Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vibration White Finger.

I can’t believe I’m about to write this. It’s the last night of the needle hire and the forward accommodation is done. The engine room is done. The stuff on deck is done enough. The bosun’s store and trim are not done. I’ve done it, even though it’s September.
My hands and arms really hurt. The muscles in my forearms and back are singing to me and I may has well have whacked my palms, elbows and brain repeatedly with a hammer. But I did it.
Amazingly my grand attack plan for needlegunning has so far come to fruition and everything’s on target (whatever that is), phase one complete, the upshot of which is that after a massive dust off those areas can be painted. I am overjoyed in a mangled kind of way.

The weekend was not without it’s diversions, firstly my working capacity was considerably boosted by the graceful presence of our student couple, Supersam and Marianne, both of whom are into structural engineering and seemed happy to chuck power tools around on deck all day- in fact Sam’s always been weirdly into the boat. They both did some great work on the bollards and forward superstructure, and Sam turned our cranky old anchor winch into a clean lined working item again. Nice one!
Cleverly I’d decided against purchasing more pink diesel, figuring we’d have enough- but obviously we ended up eventually running the compressor right down to the last puddle of fuel. Before that; this morning the damn thing wouldn’t start. Properly would not start, and umpteen tries it took to get the sodding engine to run for longer than twenty seconds. I got a bit sweated with anxiety for a little while. So the equipment that I’m returning might be a wee bit ill, oh dear.

By the end of today I had royally had enough of needle guns. By lunchtime I found myself in full attack thinking no more than ‘aaarghh goddd make it stopp’. They say that the human mind has no memory of pain and they’re wrong. I shan’t forget feeling so sick to the teeth of physical torment for a long long while.
Right. Me for a long hot bath and a lie down in a darkened room.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Molemann, the Slovakian, and our Lover.

Bank holiday weekend was brilliant if heavy hard work. The plan was to bust all the last areas marked for needlegun attention in this phase. So all details inside both the forward accommodation and engine room, and all the bulwarks and superstructure, bollards, winch etc outside. This leaves the bosun’s store, trim tank and deck itself for another hire in a few months.
Bad news- we didn’t quite make it. I’m going back there tonight to try and finish everything off before returning the hired guns and compressor.
Good news- Molemann, Lover Nick and the inimitable Jan all came to help out and make this goal possible. So we had a ball, got loads done and Wendy Ann rang to the sound of a variety of noisy instruments for three days, then everyone fell asleep on the way home. I think she might’ve worn them out.
Since then the only communication I’ve received from the Mole has been text messages containing a lot of very rude words.
Molemann, aka mr la-di-da, Matt Gunning-Legg is a dear old friend from the days of cycling the city, and gained his name after a particularly heavy party at my old house. He’d been mixing up some Very Strong Drink (mint leaves, palm sugar, ice, RUM) and lost the power of speech by about 3am. Something about his grey hair, drink crazed expression and wild gesticulations of his shovelly hands made the name seem obvious, somehow, I think it was a good party anyway.
I’ve harboured a secret wish to get him on board for ages now, but figured that it’d not be his style, in fact he’s often joked that the only help he’ll provide will be polishing brass (ie. when she’s finished.) Luckily he was wrong and I managed to persuade him to try out the heavy industry instead. He was pretty good at it, particularly the needles, but the best thing was definitely his wry humour. He’s a fucking funny guy, and an absolute joy to have on board. Even when completely knackered, he’s generally able to come up with something that has us rolling about, this almost makes him a good foil to…
Lover Nick, I can’t even remember why he’s the lover, except at the time we all knew a lot of different Nick’s, most of whom gained prefixes to help us differentiate them. Lover is professionally dour, which is sometimes just as entertaining. We used to organise fancy dress bike races together, which was a gas. He’s been on about making a return trip to Wendy (see grinder rewinder) and luckily this one was it, having these two together is just like the old days, except instead of bikes and bitching about controllers it’s bloody great big ship and bitching about what fools they must be to follow me around.
Jan was his usual tough leathery self and extremely hardworking, he’s still making it happen. Losing his footing and falling into the forward bilges must’ve hurt though (I’ve done it a couple of times myself), so we strapped his shoulder up for the last day ‘cos Jan has an old injury which means he dislocates his shoulder really easily, even though Jan declares with the usual stoicism ‘no really- I’m fine’. You could probably chop him in half and that’d be his response, what is it with eastern Europeans?

But I just worry, it’s one thing for me to go bashing the hell out of myself every weekend, but these guys are my friends, they really do not need to do this. The boat is my own torturous obsession, apart from B there’s no-one else who’s obliged to join in. And I know it takes me most of the week to recover, that I’m permanently tired, I just feel that it’s not really fair that my mates are too. I hate the thought of accidentally taking my valuable relationships with any or all of these guys for granted. So I’m extremely grateful, full of thanks, and humbled beyond words by what they’re all prepared to go through for the sake of friendship. Boys, I take my hat off to you. Again.