So we continue to reside at Redhill Marina. The negative aspect of this is its location i.e. pretty much in the middle of nowhere and with us having no transport (still mourning my little car!) Luckily the positives do tend to outweigh and we are only about 15 minutes walk from East Midlands Parkway station, so have been able to get the train to Loughborough to get to the bank and post office, the nearest post box is about the same distance walk away and we have also managed to secure Tesco deliveries – so we won’t starve. We intend to try and book a Chinese takeaway delivery this weekend! The weather had, so far, been kind too and there are some lovely walks around us. See, it’s not all bad…..
Marina is a bit of a misnomer – it is not in the classic Mediterranean way a marina – it is really a working boat yard, this in itself keeps us occupied as there is always something going on. Boats being put in the water, boats being taken out of the water, boats being moved around on land. The site caters for many types of boater and has facilities for craning , welding, painting, buying and selling. There are people with day/weekend boats, people fitting out their own boats and people just enjoying ‘messing about on the river’ in boats, canoes and on paddle boards. As you would expect there are many different characters employed, and passing through, here – we spend many a happy hour sitting up in the wheelhouse adding backstories to the people we see. We have had plenty of spare time to ‘people watch’ while we wait our turn for the various facilities, which has been great as it is one of our favourite pastimes.
Rachmaninov – The Piano Boat
The star boat this week has been Rachmaninov; the ‘Piano Boat’. This has been built on site by Tristar boats and is shortly scheduled to be transported by road to London. It will then have a grand piano installed and will be based on the Thames and offer musical soirees for 12 participants, afternoon teas and what they call an ebony and ivory experience – a private piano recital and meal. There was much activity when it was first taken from the sheds and put into the water, we spoke to a lady who was taking photos and she informed us that the boat was going to be the subject of a Channel 4 documentary in the future – we will keep a watch out for that.
Progress.. we hope
We are moored at the moment at the side of the public footpath, so have regular interactions with people out and about enjoying the countryside and good weather. Many comment about the boat – Heavy Metal is a Branson Construction Dutch Barge, built in 2003, purchased and subsequently lived on my Martin since 2006. She is 55″ long, 12″ wide (beam) and weighs about 25 tonnes. She is registered as Category C which means she is built for going to sea. She is our home – a warm, comfy and relaxing place to be.
We must be on about Plan G or H by now – to be honest this week has not be totally enjoyable as we have had so many changes to contend with to try and coordinate the various work which needs doing. When people say they feel that they are on a roller coaster – that is how we have felt this week, there have been times when we even have been unsure how to support each other – but we are strong together and we will get through.
We think we may have cracked it now.
We have a date to be taken out of the water and have managed to book the welder and shot blaster to come and do their bits, then we follow this by being transported on a trailer to the painting shed – what did I say about best laid plans?!
Another spanner in the works….
Martin spoke to the on site painting team when we first arrived and we have since decided to get the painting team here to do the paintwork for us – the advantages – the boat will be under cover so we are not weather reliant, they have the latest equipment i.e. spray guns etc., they quoted us a good price and most of all (from my point of view anyway) it was one less job for Martin to do. Then a couple of days ago another spanner came flying into the works… the paint shop manager said he didn’t think we should stay on the boat while it was being sprayed due to the potential fumes which could build up overnight when the painting shed was closed and the main extractors were switched off. So now we are going to be homeless!! We roll onto the next dilemma -what do we do; where do we go? Plan J anyone?
When we originally planned to go to Boston we arranged for a parcel of spares to be delivered there, which it was and there it remains – we need to get it to us here.. we thought of our options, going to Boston by train, then taxi to the boat yard and return; we could hire a car – this proved to be very expensive and due to our location difficult as we needed to get to the hire depot. We decided we would arrange a courier collection instead and priced this up. I then contacted David, the Fosdyke Yacht Haven manager, in Boston. I can now announce that he is now officially my ‘hero of the week’. He said he was really sorry we wouldn’t be going to them to have the boat works carried out and that it would be no trouble at all for him to take the parcel over to the post office and send it to us – how b****y lovely is that? Restores your faith in human nature doesn’t it? Thank you David at Fosdyke Yacht Haven.
The rain continues, but so does our faith and determination…..
Will add new blog next week – hopefully with a record of the progress we have made. Are you holding your breath – I know I am!!