Long time no post -apologies to those with withdrawal symptoms. We've been busy helping our Peter decorate and fit out his new (to him) flat. I'm all DiYed out after painting four rooms, putting up blinds and curtain rails, wiring up ceiling lights (modern ones seem to leave no space for the tangle of wiring inherent in a ceiling rose, so a simple job turns out to be a right pig.) and assembly of a van load of IKEA furniture. I'm glad to say the flat now looks fairly spiffing, at least it will do when the remaining cardboard boxes are all emptied and disposed of. I wouldn't like to count how many times I've popped into Toolstation and Screwfix over the last few weeks. Luckily they're half a minute from Peter's place in the car. Anyhow suffice it to say I'm knackered. Just as well we got someone else to do the blacking on Herbie last week.
Andy and Jane at Cropredy Dry Dock don't come cheap but they do a superior job. At a lot of places you get a pressure wash, a scrape and two coats of blacking. At Cropredy you get pressure wash, machining out of any battle scars on the hull, rust conversion of any corroded areas, priming of anything left bare with a proper hull primer, then three coats of Intertuf blacking. This time we also got them to do the gunnels, again removing scars inflicted by lock walls etc, rust converting, priming, undercoating and finishing with black gloss coachpaint. Won't we look smart? Well the bottom half of the boat will do at any rate. All in all I suppose it cost about double what a 'normal' service would do but Herbie deserves it.
Some years we seem to get away with spending hardly anything on Herbie, but this has been a bit of a bumper year what with new batteries, a Morco repair and the blacking. The irony is that we have done less boating than usual. Our normal big September cruise seems to have slipped from our grasp as we need to return to peter in a short while to help clear out and clean up Peter's old place. I'll soon be on first name terms with the guys at the Cambridge recycling centre. Kids eh, who'd have 'em?
If the weather holds, we'll get away in our shiny hull in late September. Will we get through Cropredy lock without a scratch on the new blacking? Probably not.