Friday, 7 June 2013

Twenty fourth visit and a day with a difference

We headed off to meet up with Bob this morning for our latest update as he is off on holiday tomorrow.  Apparently he always has good weather when he goes on holiday, so maybe if you are planning UK based trips - he is one to watch.  We think we are nearer to a date - it is now the end of June around the 27th or 28th, however, I am away for a long weekend then, so any hand over will be done the following week as I am not going to miss that!  We have waited this long a few more days will not matter.  This is what we found today:

The painting has all been finished, so all masking paper has been removed.  The light for the bow deck has been unveiled

We are very pleased that we agreed to have the shadow done in black - we think that Graham has done a fantastic job.

The finished scroll along the sides

 The bow with the teal front

Now to the inside - not too many changes as it is only a couple of days.  The bedside cupboards both have a shelf now.

The port hole frames are ready to go up

The radio is in and working after a fashion!  Loud pop music, not Radio 4 which will be the first one tuned in when we get aboard.  It does work very well and it is keeping the team happy which is very important.

Most of the ceiling lights are in and working

Both dinette tables are made and they and the legs stow away neatly

The front of the cratch is being painted (for non boaters the cratch is a structure at the bow that a cover is attached to that allows the bow to be enclosed - it will eventually become clearer when it is in place and the cover attached)

Later in the day we discovered that she had been moved back outside and I walked back along the tow path the take the first full length shot for quite a while.  I have to say that we are very pleased with how she looks.

Now you might be wondering why we were still hanging around the tow path some hours after our visit to the boatyard.  Chris and I are VLK (volunteer lock keepers) for the Canal and River Trust at Stoke Prior which is just across the road from our boat builder.  As we left Pinder's a man arrived from Waterways World to interview Bob Southerland, Ashley Pinder and the rest of the staff as JL Pinder & Son are celebrating their Dianond Jubilee this year.

We went off to do our duty and helped a few boats, but it was very quiet today.  We have a very small "Mess Hut" where we can make a cuppa and have a sit down.  We were having our lunch around 1pm when the Waterways World man arrived to say hello.  He was Andrew Denny (Granny Buttons - http://www.grannybuttons.com/) the Assistant Editor.  He came in and had a cup of tea and we had a long chat as he was interested in talking to us as VLKs.  We also mentioned the less glamorous role we have as litter pickers!  It does look as though WW will come and review Tentatrice in due course, but the current article will appear in the next issue (we did not establish whether he meant July or August) and that will be about JL Pinder & Son, but some pictures of Tentatrice are likely to appear as background shots.

After tea and a long interesting chat (there were no boats, so we were not neglecting our duties) we all went outside and many photos were taken - has to be on a bad hair and no make up day doesn't it?!  I suspect most will never see the light of day, but one day he may do an article on CRT volunteers.  He also took quite a lot of shots of my feet standing in the dips that have been worn away by many years of boaters winding paddles, so if you ever see two feet by a paddle in WW they might be mine!!  We then all walked up to the second to last of the Tardebigge flight when we parted company as there was a hire boat coming down who had to get all the way to Diglis tonight (they started from Alvechurch this morning) as the boat is due back on the Severn tomorrow at 10am!  We felt they needed all the help they could get and we worked them down to lock 23 (Stoke Bottom Lock).  We saw them on their way at about 16:30, so they still had a long haul ahead of them.  For non boaters and those who do not know this canal that is a very long journey and they would be lucky to have arrived before dark, when, as hire boaters, they have to stop. They had had the presence of mind to buy a Nicholsons Canal Guide before starting their holiday, but unfortunately had not understood the need to plan and break up the journey into managable chunks.  They are far from being alone amongst first time boaters.  According to Canal Planner the journey from Alvechurch to Diglis is 18 miles and 56 locks and should take about 15 hours and they were trying to do it in a day!  I did suggest an early night and an early start tomorrow, which I think they will have to do.  They were a lovely family and I hope they make it safely.

We then had a very long chat to a boater (nb Bleasdale for anyone who might have met her) - she is a single hander and was on her way back to her boat at Tardebigge by bike. 


Our last task of the day was to walk back up to lock 26 (about half a mile) as there was a lot of weed around today and as a consequence the bywash of lock 26 had become nearly blocked leading to a very high pound above the lock and thence to water flowing over the top gate of the lock.  At one point (whilst locking ahead for the hire boat) Chris had to open the paddles at both ends of that lock to get some water moving to lower the level of the upper pound.  When we returned Chris cleared out a lot of weed from the bywash.  (If you want to see someone moving fast just watch as a snake comes up with the weed!  Dead of course, but enough to make one start).  
So back to base, pack up and come home after a very long day - we had intended leaving around 14:30 (we usually do 3 hours or so), but it was nearer 18:00 when we left.  We came home via Morrisons for a ready meal as we were both too tired to think about anything as mundane as cooking.  A long, but rather interesting day.

ps - we have some grovelling apologies to make tomorrow - with all the excitement we both forgot that a man was coming to measure up our kitchen floor at 16:15!

pps - we discovered from Andrew that he was the first ever boat blogger and that Sue from nb Retirement no Problem (http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/) followed hot on his heels!

2 comments:

  1. Well what a day you had Jenny the snake reminded me of when we where in Kenya and hubby found one in our loo it was alive though he too moved quick. Great pics and glad everything is coming to plan.
    Myrax

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  2. Now a snake in the loo is not something I would want, Myra!

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