Sunday, October 22, 2006

Turning Circles.

I am Not at the boat Yet Again, and I’m trying not to think I’m going to explode. I suppose maybe just life is getting in the way but I get disgruntled enough that progress is too slow even without these weekends off. Like I’m neglecting care of my soul.

So what’s to report whilst without the big steel thing that stole my heart? Well, we scored this fancy looking (and extremely weighty) cast iron spiral staircase. Becky reckons it may have been originally used in a theatre as the treads are significantly narrower and risers steeper than most domestic examples. Regardless, it was cast in Borough, SE1, is beautiful, and is in pretty good nick; also didn’t cost us a bean. That’s possibly the best bit of it really.
It’s destined for access between the wheelhouse cabin and forward accommodation below, where it will probably take up far too much room and be another thing to bang my head on but I don’t care because I’ve always wanted to live somewhere that has a spiral staircase. Isn’t it great being like this? No floors yet, bits of the hull still missing at stern, a hundred more practical things to worry about, and here I am dreaming about twisted stairs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Been Gone Too Long.

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love My Fingers.

It has been a long time. I left Wendy Ann at the beginning of September and only now am I back. The frustration generated by time away with nothing happening has risen like the kraken come to drag me to the depths.
It was all fair enough in the first couple of weekends, a family wedding, other work commitments and frankly just so exhausted that the break began welcome. I was happy that I’d seen a stage of work to a fair degree, and grudgingly ready to rest. Soon though the voice of fear started up it's insistent muttering. I’ve to confess that on a personal level things have really sunk for me in recent weeks, but that’s a different and definitely private story.
To make an overdue return to the boat alone after a journey through a kind of hell, with one of those blinding fragile hangovers and a head full of bad things after more than a month away is sincerely not to be recommended.
Thick black dust on everything, all murky filth inside the tent. The accommodation stale smelling and fusty, the zipped vents in the shroud blown in by the recent strong winds so rain water streaked across two huge areas of deck and superstructure bringing the inevitable ginger rust to my lovely cleaned steel. Bother.
And just the enormity of the thing. I found myself calling up Robin (in vain) to try and deal with the immense loneliness.
After the constant focus of the enormous paint and rust removal effort- nine flippin’ months of it- I’m finding it hard to see where to pick up again, I’ve come up with a tentative little planette, but the combination of hangover, bad belly and crappy leaden feeling in my heart prevents me from leaping in, what do I do?
Go for a great big enormous fry up. With extra lard. And a large amount of rather good coffee. Followed by an ocean of cold spring water. Yep- I decamped for vital sustenance and began to restick the bits of me that had come unglued. So consequently got bugger all done that day, the corners kept lifting up and anyway I’d ran out of glue.

I fractured my left forefinger last week, whacked it with a gert lump of 3x3 whilst punching slate tiles edgeways into the ground on a recent landscape job. Today I accidentally nearly bisected the knuckle on my right forefinger with an errant angle grinder. I really ought to be concentrating a bit more. Never mind opposable thumbs and the things man can do with them (space exploration, invent screwdrivers, global holocaust etc), it’s amazing how little a human being can do with reversible forefingers. Useless. I didn’t even feel it properly when it happened, merely observing in a dull kind of way ‘oh look I’ve ruined Another pair of gloves’, however when I got said gloves off I was greeted by some sort of macabre anatomical illustration, lots of blood and a kind of hard pink bit. Poking at it confirmed the likely probability that the hard bit might be bone. Since I couldn’t feel it I got the gaffer tape out, which seemed to contain the bleeding so I carried on working with different gloves and decided to avoid the angle grinder for the rest of the day. Tonight I proved all the old wives right by making it a trio of bad scenes, arriving at the supermarket on a supplies mission I managed to fall off my bike right in front of a queue of Thursday night students at a cash machine. Again seeming to have awareness issues I’d completely misjudged a ramp in the kerb so over the bars I went. All dolled up to the nines these student onlookers were, but I had nowhere to go but to an extraordinary general meeting with the tarmac of tesco’s car park. Bloody Ow.

Not the best of new starts. All I managed to really get done in the end was vacuum a ton of dust and paint chippings out of Wendy’s bilges (a surprisingly time consuming task, also very boring after the nth time), and take the belt sander to all the garbage that was adhering to the lovely teak of the wheelhouse interior. I quite like belt sanders. Maybe I’ll change that opinion when I maul a knee or something, but the wheelhouse looks quite good. Anyway you’ll just have to imagine it because I was in far too much of a state to be taking photographs.

Hey ho… tune in for more fun next week, I promise.