Sunday, 7 November 2010

And pigs narrowboats are flying

Club-nautique Haute-Picardie

Remember, remember, the 5th of November .... and we're out of the water but not yet landed safely. This reminds me so much of the first time we were craned in to French waters in Calais in April 2000. MWNN reports that Bruno and the crane crew were every bit as effecient and professional as the Calais firm, who trundled the crane across Calais 'after hours' because our lorry driver had failed to confirm the time of the boat's arrival at the Inner Harbour car park.

This is the moment our boat swung across the road between water and dry land. MWNN was on the end of a guide rope until he was needed to re-position the timber for the boat to land. Everything went smoothly and without a hitch.

Club-nautique Haute-Picardie

From this distance, the bottom looks in pretty good condition. An ultra-sound will confirm if this is so and it's difficult to asses how much 'pitting' there is beneath all that river/canal muck. Looks as though the front annode has some life left in it but it's probably a good idea to replace all four of them all now that she's out of the water (even thought they're about £60 each).

The timber is doing a great job chocking the boat up off the road/grass. It's going to be much easier to paint those parts of the boat, such as the bow beneath the V-bow fender, that were impossible to reach when she was in the water

Club-nautique Haute-Picardie

The boarding plank doubles as a ladder. Here, MWNN is removing the 'plank'. This will be useful for going aboard for meals and tea-breaks.

The 'tide-mark' shows clearly how shallow-drafted the boat is. It's the part below the water-line that needs most cleaning and 'blacking'. No sign of the tarps which I presume will have been pressed into service by now.

Once the blacking is done (and it's a race against time as the cold weather is forecast earlier than predicted) there are a million and one other things that need doing before MWNN can return home. Most pressing will be the draining of all the water and central heating pipes as they are at risk from frost damage when the boat is out of the water. It would require extremely thick ice to freeze the pipes when the boat is in the water.  All the pipes are on or under the cabin floor, which is at least 70cm below water level. We lost our under-sink water filter to frost the year we were out of the water in Burgundy where the winters aren't quite as cold as in Picardie.