This morning the sky was grey but not threatening, and there was no dew on the boat. So, before we moved off we put another coat of paint on the side of the boat next to the bank. We then drove a mile or so until the towpath changed sides, moored up and finished the job on the other side.
The dark blue (Steel Blue on the tin) looked almost purple in places, especially where the light undercoat was showing through. I was relieved to find that adding a second coat seemed to resolve that issue. Perhaps I didn’t stir the tin well enough, or maybe the paint just behaves like that.
I often think of my Mum when I’m painting – I often helped her with painting and decorating at home. On one occasion I made her a cup of tea while she was painting, only for her to dip the paintbrush in to it. So when I had a cuppa while painting it was impossible not to remember her.
The light blue (Capri Blue on the tin) only needed a small amount of work, so I was able to do it with a tiny brush. One bit that needed additional attention had been rubbed yesterday when we were fishing a wheelbarrow tyre out of the canal with the boat hook.
We carried on to the water point to fill up, mooring very gently so as not to mess up any paint. While the water was filling I could see that it was a tactical error to stop under the bridge for the paint stop. The towpath was clear of weeds, but the light was poor – Clare was right! So while the water filled I got the brush out again and managed to cover the bits I’d missed.
We drove on to the junction and came upon Midland Chandlers (other chandlers are available). We (delicately) moored up and went in. Amongst our purchases were two “wheelbarrow tyre style” fenders. These should allow us to pull the ropes tight when mooring while holding the boat a foot or so off the bank. This might help with painting, but is mainly intended to keep the hull away from a bank with a sill or a slope – something we wished we had a few days ago.
We also bought blacking – a bituminous black paint that is used on the parts of the boat that are underwater and just above. We have a number of scrapes on the blacked sections of the hull which we will now be able to treat.
We were soon at the first of three tunnels today, Preston Brook Tunnel. We had to wait nearly half an hour for our slot (southbound entry between xx.30 and xx.40). That gave us another chance to finish some missed paint spots, and to take down the pram cover. We don’t fit in the tunnels with it up, nor under the bridges now we are on the Trent and Mersey Canal again.
The second (Saltersford) tunnel is shorter than the first, but has several kinks in it. You can’t see through it, and have to be alert for twists within the tunnel. These are the conditions that can result in paintwork being damaged.
I was especially careful and managed to get through without any new damage. By the time we’d come through the third (Barnton) tunnel it was almost sunset. We found some mooring rings and stopped for the night. We’ve got a lot of useful things done today, and made good progress along the canal.