Imagine my surprise when the following week after our little chainsaw massacre I returned to the boat to find the carefully stacked woodpile had been spread all over the island that wendy is moored to. As I arrived after dark it took me a while to understand why this had happened. At first the local youth got my indiscriminate blame, but as I gathered the bits of wood back together I realised what had actually gone on. The old boat had been constructed using bronze roves- effectively great big rivets, and someone had removed them all from my woodpile. Non ferrous metal of this nature commands a high scrap value, and indeed Jan and I had already rescued a bucketload of these from the ashes of the big bonfire the previous week. I realised that someone had invested some time in gathering a bucketload or four for themselves as well.
Feeling a bit sheepish I first cursed my own idiocy and wondered how much cash I’d just let slip away. Then I reasoned that it would’ve taken whoever did it some time and effort to achieve. Philosophically deciding that if they had the time and were desperate enough then I’d done them a big favour, generating a source of cash that probably paid their rent or whatever for a month at least. I’m lucky to have a steady job at the moment, and whilst it doesn’t pay so great, at least I can cover my debts and obligations each month. I ruefully reminded myself that I hadn’t had the time to get at the roves the previous weekend, nor had I come down this time to salvage them, being too preoccupied with my preferred state of dreaming about the next bit of Wendy’s line-out project. So I wrote the lesson off to experience and prayed that whoever the culprit was wasn’t having a good laugh at my expense.
I finished rebuilding the woodstack and told Jan all about it. He seemed only too happy to arrange a return to Wendy for a second weekend of wreck processing.
I wanted to get something at least for our efforts, so we decided to chop all the wood into foot long logs and lay it in as winter firewood for the woodburner, an effort which would remove the pile from the island and make everything nice and tidy at the same time. As we were getting into this we discovered that in fact not all the metal had been spirited away, just the easiest, biggest prizes. We dealt with each piece by knocking out the remaining roves before putting it through the chopsaw. Again the gnarliest bits found their way onto the bonfire, but by lunchtime the tide was on the flood and we realised that we were about to see it extinguish our fire. I was less prepared for the eventuality of a floating fire though, as burning logs suddenly started to wander away in the tide I hurriedly squeezed into my wellies to rescue them before they floated off to start fires of their own god knows where, I had these visions of other boats being torched to the waterline and your truly making the local paper for all the wrong reasons. When the panic was over I discovered that I could engage in a messy sort of ‘panning for bronze’ effort while the ashes of the fire were still submerged. At the end of the day Jan and I reckoned that we had more than doubled our ‘penny jar’ scrap metal pile. So this week I weighed the whole lot in, learning that our haul added up to 52 kilos before our labours were rewarded with a small fistful of hard cash, a welcome boost to what is still a very tight shoestring budget that we have to work on Wendy Ann with. And all the remaining wood is now neatly stacked on Wendy’s foredeck in what looks a deceptively small bundle, but it should be easily enough to see me through the coming winter.