After talking about blacking the boat for the past six months, Jaq took things in hand and booked the boat in to The Ashby Canal Centre before we left for the U.S. We bought 20 litres of bitumen in October when Midland Chandlers had a 20% off sale on it and so we are stuck into the job now.
Monday morning dawned crisp and bright. We cruised into the marina at half past nine and the crew here guided NB Valerie onto a set of wheeled axles attached to an electric motor which was previously in use in a coal mine winding the lift up and down, taking miners down and bringing them back to the surface again. The folks here at The Ashby Canal Centre are a lovely lot--friendly and helpful.
|The Ashby Canal Centre, Stoke Golding|
|Setting the axles in place|
|A view of the slipway with axles set to accept NB Valerie. The engine with tow rope attached is located in the shed at the front of the slipway.|
|Engine with tow rope and winch|
|View from overhead bridge of Les backing NB Valerie off the Ashby canal and into the marina entrance.|
|The captain bringing her about!|
|NB Valerie coming into the slipway and onto the axles|
|Here comes the bow...|
|...followed by the stern!|
|Long shot of the process from the overhead bridge|
|Les in wet gear, pressure washing the hull to remove corrosion and debris|
|The bow as Les begins pressure washing. The silver lozenge attached at far left is a sacrificial anode made from a highly active metal used to prevent the boat hull from corroding.|
|The pressure washed section to the right provides a good example of the contrast: before being washed, left.|
|An example of pressure washed hull to the left and freshly blacked metal on the right.|
Wednesday Les painted the inside of the bow locker as well since it floods with water and the gas bottles sit down inside there. He is also contemplating pulling the batteries out to treat the metal in the battery compartment before putting them back in again. We also purchased the bits and bobs to change the engine oil and mount a new solar panel on the roof. Les certainly doesn't lack for jobs to keep busy! He painted a second coat of bitumen on in the afternoon once it warmed up somewhat.
The average night time temperatures have been hovering around freezing, with a couple of degrees below freezing Tuesday and Wednesday nights. As soon as the sun comes up though it warms up by early afternoon to decent working weather. We just have to allow more time for the bitumen to dry in the cold. Jaq plies me with tea and coffee, and spoiled me with homemade Spaghetti with meat sauce last night.
In the evenings we have been enjoying reading as we sit in front of the fire, surfing the 'Net, or enjoying the advent calendars our Stateside friends Sandy Field, and Larry and Lael Turnbow sent us from Jacquie Lawson's website.
Les has the London advent calendar on his desktop and I have the Alpine village on mine. These e-calendars are amazing! Such tremendous detail and a lot of fun to explore. The London advent calendar features famous places including Big Ben which actually tells the correct time whenever we look! The Alpine Village is filled with wonderful activities to pass the time.
Jaq is geared up for holiday baking, with fat loaves of Pumpkin Bread and a large double batch of Golden Ginger Cake cooling in the galley! I've even heard a rumor that a pan of Angel Bars may be forthcoming soon since we stocked up on graham cracker crumbs while in America. Al De Meola's holiday instrumental music flows from the speakers as we sit together at the table and write this post.
We hope to get at least one more layer on the boat before she goes back in the water on Monday morning.