Monday, January 26, 2009

Reduced to Tears.

It’s all systems go in our lives at the moment, and has been just too much of a whirlwind to write anything down beyond lists of more things to do; which may either a) explain the lack of recent blogging or b) sound like an excuse, but if I could truly communicate what life’s like for us now you probably wouldn’t believe me. Since the New Year we’ve discovered B and I are about to be made redundant and we may well lose the flat that comes with the job so we’ll be homeless. I’ve been back to see B on Thursday and Friday nights only, the rest of my time and all my energies have been directed at frantically working on Wendy or zooming across to Portsmouth to work for BP Norse marine. Life doesn’t get any easier does it? I’ve compounded the demands on myself by adopting an attitude of ‘whatdya mean it’s getting late? Brew some bloody coffee’ which has seen me pushing work on the boat ‘til gone midnight on a regular basis. It’s going quite well, but I’m beginning to get a little tired now.

According to our diary this regime is set to continue for three more weeks. I’m extremely hesitant to declare this in public after what occurred last October, but fuck it, what the hell, it should be obvious anyway… Yes we intend to Launch Wendy Ann, Yes we intend to do it mid February. Yes we think we have somewhere to take her, and No we will NOT be cancelling at the last minute this time. There, said it. All this may have a lot to do with the possibility that if we leave it any longer we won’t be able to afford the craneage fees for the launch anymore.

The hard part of the roof is now installed over the cabin, and for good measure the wheelhouse too, the old one being too rubbish for me to accept having to look at all the time and therefore having succumbed to one of those late evening caffeine fuelled crow bar benders that I seem to have developed a penchant for. The crappy old pine 2x4 structure of it has been replaced by reclaimed teak beams and purlins which I made up and dovetailed into the original wheelhouse sides. And last weekend Mark and I got the new BS1088 ply roof into place. It’s made of two layers of 9mm ply, with all fixings through the first layer, the second layer has staggered joints and is laminated up with vast quantities of cascamite wood glue (we used rollers to apply it), and held in place with panel pins driven far enough to provide clamping yet not so far as to penetrate the lower layer. It’s currently weighted down with large ballasts while I wait for the glue to cure and the edges are left over long so we could screw around them to provide more clamping pressure.
But none of that was the hard part.
Our tent was in the way of all this work and access to the cabin roof was tight but just about ok. We did however have to butcher a couple of the tents rafters and jack them as far as possible against the shrinkwrap cover in order to work on the wheelhouse roof, even so our maximum working height at the centre of the bridge was just over two feet. I spent hours lying down up there screwing, gluing and pinning. Which sounds like fun. It wasn’t. At about four yesterday afternoon I was experiencing constant cramps in my left hip and right knee, I was battered from fighting to push the tent up each time I wanted to insert one of four hundred screws, I ached from the previous days efforts anyway and I was filthy from accidentally wiping the tent clean with my back. My sense of humour already lacking, I then fetched my middle finger a right clump full on with the hammer. After hurling a torrent of the worst kind of swearing at my hammer, my finger, my boat and everything else I could possibly think of the tears started rolling and I had a damn good cry. All the stress and exhaustion brought on by the last few weeks, and indeed the last three years came out at once. This took some time, and my friend Mark later said that he felt it better to leave me up there to get it over with than try to extract me or make the rather self defeating inquiry of ‘are you alright?’ which is just as well really. After drying my cheeks and rubbing my eyes I felt a whole lot better and finally managed to finish the job before crawling out from the tiny space I’d been stuck in for most of the day.

We have a roof. No, we have two. One big step closer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eight Days A Week.

Normal service will resume at some point soon.