Okay, not a very original title, I know. Last week I had Here and There, but nothing much has changed in our lives in general; we're still doing the yoyo act between Zeeland and Rotterdam, so what else could I call this post except Up and Down? (Answers in the comments below, please 😊)
Still, there have been some developments despite all the routine continuity of our summer here in the Flatlands. For one thing, contrary to the normal reputation the country has of having dismal summers, we had some very hot weather last week (a whopping 37C here in the South last Friday) and we're about to have a prolonged spell of similar high temperatures. Funnily enough, it rarely reached these soaring heights in Johannesburg when I lived there; it was just more consistently warm and sunny throughout the year. I don't mind this, though. In fact, I revel in it, but it does make it harder to work outside on the boats without risking serious heat stroke and dehydration. Having said that, it's what we're busy with most of the time (working on the boats, that is), especially now we can't go away on the Hennie H; not yet anyway.
In my last post, I wrote about scraping all the old layers paint off the stern of my Vereeniging to get it back to the steel before (yes, you're right) painting it again. To my delight, last weekend I found the traces of the historical owners' company name, L. Mur, and two letters of the Vereeniging's old home port of Loenen. If you look, you can see the L, the M and the remains of the U and R, as well as the O and E of Loenen beneath it. I was incredibly excited to find them as they're proof of the Vereeniging's history I was given by the previous owner. I know. It's not exactly winning the lottery, but to a history and archaeology nut like me, this is soul food.
Sadly, I had to scrape them off as I need a clean surface on which to paint the anti-rust primer you can see in the next photo down (I still have to do the windows and their frames...another job) but I will print the pictures and keep them in my special barge file.
I'm now three quarters of the way round the stern, and I hope to finish it this weekend, heat permitting. I'll be up very early on Saturday morning as I believe it's going to be 36C later in the day. 'Fried Val on Board' is not a headline I want to be making.
Being in the Oude Haven is always a pleasure. We see neighbours, chat and share news and watch barges come and go. I took these two photos of one of my favourites leaving to go on holiday last weekend. The photos didn't turn out so well because I was facing the sun, but it's a beautiful sailing clipper and lovely to see. The barge's owner, Walther, knows what he's doing and his exit was smooth and seamless, also a pleasure to witness.
And then, of course, I had the pleasure of having my grandpup for a few days. My daughter's Spaniel, Charlie is just the sweetest, easiest and most delightful small companion we could wish for. We had lots of extra walks and having a dog around makes me feel much more complete. I really should find a Charlie of my own, I think.
These last few days, we've been back in Zeeland again, and work continues on the Hennie H. Koos is making fantastic progress with the engine and is now about to embark on the electrics. This is probably the most challenging area for him, so wish him, me and us luck! If all goes well, we'll be able to start testing everything...and believe me, we'll be doing so much of that we'll be testing ourselves to the limit too.
Meanwhile, I'm keeping in character and pursuing my usual task of scraping things down. At the moment I'm busy with the rim that runs around the top of the Hennie H's hull. It's what the Dutch call the potdeksel, but I've no clue what that would be in English. Can anyone help me out with this? Anyway, it's another long haul, not just in length, but in time too. It's always said that patience is a virtue, isn't it? They also say that practice makes perfect. If both of these are true, I must be becoming very virtuous in my old age and if not, practice is making me very patient! I still have a long way to go before the perfect bit.
Anyway, that's it for this week, allemaal. Next week's blog will probably be called To and Fro...
Keep cool and keep well till next time.