Just when I seemed to be running out of leads into the history of Eileen these wonderful photos, taken just five years ago, dropped into my in-box. The pictures were taken in February 2008 by Keith Myatt, Manager of the Anglo Welsh boat yard at Great Haywood.
They record a time when the last owner – Lesa Vallantine – was thinking of selling the boat.
Keith tells me that she had two boats at this time, and one had to go, so they were both put up for sale. Luckily for us her other boat sold first.
The photos show Eileen before her top was put on when she was working as a lavender boat in the Great Haywood area. For those not in the know lavender boat is one of the kinder euphemisms for boats undertaking the not-so-glamorous but pretty essential job of emptying out effluent holding tanks. There’s the pump on the cloths covering the hold.
What strike me is what a well-proportioned working motor she was. Remembering that this was her second re-incarnation as a working motor, her first conversion being done by Mick & Judy Vedmore in the early 1970’s and the second, after she was reduced to a burned out hull, in 1990 by Warwickshire Fly for Jim MacDonald.
Odd details strike me, the doors in this photo for example, now that the boat has the steel hold conversion these doors are indoors, I’d wondered how the paintwork at the top of the doors had got so worn, and this photo provides the simple answer, before conversion they were exterior doors!
It’s fascinating to see her in working trim, the mop and bucket, the elum with ropework… and fascinating to think that she was earning her own living as a working boat as little as five years ago.
A glimpse into the back cabin… the copper hot water box can just be made on the top of the stove…
This is a quote from Keith, “She then decided to put the money into Eileen so the long cabin was probably started mid to end of 2008. The two guys who did it “Sully and Grim” (honest!) did a great job. Sully was a perfectionist and spent alot of time getting the cabin right. Believe it or not most of it was done on the towpath, the flat bar was drilled for the rivets (coach bolts) in our workshop, other than that it was two blokes, a generator, a welder and a grinder, quite an achievement I thought…” (Photo, April 2010, by Keith Myatt)