the number of times we've done it on our barges over the years, but it must be about fifteen and we're still game.

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  5. Val, there is nothing like connecting with an old friend. Sounds like you to had a real adventure. I also like the photography which adds to this rich experience. Thanks for sharing,Lynn

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos too!

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  6. What an interesting post, Val. Some friends of ours have jsut bought a boat and we are off to Rye Harbour to help them do unmentionable things to its bottom when it is craned out of the water next week....

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    1. Have fun Stephanie...you're in for a learnsome experience :)

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  7. Good to see the Hennie looking so sharp, what a great job, Val. I am not far from you, just over the water in London this week, and having great fun. Including meeting up with a fellow blogger/social media friend - as you say, great to meet up with friends, new and old.

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    1. Oh Patricia! How wonderful! I'm glad you're having a great time too! I'll look forward to your posts.

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  8. What a lot of work to keep boats in good condition. Lovely you got to meet your friends, nothing like a good old natter.

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    1. Thanks, Anne! You're absolutely right about that!

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