Well at long last, tomorrow is make or break day - a bit later than planned, but isn't that always the way. When working to a deadline, whether on writing an article or getting a boat Braunston-worthy, not only does the task expand to fill the time available, but activity is inevitably increasingly concentrated the nearer the deadline you get.
So, first thing tomorrow Chertsey will be lowered back into the Shropshire Union Canal, and, hopefully, by the end of the day will be travelling under its own power for the first time in, possibly, a quarter of a century.
My proudest achievement today was finishing and fitting the canvas section to the cooling ducting. Not perfect but pretty neat and hopefully will serve the purpose. There would have been a photo but I left the camera in the kitchen....
Meanwhile, Jim finished the ad hoc lengthways flooring of the hold (last year one boat at Braunston, I think it was Monarch, sported a sign saying something along the lines of 'Work in progress: Fuck off rivet-counters'. I feel I should have one saying 'Fuck off floor-direction-checkers and plank-measurers'. But I'm too polite, of course.)
We have cleared up all our detritus from around the boat and it is now in position to be lifted in before all the hire boats are let out in the morning. Then we shall see whether it is watertight... whether the engine starts... whether the controls work... the battery charges... and all the other things that could go wrong that I haven't even thought of yet. It won't be the end of the world (and I promise not to cry) if it doesn't work first time, even if we don't make it to Braunston. It's been good to have a target, but it's no the be-all and end-all really; we just have to pretend that it is.
This evening Andrew and Andrea from Dove came to collect their trailer, the kind loan of which really saved our bacon, and we went into Brewood for a quick drink at teh Bridge. Oh god. I knew there was an Ingerland match tonight, but hadn't foreseen that they would have erected a TV in every bar plus one outside, so we stood and shivered literally on the bridge with our first pint, and by the time we had finished that the national heroes has achieved another ignominious draw so we were able to squeeze into the now thankfully quiet bar.