We picked a good day for it but nobody, not a single solitary person writing on the subject, not a sole mentioned that putting the lining ply on-board would be such hard work. I've been reading about fitting out boats for years and have never read anything on the subject. Well I intent to put that right here and now. It is hard work, very hard. Especially if you are a septuagenarian.
Ken drove to our house and we went, with our old ambulance, to Harvey's at Tamworth after they had telephoned to say the ply had been delivered. We arrived, went into the joinery workshop and there before us was a great pile of 8x4 ply boards. “I think this is the wrong pile. I only want to fit out a 70 foot narrowboat not the Titanic.” Unfortunately it was my pile and we had to load it into the bus. Half an hour later it was completed and after I had bought several other items from the chandlery and talked to the owner (looking for a discount on further purchases. What a surprise) attempted to make a quick getaway towards Hanbury Wharf. No joy. It wouldn't start. Begged for a jump start from Harveys and after a while (we couldn't find the battery on Harveys company van) we were haring towards the boat.
It may not have escaped your notice but it has been raining somewhat over the previous couple of days. The tow path had become a quagmire and made the unloading task no easier. The boatyard had also moved my boat down the canal a hundred meters or so. This was no good for the task in hand and I had to ask for it to moved closed to the vehicle. They said I could move it myself as I had the key. After picking myself up I told them that it would probably not be a good idea if they wanted to keep their brokerage fleet intact. No problem. They sent a grizzly sort across and he started the engine and moved the boat the hundred metres or so. Hey, I could have done that. Yes, but not yet.
Ken and I then unloaded the boards and tried to fit them through all the orifices before realising that the only one available to us was the one at the back. After much tooing and frooing we finally managed to get the first one in. “It'll be easier from here.” I chirped, optimistically. It wasn't. I was suffering but at 91 Ken was really suffering. I thought we'd be finished and I could treat Ken to a slap up over at the pub but by the time we'd finished the pub was closed, the staff had gone home, it was nearly dark and the pub was just about to open for the evening session. Although Ken produced a feast wrapped in kitchen foil and prepared by Pearl for our day out in the country. To cap it all, the beast wouldn't start again. Fortunately I had thought ahead and brought a new battery with me. This time it wasn't under three tons of timber. Fitted and fired up we were home again within the hour except that Ken had to drive for another hour to get to his home. Apparently he crawled in at seven after having left the house eleven and a half hours earlier. I couldn't have done it without him. Poor man. He's a hundred and four you know.
It can only get easier from here. Can't it?