Friday, October 06, 2023

Where has the time gone?

 It only seems like yesterday I was writing a summing up of August, albeit in September, but here we are at the end of the first week of October and I feel I've completely lost September in a kind of hazy mist. Okay, we had the grand adventure into France on the weekend of the 15th, halfway through the month, but for the life of me, I can't remember much of what we've done since then.

I know there's been quite a bit of boat painting involved – not major, large areas, but details like the railings on the Hennie H, which both Koos and I have been busy with (fiddly and time-consuming).



Fiddly, time-consuming railings


And I've repainted more of the panels on Vereeniging, which I need to do every year. I wish I could find solid wood in the right sizes at an affordable price. The thick plywood I've used lives up to its name as the ply part tends not to survive much in the way of wet weather, no matter how much I smear kit along the edges and paint them. I've replaced them all over the last few years, but the first ones I did are already showing signs of weather damage.

I've replaced all the side panels over the years

But the biggest job was last weekend's efforts to replace three engine cover gaskets on the Vereeniging. Again, on paper this isn't a big job, but it took time and the two of us spent most of last Saturday and Sunday doing it. The first job was to drain the sump of oil, which involved running the engine until it was warm – something Koos particularly enjoys, although I love the sound of the Samofa (aka Leaky Lou) as well. Then he sucked the old oil out with the nifty hand pump built onto the engine block. Having done that, the three covers were removed, which is where I came in. 

Two of the engine covers with their knobs
which unscrew to remove them (not my photo
by the way. It comes from a website called De Binnenvaart)

My job was to peel off what remained of the old gaskets and sealant, clean them and their mountings, (which look like the photo below when they're clean), and apply new sealant on both sides of the gaskets when replacing them.  

Also not my photo. This one comes from
a website called Marine Power Services

The most difficult part, oddly enough, was putting the covers back on. The knobs you can see in the first photo control a kind of cross bar at the back of the cover, which has to go inside the engine and be twisted round until it holds the cover in place. You then fix them by screwing the knobs back in. Sounds easy, yes? Well, no. Because the cross bars are longer than the height or width of the openings, you have to put them in diagonally. But even that is unbelievably tricky. 

Koos tried top right to bottom left; it didn't work. Then he tried top left to bottom right. That didn't work either. Agh! However, in both these efforts, he was trying to put the bottom of the cross bar in first. After numerous frustrating attempts and a bit of damage to one of the new gaskets (sigh), we eventually discovered it was essential to put the top of the cross bar in first, lift the cover up a bit and then the bottom of the bar would go in easily. Voilà! The reason? There's more room to manoeuvre at the top than the bottom; it really was that simple. 

After this revelation (and a good half hour), the process went smoothly and all the covers were back in place. You have no idea how relieved we were.

The only thing left was to put new oil in the engine, which I didn't yet have. With these old motors, it's best to use 30 grade oil. Sorry for being technical here, but normal vehicles use 10-40 grade. Just so you know.  Thirty grade is a bit more expensive, of course, but luckily I can get it locally, so with seven litres now in the car, tomorrow will be the day for testing whether all our efforts have helped reduce a few of Lou's leaks. Fingers crossed!

See? This is what my memory is reduced to. I can only think of these paltry highlights to the weeks to mark the passing of the month. Maybe I need to add a few photos that I took in our neck of the woods to the mix. 

Have a good weekend, allemaal and enjoy your autumn/spring wherever you happen to be.

A rather unusual ship. I have no idea what it's for so if anyone
has a clue...?

My beautiful barge in our lovely harbour

A moving war memorial I discovered in
Terneuzen our nearest town

Zoe guarding her terrain




20 comments:

  1. Hi Val. It sounds as if you have been quite busy. Happy to hear that you figured out how to put the covers on gaskets. The great pictures show the challenge. Plus, thanks for sharing the other summer photos!

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    1. Aw, thank you for visiting and commenting, Lynn. I am so behind with everything at the moment, but I will catch up with your blog soon too!

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  2. The "Connector" is an ocean-going cable laying vessel. That's a landing pad for helecopters on the front and the cable and it's associated equipment goes over the stern on those cranes. They cross oceans with these ships.
    And that's a mighty fine engine you have there! Hope the oil stays where it's supposed to.

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    1. Well, well, many thanks for that information, Don. We were really quite puzzled as to what it was. And yes, fingers crossed for the oil!

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  3. Hello Val, is it advancing age, or post-covid confusion? whatever it is, I am in much the same boat, metaphorically speaking. Can't remember what I have done, but sure feel busy. Anyhoo, you have delightful red railings to show for your efforts, and the replacement of gaskets quite does my head in. Well done you two! The War Memorial is rather lovely, and unique, which makes it special. The many identical ones in Australia become less effective for their mass production. The red ship looks rather glamorous - perhaps it is a billionaire's pleasure toy :)

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    1. Ah, Trish, yes! It could be a combination of factors that’s making us lose track. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I too found that memorial quite special. I’ve never seen one like it before and it’s definitely different from any others in this area or in the neighbouring countries. Thank you for your kind words about the gaskets. We have yet to see if our hard labour has worked! :)

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  4. Your boats certainly keep you busy Val. If I was ever envious of boat owners (and I have been) then your tales of the work and problems they bring will steady me down. I'm sure you enjoy the benefits of your time out on the water though.
    This year is certainly passing by and I'm not looking forward to the dark nights and when we change our clocks back to Greenwich Meantime. We're in UK daylight saving time just now and that made me wonder, do you folk in the Netherlands alter your clocks twice a year? Or is it just us?!
    Lovely photos and Zoe looks very calm & content, hope she's OK now. David

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    1. Ah David, I think you have to love everything that goes with owning a boat, not just being out on the water. Luckily, I enjoy it al, but wish I could devote more time to it as we never seem to keep up. As for the clocks, yes, we do change them twice a year, just like the UK and at the same time. I’m not looking forward to those short days either. Zoe is fine apart from an allergy I can’t seem to identify. She scratches her ears and chews her feet a lot. I’ve tried all sorts of elimination tests but haven’t solved it yet.

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  5. What an amazing life you lead - just as amazing as you are. No wonder time seems to fly past at breakneck speed! Happy October. I hope yours is better than what we have today; grey, cool, rainy and flooded streets. Oh, well. Lovely photos also. (Steph)

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    1. Steph, thank you, dear. Our weather is mixed, like yours. Yesterday was very warm but we’ve had cold, wet days too. I definitely feel autumn setting in!

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  6. Did you manage to take the skin off your knuckles? A job isn't done properly if you haven't! Good to see the challenges of narrowboat maintenance...

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    1. No skin off, Aidan, but I’ve got some lurid bruises on my hands. Does that count? 😄

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    2. A badge of honour! The more colourful the better... 🤣

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    3. Haha, they are a vision of brown, purple and blue :))

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    4. Royal colours... 👑😀

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  7. My goodness Val but you and Koos have been busy. I do hope all your effort pays off! Engines & I aren't good friends - I even leave jobs like putting anti freeze in my car to Joe! Both Hennie H and Vereeniging look very smart thanks to the cnstant care they get. I was intigued by the war memorial and thanks to Mr Google I could learn all about it. I discovered that the stones at the foot of the monument are remains from the destruction of the Westsluis. Zoe looks lovely as ever - what a good guard dog she is. x

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    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca. You know more about the memorial than I do. I confess I hadn’t got round to looking it up, so that’s interesting about the stones. I shall read all about it immediately. Sadly, our labours didn’t work as we’d hoped, so we’ll have to have the covers off again and refit them. Leaky Lou is leaking more than ever at the moment. 😞

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  8. Oh no! That's just too bad. I do hope you get Leaky Lou to be leak free.

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    1. Thank you! I hope so too, or it will definitely curtail our adventures.

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  9. Hi Val - I can hear the love you both have for your boats and said maintenance thereof ... also no wonder Zoe is relaxing on the back patio area ... cheers Hilary

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