Finally, on Saturday, the weather was good enough to do a vital job on Chertsey.
When we go to Langley Mill, we'll be mooring above the lock, so we'll need to get under a very low bridge. So we needed to put Chertsey back into 'Erewash mode', as we last did for our visit in 2013, and again for the Stratford in 2014 (I ask myself why we bothered putting them back up inbetween).
Doing this involves untying all the top strings, removing the topcloths, untying the sidecloth strings, lifting the top planks down onto the cross planks, taking out the stands, laying down the mast, removing the deckboatd, and, in Chertsey's case, taking down the frame that supports the top plank over the back end. Then, putting the supports under the cross planks, the boxes on top, the top planks on top of the boxes, retying the sidecloths, cutting a new length of translucent sheet (and the best way we could think of doing this was by unrolling it along the top plank), putting the topcloth on at the front, and retying the top strings.
So, we needed a day with no rain, and no wind. Only Saturday fitted the bill. We had half hoped that if we could get it done quickly enough we could proceed on to the postponed HNBC AGM at 2pm, which was only 20 minutes away from Alvecote. In the end though we didn't - Chertsey was done by 2.30, but we were a bit knackered and decided to go back to Sheffield for a cup of tea instead.
Chertsey still needs a massive clean up before we go off to Langley Mill, and the interior is in a state of absolute chaos, as all the bits of superstructure that have been removed (and I forgot to mention the plywood partitions that keep Ricky in), including the false cratch-like framework from the back end, are in the hold, leaving very little room to move. We want to take them with us though, as we'll be going straight on to Braunston after Langley Mill (yes, the joys of the Soar), and I'm hoping to get everything back up while we're there. In 2014 we did the reverse with the splendid assistance of the extended Herbies.
Starting the return trip - with complications!
13 hours ago