Sunday, May 13, 2018

Operation Paint

When I went for a walk first thing on Thursday morning, the swan's nest was deserted, and there was just one egg lying on it. Not a good sign, I thought. I wandered around the edge of the marina pound, but saw no sign of them. A bad sign.

A couple of hours later, we headed out of the marina for the start of Operation Paint. And then we saw the swans, mum and dad teaching six fluffy cygnets how to feed from the rushes and weeds along the canal just outside the marina.

We headed down to the moorings beyond bridge 27, where the bank is low and the situation is ideal for work on the hull. We passed only a few boats on the way, NB Sovereign from Yelvertoft being one of them. There was a fairly even mix of owners and hirers, but nothing like the numbers we'd seen over the Bank Holiday weekend. The sun was bright, the wind a bit chilly, but boaters were in buoyant mood.

We were surprised to find our stretch of moorings empty.

We had lunch there, and would have stayed, but for the total lack of phone and internet signal, and we needed that, so we moved on to Welford Junction. Again, there was no-one else there, at this very popular spot.

The bank is low here, too, the towing path wide, and signals are strong. Perfect! Down to work! I started preparing the hull for painting above the rubbing strake, de-rusting the scrapes and scratches inflicted upon it over the past couple of years of cruising. Having already drawn the outlines for the castle image on the cabin side, Grace started to apply paint. Roses will be added when that's completed. It's a long, slow job.

It was a silent night - apart from a firework display in a nearby field, which was a bit puzzling, because the nearest housing on that side of the canal is over a mile away.

Friday morning was bright and breezy windy really pretty windy. Grace carried on with the painting while I completed the hull preparation, then cleaned that side of the cratch cover. The past months of wet weather encouraged the growth of a lot of algae, and it's not easy to remove.

When I'd finished on the port side, we moved up the few hundred yards to Welford Junction, where Grace battled the wind to turn Kantara around and return to the same spot, now to work on the starboard side. While I was scraping and rubbing, along came a couple who recognized Kantara, turned to me and asked, "Are you the author?" Barry and Pam of NB Brandy Girl are an American couple - though Barry was born in Yorkshire - who have read and really enjoyed my books. They told me of their amazement; they'd only just been talking about me as they turned the bend in the towing path. Then they saw the boat! We chatted for some time. They're a lovely couple who enjoy the canals for part of each year, returning home to the States for the remaining months. Brandy Girl's home marina is in Crick, and they'd be returning there soon for the arrival of a crowd of friends and family that number more than their boat can manage! That's going to be interesting!


  1. Great to see Grace has bitten the bullet. Looking forward to seeing the finished result which I am sure will be awesome.