Saturday, July 20, 2019

Wintertime is not all gloom.

It’s a particularly lovely morning. Wintertime, one of those clear, perfectly still days that we get at this time of year  and I’ve just ploughed my way through the mornings chores, and am sitting up in my bunk contemplating the day.
My friend Paul will be calling in this afternoon, he’s always good for a chat, I’ll be baking scones, something that I enjoy but which is not worth doing just for me alone so that’s a double win. Good company, some good food and a new lemongrass and ginger tea from the Charity Tea company down the road, that’s an afternoon to look forward to.

In the meantime, it will be full tide in an hour and a half,  by then the mist will have risen from the water, the sun will have a little warmth in it and there will be enough water in the channel  to carry me rowing up the river for an hours exercise.  Some people go to a gym. “Not me” says I.

I have a habit of watching the on line auction sites for interesting collections  of boat fittings, as a chronic, serial boatbuilder I’m rigging at least one new boat each year and the cost of fitting the boat out adds up very quickly. So buying the  odd second hand bits, sorting them into boxes by type and putting them on the shelf means that I have what is in effect my very own, if sometimes showing a bit of wear,  yacht chandlery.
I’ve scored a couple of those of late,  among the bits and pieces are the cheek blocks for Long Steps boom, two reefs worth,  one of the rigging screws that will be part of the tiller to rudder linkage,  some marine grade 12 volt wire that will run current from the solar panel on the after deck to the charge controller then the big battery, and a double fiddle block with becket and cleat that will likely be the bottom mainsheet block.
All that plus a heap of bits for the boat that will inevitably come next.

The project on the drawing board is progressing, slower than I’d like as we have family issues that means I’m having to stay at my mothers home a few days a week, sisters and I take turns so its not full time but it does take me away from  my interests and usual occupation.
While it feel odd sleeping in the bed that was mine 60 years ago, I’m not really complaining. I know that our efforts there are appreciated, while she is worried about taking up my time, I did tell her “Mum, you wiped my bum when I was very small, and while I don’t expect to have to do that for you, its no problem to be here to help”.

But the boatbuilding too has been slow, there has been so much else going on.  Spook needs maintenance, new boom and gaff jaws, the bilge pump has swallowed something that’s choked it, and the trailer! Don’t ask about that accursed thing, it was designed for a rather lighter power boat and its problematic in the extreme.  I’m going to have to throw some money at it as I’m not set up for heavy metalwork and welding.  
And that’s just one of the eight boats in my fleet.

There are a group of Little Black Shags working a channel just outside my window,  at this time of year they line up line abreast and move along the channel driving the small fish ahead of them.  They’re really organised, probably 10 or 12 of them working for their breakfast. Fascinating to watch, like the Royal Spoonbills they’re only here at this time of year, several species of sea and estuarine birds come and go on a seasonal basis and its wonderful to be able to see them here. Once I got to know them, I found its like having an avian calendar that marks the seasons, it will be springtime in a while, and the oystercatchers will be back to mark the longer days and warmer sun.  They’ll be very welcome.

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