I may not have written a blog post for a week or more, but I have not, dear reader, been idle. Well, not all the time anyway. We have been on Herbie trying to get her more spick and span. When we arrived at Herbie in the marina a week ago we were pleased to see that the flags were out for us. That’s yellow flag irises of course. Moon daisies, dog roses and all sorts of other stuff was out too. The marina surroundings are looking very lush and pretty.
Down our end of the marina, away from the car park and the office etc, we get all the wildlife, song birds especially, including, I am happy to report, skylarks twittering away up in the sky. Down in the water, apart from the ducks and swans there are some proper big carp that will come up and eat your scraps of bread if the ducks don’t get there first. And, best of all, about an hour after sundown, we got spectacular displays of bats swooping low over the water at speeds that would put swallows to shame. I’m no bat expert but I guess they are daubenton bats since they are supposed to feed over water and seem about the right size. The light reflected over the water surface gives you a better view than you would normally get of bats in flight, but they were much too fast to photograph. Suffice it to say there were lots of them. Just look at this picture and fill in your imaginary bats.
Just to finish off this wildlife section, here are a couple of the little fellows that came to see us when we sat out in our deck chairs.
There are five cygnets in all, and like all swans they have little fear of us humans.
Despite weather varying from too misty to too hot to too breezy, I did manage to get a bit of painting done. The section of Herbie’s roof where the roof box sits now has three fresh top coats and the box is at long long last installed.
I also managed to do the other roof areas that needed repainting, although I suspect that having done it in sections at different times some bit of it will need seeing to before very long, a bit like the Forth bridge.
Our wooden handrails need regular attention as the wood expands and contracts in the weather and the ropes drag over them etc. I feel guilty when I let them get scruffy after all the hard work Marilyn put in on them when we did the big Herbie repaint. This time they needed more than a touch up so on the port side I sanded almost all of the rail back to bare wood and filled a lot of the cracks and screw holes before putting on a thick undercoat and three gloss coats and now it looks like this.
The first of the top coats didn’t go too well, I painted it too late in the day and an evening mist came down and gave it a frosted finish. That’ll learn me. Note to self: Don’t paint outdoors after 2pm. I hope the finished job will pass Marilyn's inspection next time she comes to visit. Hopefully her eyesight might not be what it was. The starboard side will have to wait until we can get that against the bank or the pontoon.
I have a tip to pass on. Having left my best masking tape at home, I despatched Kath down to Wickes in Banbury to get “the best she could” and she came back with this stuff.
It’s made by the Duck tape people and I like it very much. The photo is a bit misleading, it’s about 2cm wide, normal sort of masking tape width. The outside in plastic and the sticky side seems to have some sort of fine webbing. That’s the sticky side in the photo. It sticks well, comes off well (no bleeds at all) and is not as stretchy as a lot of tapes. I found it easy to apply it all along one side of the boat in one straight strip – something other tapes wouldn’t let me do as they tended to pull into a curve. It’s not cheap, I think Kath paid about £8 but don’t quote me, but there is a lot of tape on the reel. I shall be using it for similar jobs in future.
I suppose I should just add for the record that during the week I managed to get the aft deck cants painted as well.
The rest of the time I just loafed about tightening crews and stuff like that, but mostly watching paint dry. Oh and I wrote another episode or two of my number two novel. I will finish it this year. I think. I still have no idea how it ends.