A quiet week

Not much to report this week, we remain in our prime viewing position of the Ratcliffe on Soar cooling towers, East Midlands railway line and East Midlands airport flight path – so always something to look at!!!

The new engine is on the boat and Martin is now fitting it – this will take a couple of weeks at least, so we remain as we are for now.

We will then be reviewing our options – so you know as much as we do at the moment – will update next week.

We progress…slowly

Another week here at Redhill draws to a close and we see Heavy Metal taken out of the paint shed with her new ‘paint job’.

Looking good…..

We had enjoyed our change of scenery but were now ready to get back on board our home. As you can see our new resting place was some 12 foot above the ground! Accessed only by a ladder or some rickety steps with a crate and a wooden sleeper on top to allow those of us who are vertically challenged to be able to access their home. Not ideal and initially it felt a bit like being marooned.

We were however left sloping slightly forwards and this meant that the shower tray was likely to overflow if we weren’t very careful and things kept rolling away when dropped. This new ‘mooring’ gave us yet another view of Redhill life, although no longer near the water there was plenty of activity and comings and goings from the boat building and painting sheds – to feed our thirst for a story. We were also in sight of the flight path to East Midlands Airport and as lock-down is relaxed this is getting busier. We watched a plane the other evening which we think must have been a training flight as it looked as if it was coming in to land several times and then pulled up and didn’t.

Engine update

Martin had disconnected the current engine and this was then quickly and efficiently craned out the boat, leaving a large empty space for the new one to be installed once Martin has completed all the preparation works.

Passing the time…

I have spent some time this week on my sewing machine making, among other things, facemasks for us to wear on our forays on the train. We do spend much of our time just us 2 and luckily this isn’t a problem for us – although we both came from different lives and with differing experiences and tastes – we have melded – Martin has introduced me to rock music, Harley Davidson and the undeniably Yorkshire ‘a spade is a spade’ outlook on life; I think I have introduced him to the National Trust, Doc Martin and the idea that it can be quite useful to sometimes actually read instructions!

We do however both love nature and we were lucky enough this week to have the company of a female kestral, very close by.

We now await the new engine installation and then we will be able to reassess our plans.

At last… bye bye Piano Boat

We woke this morning to much activity in the yard, to find 2 camera crews and various Tristar Boats and Redhill staff looking very busy. It wasn’t long before the boat transporter lorry arrived and loaded the Piano Boat – this was filmed from all angles including by drone. We waved her off, wishing her well in her new starring role on the Thames.

A little calm before, during and after the storm?

We were entering our third week at Redhill and Martin was getting impatient wanting to get a workable schedule agreed to progress our works. It was the weekend so no one was around to answer our queries. The rain came again and during the dry spells we enjoyed the sunshine and local walks – on one occasion we came back from a walk to Sawley by a different route and although we could see the Marina and the boat our way was blocked by a huge mass of flood water and the bridge we needed to get across was also surrounded by water – now I had my wellies on ( as it had been raining!), suffice to say Martin didn’t, so I suggested that I walk through the water back to the boat and fetch his wellies back for him – we agreed this was a good idea until Martin thought he may as well just roll up his jeans, which he did, take off his shoes and socks, which he did, and paddle across, which he did. Luckily it wasn’t too deep, but I didn’t want to dwell on the colour of the water or what was actually squelching through his toes, for too long, as the field was usually full of cows!!

We witnessed another ‘how many men’ moment the next day when there was much commotion whilst trying to move a work barge and get a JCB with pile driver onto it. Turns out it takes at least 4 men, about 2 hours and some very ripe language!!

Update – Piano Boat….

The Piano Boat finally came out of the water and was due to be put on a lorry and taken down to London – we met the pianist and owner, Masayuki Tayama, and his partner, Rhiana Henderson, both obviously keen to get their new business started. Seems there is a problem with the flooring they had chosen and so their departure is still facing a delay.

Let battle commence…….

As Monday morning approached and with it our opportunity to try to nail on our schedule with the Redhill ‘powers that be’ we lined up our teddies, rattles and various Fisher Price products along the edge of our pram just in case we needed to start launching them later!! However we are pleased to report that no toys were harmed in the making of our plans as we were advised that our boat was scheduled to be taken out of the water on Tuesday morning, it would then be pulled up to the shot blast area, so we could confirm arrangements with Martin, the shot blaster, to come over the Wednesday morning – all systems go – we would then be due into the paint shed later that day for welding and repainting and would remain there for possibly a week.

We spent the night 12 or so feet up in the air and not altogether level, it felt very strange. The next day the shot blaster came early to scour her bottom, which was a dusty, noisy job, so we had to stay well away for the two or so hours it took. It turned out that although every crack, crevice and hole had been covered, bunged or stuffed the dust had got in everywhere and the boat was covered in red dust inside and out!

As I said it was all systems go and the new engine was also due to be, and was actually, delivered, on time,that morning. We had also made arrangements to meet up with the welder once in the paint shed as Martin wanted to get some stabilising fins welded to the sides of the boat to help reduce the amount of roll we could experience when at sea, prior to painting.

All this and it was only lunchtime…………………

As I reported before we were unable to stay on the boat whilst she was in the paint shed due to the potential fumes etc. So it was time we moved into our temporary accommodation ‘the Container’, still on site, still on the water but away from the dust and fumes, and we finally felt we were making progress. We packed our bags, clothes and food and drink and made our way to our temporary home. It was compact and bijou but perfectly adequate and comfortable. This bit was slightly stressful as we wouldn’t have access to the boat for a week so anything we forgot to take at this point; we went without, that included clothes, food and drink!!

We did manage to relax that evening and enjoy being back at ground level, and so we settled into what was to be our new home for the next week, with a wonderful sunset and a bottle of wine – life was good….