I have just had the best day!! (Monday 7th May). I was asked on Sunday by a Frenchman, Dominic, if I would be able to spare a couple of hours the next day, to help him paint the sun deck on his boat, no problem says I, as normally these little jobs lead to more work. So, off I go to work this morning, painting the deck was easy between the two of us and we had it done in less than an hour, he asked how much he owed and I asked if he’d pay me in beer, being as, well, I like beer. I then carried on working on the Tante Hanni, I made sure that today I had a relatively easy day as last night we had some friends round, (the bass player that I played and sang with at our local last week, more about that later), for drinks and, well you know, better to take it easy if you’re feeling fragile. So I’m taking it easy, painting the winch, the rudder and whatnot when along comes Andy asking if I can spare a moment to move one of his boats, of course says I, cause I’m like that, (and after finishing a week of hard graft with him on Saturday he gave me a huge selection of belgian beer as a thank you, so you can imagine this guy has just attained god status in my estimations). So off I go to take a short cruise across the basin in a 20 (+/-) metre Luxemotor. “Thanks Spike, will you be available later to help get my other boat (the one he’s building that I help on a lot) out of the dry dock”, “absolutely Andy”, says I. So off I go to start playing around with something else on the Tante because I am totally procrastinating as I know that very soon I may have to start proper work, (painting the hull). A couple of hours later, Andy screeches up in his car, it turns out that there was no warning and already the dry dock is half way full and I have to go. I’ve worked in the dry dock four times now but never had the chance to help take a boat out, exciting times. This new boat’s engine isn’t connected up and working yet, so a tug had to pull us out and take us the 200 metres to her mooring, all good fun when he tug is attached at the stern and the pilot can’t see bugger all while putting her into a gap that is made to measure. The new boat is happily moored and I’m just starting to walk back to work when I realise, “are you not bringing Joanna (the 20 +/- Luxemotor) back Andy?” “I suppose that’d be a good idea”, says he, so off we walk to the other side of the basin to bring his home back. Andy is an awesome barge master, I’m on the bow preparing to moor her alongside the other boat, I was so astounded that, instead of five or so metres away, the bollard is right in front of me, touching distance, that I (embarrassingly) forgot to tie off, “er, you might wanna hook us up Spike”. By this time, it’s knocking off time for me, I passed Dominic on the way back to the Tante, he gives me a big merci and a 12 pack of delish French blonde beer. What a brilliant day!!!
Btw, Jim if you’re reading this, your boat looks super (although that hull paint is obnoxious), and will be finished afore we go, (and your wench ((sic)) reminds me of the Scottish flag). And with that white deck, I expect you to take your boots off before even thinking of stepping on board!
Unfortunately, it seems that it’s going to rain on Thursday, (pah), so I’m going to have to work my tiny little arse off for the next two days to finish in time, but ya know, I just had to share my excellent day with you.
Very quick, we are starting our cruise this weekend barring any small sticks in our waterway. I will be writing lots once we are under way, promise. Long story short, (again, I’ll get to that later), we may take four months instead of three, (if we even come back here at all). I might add here that both of us are starting to sweat buckets at this huge endeavour, 700 klicks and 380 locks, somewhere in the region of 175 hours of cruising time and two complete newbies at the helm, tell me again, where’s the deep end?
Squeak soon x