Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Odd Jobs

The first job after breakfast was varnishing the vane and paddle of ‘Bumper’s’ self-steering system. It was a cold damp start with an overcast sky – not at all promising – but with several outstanding jobs to be done, today was as good as any.

All things revolved around taking my wife to the hospital in the afternoon for her two and a quarter hours therapy and collecting her afterwards. Although the weather forecast was for a general improvement, antifouling the boat was out of the question; therefore it was best to concentrate on things that could be done at home. That meant I had to visit Homebase for a barbecue kit and some new garden hosepipe, as well as a couple dozen clothes pegs for the boat.

I thought I would have ample time to assemble the kit while my wife was having her therapy, but unfortunately, an essential part of the kit was missing. That necessitated another journey to and from Homebase. When I arrived back home there was just sufficient time for me to drive to the hospital to collect my wife.

After returning home again I set to work at putting the barbecue kit together – talk about Chinese puzzle – understanding the assembly instructions was almost impossible. To start with, the description of some parts did not fit the diagram; indeed, the diagram was wrong in places; so, trying to match the written instructions with the diagram was a test more than equal to the 11-plus examination!

Anyway, just as I got stuck into making it look like a barbecue, I was called for the evening meal. It took a further half-an-hour or so to finish assembling the barbecue.

I forgot to mention that fixing the garden hosepipe was not easy, because the outside tap fitting was too large, which meant I had to cut a length of spare aluminium pipe for joining the hosepipe to a wider gauge rubber pipe which fitted the tap. Needless to say, it leaked, but by tightening the jubilee clips with all my strength the seepage was stopped.

Then it was time to sort out my toolbox in readiness for the cruise. That took a good hour while I selected the least number of tools able to do the maximum number of tasks. As it was, after a frugal selection, the whole lot felt like a ton of bricks! Every bit of weight on the boat has to be pushed through the water, either by wind power, or by the engine, so it pays to restrict weight carried aboard.

Although it was almost dark, I needed to load the car in preparation for the antifouling tomorrow. In addition to the paint I also put the diesel fuel and one or two other things in the boot.

The more that can be stowed aboard while the boat is ashore, the better, because getting gear and provisions onboard when she is at her mooring is a real chore. My Seahopper folding dinghy is not equipped with an outboard engine, which means I have to row several hundred yards from the jetty to the boat, and that’s after carrying everything up and over the sea wall before carting it along the jetty.

Tomorrow, it will be a bit more early morning varnishing before motoring to Burnham to do the antifouling.

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