Saturday 29 September 2018


Readers may remember that I was really worried about tackling metalwork painting on Erin Mae, but that so far it has gone pretty well. What I hadn't expected was difficulties with the woodwork.

I've been varnishing the rail at the stern, and most of it has been fine. But the section nearest to the camera in this shot has been giving problems. I thought I'd rubbed it down OK, but then some odd surface blemishes appeared overnight. When I came to rub it down again, the previous layer(s) didn't come off cleanly.

I'm trying to work out what the issue is. Perhaps the original or some subsequent coat of varnish wasn't put on well. Perhaps the overnight dew is causing problems – the days are not hot but the sun is bright and humidity doesn't seem high. I'm thinking that I'll have to go back to bare wood, but I haven't had to do that with most of the rail, just this first section on the right-hand side.

The photo above also shows the damage that happened to one of the pram-hood fasteners years ago, as we were coming down the Ashton flight into Manchester. The current at a bend took me into a wall, and I was extremely upset. Thinking back, it felt the same as when we lost the side panels in the wind last week. Two weeks ago, returning from our trip up the Shroppie, I was trying to manage Erin Mae as we came out of a lock, so that my best beloved could hop back on as I emerged from the bridge hole. What with wind, current and lack of attention, I damaged the equivalent fastener on the left side of the boat.

I was annoyed, but not devastated (that would come later when we lost the panel it held in place!). I rang Keith Wilson, and he put a couple of fasteners in the post. Unfortunately they have so far not arrived at Great Haywood PO – and this was two weeks ago. However, we shall meet him in Great Haywood this coming week to discuss replacing the lost panels, so hopefully he'll bring a couple of fasteners with him.

Meanwhile, it's back to rubbing down the woodwork…


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