Wednesday 16 March 2011

The Covers are Off

A milestone moment is reached down at the barge today, when the big poly-tunnel cover which has kept the rebuild from the weather since late 2007, is removed. This is final preparations for the hull being refloated Monday 21st on the 13:37 high tide. Dad walks us down past the barge to check progress and is blown away by how big she looks now without the cover, and how beautiful her lines; her "sheer" as they say in barge-speak. That's the curve in the hull which gives her a high stem and a high stern, and a low middle, the better to battle through (over!) big North Sea waves. It was typical of the proper big 'coasting' barges. The opposite in barge-speak seems to be "flat as a plank" by which rude expression coasting barge men refer to their still-water 'river-barge' cousins, who never saw outside the estuary.
The Silverwoods arrive at about 07:30 this morning in various states of exhaustion having travelled through the night, catching the overnight ferry and then either driving through the night from 'up North' or more-or-less-successfully sleeping in the car as it raced South along the motorways. Mr Silverwood is beat, and Mrs S not far behind so after a quick breakfast and greet they retreat to the big double bed for a kip. Dad has to nip to work despite being on holiday, so Mum is left to entertain the 4 children who are also variously tired or not, but all in need of a leg stretch and breath of air.
The swings and slides in the park are the obvious answer. We all reconvene at about 11 by which time Mr and Mrs S are napped out and awake again and the kids have all run a little out of steam. I fall in love with toddler R who is of the age where she can be relied upon to trail round the house with that piece of cheese scone in her tiny hand, dropping pieces and crumbs and/or the whole thing for an alert dog to catch before it hits the ground! They are currently off in Maidstone visiting Mr S's aged parents, Morag and Jeff.
Today's pics are of Pip, black lab and first-in-line for the position of barge-dog aboard SB Cambria belonging, as he does, to Master Shipwright, Tim Goldsack. At only 3 years old now, he was first brought onto the rebuild as a tiny pup and has grown up with Cambria as his day time home and leps around the barge with all the familiarity and agility of a dog completely unfazed by varnished and painted wood surfaces, mesh floored viewing galleries, high rails to jump over, heights and drops (although I've never seen him actually climb a ladder!

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