December 2018: The crew's work is never done.
Spare a thought for the Gondola crew this winter. Whilst I Sidney, the golden serpent figurehead rest my weary head, the crew toil in all weathers to give our beloved boat her annual makeover.
Since we are in the pantomime season, we could compare the crew to a posse of Cinderellas - they spend the day cleaning, scrubbing, painting and polishing without complaint. And when they've finished, they get up and do it all over again. Sometimes in these dark months, it seems that no one appreciates all the goings on behind the scenes, to enable Gondola to re-emerge serene and swan-like in the spring, ready to receive passengers once again to delight in a luxurious sailing experience.
So we'll give you a flavour of what's been happening. Fortunately, with so much hard graft to be done, our good friend Alex over at Old Hall Farm was able to come over from Bouth to lend a hand with the first big job. We required the use of a crane to haul out the engine room cabin so that we could get to the boiler. As you can see from the pictures below, this was no easy feat.
Once the engine room cabin was safely out the way, we could get access to the boiler which was then hauled out and safely loaded on to Alex's sentinel steam wagon.
We're sure that the sight of Gondola's boiler being carried away was a rather rare sight for our Lake District lanes and our thanks go to Alex and the team from Lawsons of Cockermouth for their expertise and support. The boiler is now safely in Alex's workshop at Bouth being repaired and made fit for seasons to come.
Meanwhile back at Pier Cottage, we have the remains of our beautiful boat to carefully revive back to her best before she's back out on the water in March.
Our other big task for this month is to find another crew member - so please get in touch or search the National Trust jobs website if you are interested. The deadline is 30 December.
In the meantime, on behalf of all the crew, we hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and a 'steamingly' happy new year.