I'd gone up to Portumna with Joe to do some hoovering and cleaning. Can you believe it? Jobs I hate enough at home and that's what I ended up doing on the boat. To be fair the hoovering was to remove the dust (the result of much sanding) from the deck, and particularly from the fenders so they wouldn't damage the pristine new paintwork when she was launched. And to be even fairer Joe hoovered the whole of the inside last week.
I would do more of the painting and varnishing (honest), but Joe tells me I'm slower than him, or that we can't both work on the boat together as I'll be in the way... Much as I say I don't need help with digging or shifting compost. Sometimes it's just easier to do the job yourself or, possibly closer to the truth, we all like our own sphere of influence.
The boat was launched on Thursday last - Joe was there for the event but I had poetry stuff to attend to - a meeting to decide on poems for the next issue of Skylight47 which I co-edit. I may not have told you about the first issue - see here and buy a copy!
Joe had the peel-off vinyl name stickers, picked up the day before in Limerick, and two new batteries. The sticker would have been better put on while she was on the hard, but Eamon insisted he'd done that job perfectly successfully while a boat was in slings just post-launch. Maybe not when it was quite so windy though. Joe had a bit of a bother with it, and then there was the rain, but finally it was done.
We went up together on Saturday to check the bilges. Winter Solstice had stayed in the slings for longer than we'd thought she might need to while taking up water, but was now in Connaught Harbour recuperating from her out-of-water ordeal.
Just after I'd taken this photo Joe asked me to spot the difference between this side and the other. 'A bit higher up?' I said. No. 'Um.' Spot was the clue. Because of the wind the dot from the i in Solstice had been whipped from Joe's hands as he was trying to stick it on, to be lost forever. I wonder how long it would have taken me to notice?
Inside she's a bit of a mess still. The floorboards are up so the level of water can be checked.
It was still trickling in from under the starboard engine, so there may be a problem there. 'Not to worry,' said Eamon, who was walking past. If it didn't stop they'd find the spot and put a bit of silicon on it. Strange seeing water in the bilges that came from the outside - she's always been very dry except for the (too many) times when water has come from other sources. The main cause of overflowing water has been from the weed trap, particularly when we're on the canal. When it becomes clogged, we have to undo the wing nuts on top of the trap (see photo), slide the lid across and ram a stick up and down rather more vigorously than is decorous until water pours out and you know it's cleared.
This won't happen any more! A new stalk has been attached at the base of the cylinder, rising it above the water level. So we may return to dry bilges yet.
We hope to bring her down the lake to somewhere with electricity so we can finish the cleaning job. With a bit of luck the weather will be good enough this weekend. We might even stay on board. Nothing like having to live among mess as an incentive to a good clean up.