Monday, February 28, 2005

Gnashers off again

This must be the most travelled kid I have ever known he`s of on holiday to the Canaries today! How times change?

I hadnt gone continental until I was seventeen years old, when I hitch hiked around the continent on £15 I fell in love, and met a man who owned a block of flats had the croix de guerre and was the Inspecture of the poste de secours of the croix rouge de france (whatever that means )a Messeur limouzy or Le mouzy, she was his secretary, her name was Anne Marie and boy she was beautiful. I slept under hedges and on one occasion was awakened from my sleep (in a walled cemetry, the most safe place for a lone traveller to sleep in, during the Algerian crisis) whith a loud crackling and dawn coming early 02.00????, it turned out to be a raging fire all around the cemetry.

I managed to get packed up and out down the single track to the gates, having climbed back over the wall, just as the pompiers, gendarmes and army arrived. I dissapeared into the night having thought that my camp fire might have strayed. but no the local vinyard owners were burning their own crops because of France`s importation of cheap wine from Algeria.

I treckked alone as I was a fairly solitary character in those days and enjoyed the country and its people. I passed a couple of kids selling peches and purchased a carrier bag full of them for one franc and spent the day walking and eating peches. at about 18.00 I secured a lift from a french woman who was keen to practice her french and after about two hours she asked me if I wouldnt mind stopping and sharing her Dinner. I gratefully accepted and we stopped by a stream and ate bread and chese drank red wine and (you guessed it) more bloody peches. The next day I was "severly indisposed", the richness of the gorgonzola type chese and the peches brought about, what can best be described as a "festering stomach" I "parped"....and squelched... all day and walking with great caution taking in the sights of the Hostel de dieu never far from "lifes conveniences".

My travelling life changed when I got a lift from a couple of french paratroopers in a deux cheveau, on leave and heading south for the sun, we stopped at every routier on the way and drank wine until late into the evening when we arrived at Toulon. I thanked them for their lift (in very bad Franglais) but they insisted I accompany them on a tour of the bars of Toulon which I did. What I didnt know at the time was that the paras are known to be hell raisers and tough and the french fleet lived in Toulon. we entered the first bar and as we got seated down to our first drink the door opened and an unceasing stream of very noisy and drunken Matelots entered, it looked like it was their favourite watering hole as they were very friendly with the people behind the bar. The two Paras were no more than about five feet five in height but in stature they were well developed, extremely fit and proud of their regiment, it became apparent that they had no time for the slovenly Matelots. after a time I went up to the bar to get a round of drinks only to be jostledof this happening the Paras were amongst them and bodies were going everywhere. as I straightend up from picking up my change a fist passed my head and struch a sailor who kneeled at my feet and fell over sideways. His friend standing behind him hit me in the face I recovered my posture and with hand to my now bleeding nose I decided it was time to go I could hear sirens and I guessed that France wasnt a good place to be banged up in. I collected my rucksac and made towards the door. The mele was still going on and the paras seemed to be the only ones standing I waved goodbye as they passed me at speed in the doorway and dodged a couple of gendarmes about to enter the bar. I was grabbed (I couldnt run with the heavy rucksac and I was roughly taken back into the bar. I had a ripped shirt a bruised face and a bloody nose, but when I looked at the demolition job that had been done I was flabergasted. Nineteen Matelots had been involved, nor more than five were standing and the rest were being tended to by bar staff in various states of "damage" The shorter of the two gendarmes spoke to the nearest Matelot who immediately pointed at me and I was, unceremoniously, taken back to their car (which had been abandoned with the doors still open and lights and siren still running) forced to sit in the back, with handcuffs firmly attached, and locked in.

The abulances arrived and the french version of the shore patrol arrived. I felt that they wanted to take me back to their ship but the Gendarmes wouldn`t let them (thank god). I spent the night( rest of the morning) in the cells at the local Nick and was turned out at six oclock just after sunrise and continued my journey, during that day I developed a beautiful black eye which I carried like a badge for nearly a month after. I decided to buy some food for breakfast and walked to the shopping area. The bread smelled good and I indulged along with more chese, life was good!

As I left the shop the same 2 CV citreon with the paras hanging out of the windows screeched to a halt in front of me. they called out "hey english get it we are going to Port Grimaud youll like that!!!" (or something similar). I took exactly a second to decide where my fortune lay and it wasn`t more drinking with them. they inquired as to how I had got on with the gendarmes and were really concerned, we exchanged stories of our experiences of the evening before,I thanked them profusely and waved goodbye. I was seventeen years old in the middle of a foreigh country was sporting a black eye and had just got out of clink..........Believe it or believe it not? as the trip went on it got worse, ending in my being taken to london from the Dover ferry with an official office escort!

I do hope that Gnasher doesn`t take after his Grumps... they say that they mature earlier these days,dont they????? now Im worried really :o))

Friday, February 25, 2005

There was this old boat , see! and I just had to give her some TLC!!!

I am afraid I have got the photos in the wrong order so they and the captions should be read in the reverse order. I found this old boat and spent a great summer doing her up! she was a twin screw diesel yacht made of steel, by De Groot. at fourty feet she was a good coastal cruiser had a sumptious aft cabin with on suite shower and heads, with berths for another three people.

I bought her, having just sold my last sail boat because of my need to get back ashore when I was due to. It is well known that sail boats go where the wind takes them, and a shattered boss arriving late after time off was not something I had a wish to be.

I shot blasted and repainted the hull and superstructure, stripped the old decks and layed new teak ones. I re built the engines and refurbished completely the interior.

I cruised her on the south coast for a year or so, and she behaved well, she was economical on fuel and a joy to behold, but boy did she roll!!!!!!! she was OK for me, having been a raggie, I was used to my gunnel being in the water :o))

All of a sudden a man offered me silly money for her and took her away to the south of france for a couple of years. I was sad, I felt like a spurned lover that had his partner taken away by a friend.... But counting the money soon cured that!

and there she is in all her glory Posted by Hello

and the doors to varnish! Posted by Hello

No really she did, just the cauking left to do? Posted by Hello

but soon she started to take shape Yeah Right! Posted by Hello

She was very unloved Posted by Hello

I found this old boat and..... Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Early rules for life?

Dont you just love him?????? (well to have his money anyway!)

Bill Gates is attributed to have made the following observations to students in a speech given at a High School (MT.WHITNEY HIGH SCHOOL in Visalia, CA) (2003)about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good,
politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will
expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You
won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents
had a different word for burger flipping - they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine
about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off
and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have
to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

I for one would like to endorse these rule as I am also a firm believer that the word "Job" was derived from "Just over broke" the situation we all (with a few exceptions) find ourselves in throughout life, it is the means by which most governments run countries. Create your own oportunities ( easy to say !)

Barber shop blues (far from it!)

My wife used to cut our childrens hair when they were young. My daughter always had a "pudding basin" hair cut with what could only be be called,irregular Lines. my son`s was never much better just a little more "chopped". They were the product of a frugal lifestyle which even today, after retirement, we are subjected to, yet again (too much month left at the end of the pension sum, syndrome!!).

No! she doesn`t still cut their hair but a week ago, whilst I was booking myself into my usual flirtatious Unisex hairdressers, for my £16.50 "tony curtis" (if you believe that you`d believe anything! true that I may ask them for that style! to which they usually reply "I am a hairdresser not a Fcuking magician" ) she suddenly decided that she would take the money and do it herself. I froze!!!!! I had visions of my sons hair after a prune and nearly wept. I quietly replace the reciever with a "Ill let you know when I`m free" ( never free but always reasonable :o))) and quietly got on with something else, hoping that she would forget and that I could then re book at some later date.

That was a week ago, today she announced "look what I bought" and produced a gentlemens hardressing set, complete with cape, scissors,brush,clippers and "lenght guides" I went weak at the knees, I started to tremble and again my sons hair flashed before my eyes. "Oh! I said", startled! and with a pleading look I said that she neednt have bothered as my appointment was for this afternoon (I lied). Dont worry she said breezly,I will do it and save us all that money! I slumped into a kitchen chair and had the cape wrapped around me and away she went. I have little enough hair as it is and when I saw what was falling to the floor I nervously commented that it seemed that it was a lot, by this time she had run the clippers up one side of my head, and there was no going back. "Shit!" was the reply I have put the wrong depth guide on, Oh no! I am using the No 1 guide , sorry! I should have used the number 3, What are we going to do now?" "always we when there is a problem!" I nervously joked as I didn`t want to upset her with the clippers fired up, did I?, Panic!!! or what!!.

I suggested that I should start a trend with the reverse to a Mohecan haicut and we started to laugh (dont ask me why, probably nerves?) she tried to fudge the mistake with a dextrous change of depth guides but eventually we had to face up to it! it was going to have to be a number one and like it!!

I looked on the floor and there was enough hair to make a rabbit. Bearing in mind that I am bald anyway, and coupled with the many scars that I have obtained to my head from a mis spent youth, middle years and in fact, life I guess, I had more than my fair share of chunks missing as well! She delved into the shiny aluminium box that came with the kit and produced a soft brush with which she dusted all the remaining hair off the cape and wisked the cape off with the flourish of a Bull fighter and asked "anything for the week end sir. Well!..... I collapsed, she laughed uncontrollably and both of us had tears running down our faces.

I have to say I do look like a scalped rabbit, caught in the headlight of a car, that can best be described as having been run over previously (accounting for the chunks missing) I had suffered the bad jokes that only a Barber could tell and the numerous questions like where did you go on your holiday? did you enjoy it? ( to which my reply was "You were with me you silly cow")her condom question was the "last straw" we are still laughing from the comment "anything for the weekend sir"). I will give her another chance! not only have I not laughed so much for a while (to my cost) I really enjoyed the inter reaction. Not to mention that the kit cost as much as my hair cut would have done, so we are on a winner from now on! I have worked it out that for every hair cut that she does, including tips :o)) I can travell 20 miles in my boat so ten haircuts a year I can go to france twice and bring back cheap Fags and wine ( God only knows why we would want to do that as we dont smoke or drink?).

Hold it right there!!!!!! it would appear that I am getting new curtains for the lounge and, I am not tipping her enough!!! Bol*o*ks!!!!! Ah well!!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Two oclock in the morning and I am Bored!!!!!!

Funny how some days its more difficult to sleep than others. It all started with a blue screen crash again! this was at about 22.00 yesterday. I had been working for the last day or two taking a watermaker out of a boat and had got home in the mid afternoon absolutely knackered and wanting a bath.

At 15.30 Elliot (not Gnasher anymore as he has stopped biting people) and his Mum, Emma, arrived she is heavily H.P. and was needing some respite from a "canine" toothing son and his misery! (I finally have a use in life?) he had been really grumpy all day so far and Emma thought, who shall I get to cheer him up and we sprang to mind. Whilst Emma and Carol chatted and drank tea, I took him off to explore the Garden through the comfort of double glazed patio doors of course, as there was about an inch /25mm of snow in evidence at the time.

I promised him that the grass was an area reserved for he and I to play football (when he can walk that is!) I pointed out the few "Pretty flowers" ( funny how things become "pretty" "little" "lovely" when you are talking Kids speak)the "lovely" birdies and the "little" foxes tracks in the snow. I showed him around the kitchen which I explained "Grumps" (thats me) had badly fitted, and one day will finish it for Nana!

He listened intently and gave the occasional smile in between holding his face where his teeth hurt him (poor little soldier). He now stands semi unaided ( well! if he can hold on to something with one hand, that is) and tries to walk but when you hold his hands he will immediately sit down.... so down I get onto all fours and I raced him up and down the hall a couple of times. I am now really ready for bed and its only 17.00 Phew pufff pufffffff!!!!!

I don`t know how we all managed with bringing up children, but we did, now just a short visit nearly kills me( but I love it!). Well Elliot and his mum left at 17.00 after a desperate panic to find Mr Bunny ( we, Elliot and I, had hidden him in a cupboard to create a bit of amusement!!! although Elliot informs me that he really wouldn`t care if he lost Mr bunny and that it was his Mum that was the worried one not him, it was only his teeth that made him grizzle as he left! Yeah Right!!!!!) we were going to send a ransom note to his dad as a joke but Elliot is a little slow on the writing as yet and it would be recognised immediately!!!

We had dinner at 19.00 and settled down to watch TV, when a friend who has a boat in the Marina along the way from me and his new lady arrived (both he and her previous partner are friends of mine..... difficult or what?)after they left I sat at the computer and read blogs and generally chilled out. then Bang a Bloody, Blue screen crash!!!!!!!!!!! so I have been until now sorting it out. (I wish I could sort it permanently)

I should be finished taking the water maker out tomorrow and only have the electrics to remove so it won`t take long. The snow came yesterday and the forcast is for better weather at the week end. Just when my boat is coming out of the water for antifouling (thursday) ain`t it fun? I will be working on the boat on Saturday and maybe Sunday, earthing the forward through hull skin fittings as the manufacturers never did it (bearing in mind that the vessel was built in 1978 Poor show "Princess")

Who says retirement is boring? I dont know how I will have enough time to do all the things I want to do! I`ll tell you one thing.... old age is not for the faint hearted thats for sure! Well its now 04.44 and I am feeling better having rambled on and I shall finally retire to bed! will I sleep though?????? Snooooooooooooooororrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Today, I purchased an insignificant yelloy band!!!!!!A while ago my son Paul was diagnosed at the age of 30 with Testicular Cancer. When I was first told of his condition I fell apart, I sobbed, I reproached myself (why wasn,t it me?)my wife was very much stronger although inwardly she was as deeply concerned.

I immediately got on to the net and checked out the disease and familiarised myself whith it to the best of my non technical ability. During this period I came across a man called Lance Armstrong whom I had never heard of previously. It turned out that he had suffered with the same Cancer (and more he had a brain tumour too) and he was a winner of the Tour de France cycle race, which I had little knowledge or interest in at tht time.

He had "over come" his Big "C" and had written a book about his fight so I contacted the publishers for some way that I could ask him to contact my son to give him some encouragement, during this terrible time. I really didnt, at that time understand that he was actually a "superstar" in his own field and that he had also set up the Lance Armstrong foundation, to add to his work load as well as still being a competitor in the world of cycling ( and indeed has won another two Tour de France races since with a third in the frame).

The publisher explained that I might contact the foundation direct and make the request and thanked me for the call. I really didn`t want to further inconvenience any efforts that he (LAF) was making in the cause etc so I made no further inroads to them.

Within the next couple of days I recieved a package (bearing in mind that publishers print books for money) and recieved a copy of Lance Armstrongs book, with a letter wishing my son the very best in his fight. You can imagine how I felt at the time! I gave my son the book having read it myself in one go, and wrote to the publisher with my heartfelt thanks.

Today I managed to buy a couple of "liveSTRONG" bands, these simple yellow plastic bands denote one of the many ways the Lance Armstrongs Foundation has of raising the awareness of Testicular Cancer, at the same time raising some cash. They are rare in my neck of the woods and I shall wear it with Pride, knowing that I have recognised the need to fight along side those who are stricken with this terrible disease.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Boat Fix

I went down to the boat yesterday and got my "Boat Fix". She was sitting there on her mooring as pretty as she ever was (beauty as always,is in the eye of the beholder) with no problems at all, even the usually chaffed (a little ) mooring lines were perfect. I had,last year, spliced them into eyes, on the ends and fixed them semi permanently to the dock. I tried using only one forward(instead of two, one forward and one aft) spring which worked well. I also incooperated four rubber tensioners in the lines which held her semi tight to the pontoon.

The "Float charger" has now brought the batteries up to their correct level and both the wngines started first time, running a sweet as a nutfor an hour or so. I checked out the engine room and there was no water in the bilges at all, so on the whole a good winter, even though there had been some very bad storms.

I visited the engineering works and purchased some spares ready for my routine maintenence next week, so I am now ready to do that from Tuesday on.

I popped into see the elderly couple on the beautiful 47 foot sailing boat moored next to me. only to find him sitting alone reading. His wife had been taken into hospital for a "respite" (just after Christmas) both for her and him as he is the long term carer, even though he has severe spondulitis and can`t bend and, at over six feet it is very difficult for him to move around the boat. Whilst at over six foot headroom the boat is lower than his height in quite a few places.

We chatted for a couple of hours and I took him up to the local Asda (Wall mart) for his shopping. While there he purchased a Valentines card for his wife saying "I haven`t done this for about twenty years, living so close to each other, as we do,
on the boat it hasn`t seemed necessary, she will be surprised!" I had to walk around to another isle on some pretext as I started to "fill up", I bit my tongue to inflict enough pain so as not to do so, but only just managed it, (from the surprised look of a lady helping herself to slug killer! thats very apt?) in fact I am doing it again, just writing about it. To think of them in their "hey day" sailing around the world in that beautiful yacht, reduced now to not being able to look after themselves properly, hurts me bad. We all take things for granted, dont we? such a simple act like many that we/I could do,will mean so much (yeah! of course I buy my wife a valentines card each year! but I dont sign it). I really must finish that kitchem :0))

I said my goodbyes to him wishing them all the best, he hopes that she will be home on monday "all being well" I Switched off my engines and left for home. I thought of his simple act all the way back and vowed to make myself a better person! I guess, as with my diet, I will fail! :o(((

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Born again Bikers

The guys and Gals you see in the photograph below are the members of my motorcycle club pictured here outside a hotel in Ireland. We went to watch the Ulster (motor cycle) Gran Prix. the troubles were still ongoing at the time of this photo and I have to say that all the people that we met during our visit, be they Protestant, Catholic, North or South were very kind to us and we were treated with the utmost courtesy. What a beautiful country Ireland is.

Motorcycling is a great leveler, in fact the people in this picture come from very diverse backgrounds and occupations, from A senior Police, executive, officer, a surgeon, engineer, theme park executive, a housewife,a multi millionaire business executive, an unemployed dosser (no not me!)a Transport company owner. I am stage right in the (rather kamp) black leather outfit more appropriate for the Blue oyster bar ( circa "Police academy")

Yes you are right! I have just found a stash of old photos, so here they are, Sorry

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Which way to the Blue oyster Bar?? Posted by Hello

My families favourite boat.

I had Wiskey Mac (the family favourite) for a number of years (82-86 ish)and sailed her all over the south coast of England and the coast of France. She was a very sea-kindly boat and performed well in rough weather. The dingy you see being towing behind her was needed to get ourselves and all the equipment from the shore to my swinging mooring, at that time, and was usually left on that mooring, but on long holidays it was often dragged along.

Sailing well! comes to something when your tender is as big as your boat! Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Swinging new York, Gnasher Style Posted by Hello

Gnasher meets his match in New York Posted by Hello

Friday, February 04, 2005

Gnashers other two generations (he`s in the middle):o)) Posted by Hello

A very welcome visitor!

Amy! pictured here with my daughter Sam in my garden,( yea! yea! yea! the one in clothes is my daughter!!! te, he!) This photo was taken long before the D.W.A. act became law. She is now in residence with a group of Five Orang-utangs in a very large enclosure and part of an officially regulated breeding program. these animals are endangered and it is important to preserve a pure strain for re-introduction to the wild (if its ever possible) after man has Fcuked up their existing environment and eaten them all? Grumpy head on!!!!

Two of the younger members of my family Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Gnasher hits New York! Have the Yanks bitten off more than they can chew?

Well it had to happen the Gnasher has hit the streets of new york. Have the Americans indeed, bitten off more than they can chew? allowing him a visa.

Is the skyline going to change yet again as he bites his way through the base of the statue of liberty. watch this space.....

Yes you guessed it Elliot ( my grandson) flew to the states today with his mum to visit his aunt. I really don`t envy her the job, it must be pretty intensive with all the gear that you have to take with you just to take a 17 month old around the corner to visit Grumps! let alone to cross oceans.

They are going for an extended week end and will be back early next week so I may get my Elliot fix soon enough. Give em hell E....:o)) Grumps!!!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Stephens Island

I left home for the Isle at 00.600 it was cold, dark and the start of a very poor day. I hit the motorway, and sat at eighty miles an hour for an hour until I saw the signs for the IOW ferry (Victor Spinetti`s words of Marlene Dietrich "rubies going up and diamonds coming down" was with me all the way, beauty in simple things). I turned into a multi story car park and left the car there for the day.

The ferry was over very quickly and I enjoyed the Roll and Coffee on the journey. It’s amazing how I just love to be on the sea, no matter how far or how rough! I have to say that a job skippering a ferry would drive me crazy. I would have to have a challenge at each end or I would go mad without any, so much so that I would have to create them (not a good thing) to preserve my sanity. I have docked a super sized hovercraft and parked a Super cat (Super Sea Sick as known by its staff) and would really get bored doing that for any length of time, so a small ferry ….eugh! Please don’t get me wrong! The skippers do a great job and I have nothing but admiration and respect for them and their great ability and staying power....but even though my ticket covers for me to do so it’s not for me!!!

My friend’s (Stephen) ….. Friend, (Pete) was truly waiting for me when I landed! But!!!!......... He was at the wrong ferry terminal ten minutes past the prearranged time and we rang each other to find out where we were. Stephen had told his friend that I would be at (of course) the wrong terminal. Good start to what was a great if not a hard working day.

We pulled into the Marina in Petes shogun 4x4, Steven spotted us arriving and as we came to a halt at his boat he jumped ten feet at least, off the ladder leading up to his boat and greeted me with a two handed handshake that nearly crippled me... "It’s really great to see you mate!" he boomed I do appreciate your coming down and giving me a hand like this, his ever bright eyes twinkling a deep blue. At just over five feet four tall and with a barrel chest more like that of a weight lifter, he hadn’t changed. At fifty four he was still a fit man, he prided himself still on being able to run an 11.5 second one hundred metres

In his early life after that of one started, like me, among the razor gangs and tenements of fifties South London. He had entered a specialist regiment as an alternative to receiving a long prison sentence, for a crime that he still denies committing, even though more than capable of doing so. I have no doubt that at some later time in his life he most certainly had carried out many similar acts but it would have been called by a different name then!... like defending his country…. fighting off the aggressor… Words like extreme valour would have been used.

In the rather dog eared document that he keeps as a mark in a pilot book on his Wheelhouse shelf of many, those very words are indeed used, that “in the face of adversity and with no consideration for his own safety he did”… etc etc etc. He had done more than his fair share of risky and good deeds in his life since his early impoverished upbringings.

Stephen had sailed most of his life (when he could)he starting by ferrying insurgents into countries that neither had efficient radar wanted or wanted them there. the early all wood boats were ideal as they never showed up on the radar.

Up until last year he had been the senior personal protector of a well known man of wealth, and had retired on a good pension to better enjoy his first love… the sea. He lived on his boat having never had any firm footing on land or any lasting relationship, due to the nature of his work. The trades he had learned and used to good effect in the regiment were of little use to him now and he, whilst a little “out of the water” as it were, managed to preserve a sense of optimism regarding his advancing years. His wit and well rounded sense of humour, grounded on very hard and dangerous times in places like the desert, glaciers, oceans and the jungles never left him.

We started with gusto into the washing and cleaning of the large steel motor cruiser Steven had chosen to make his home. It was now time for some maintenance to be done to his boat for the approaching season and we launched ourselves into it with the fervour of men possessed, with myself and Pete ragging him, over his “senior moment” regarding where I was to be met. Stephen made us a coffee and we commenced by washing down the whole of his large steel Motor yacht with a pressure washer which Pete took instant control of and like children we laughed and shouted as we were sprayed mercilessly as soon as the opportunity arose for Pete to be a little careless. By 19.00 and without another break we had antifouled her, having cleaned and polished the hull above waterline and topsides in total with a high quality marine polish. She was now looking like a new boat. Stephen was proudly exclaiming that we had done really well and that a “squadron of lads couldn`t have done better” I was absolutely Knackered.

We showered in the WC block which had no heating and was colder than doing so on the lawn out in front and I chucked my “ working clothes in the bin”( you guessed it Pete had been even more careless with the antifouling than the pressure washer) we dressed for our meal in town, on Steven, and off we went . I arrived back at the ferry at 21.00 and picked up my car 30 minutes later I drove home musing about my day watching the “rubies going up and diamonds coming down” I worryed about Stephen and his continued adventure into a strange new world, his living close to a holiday town, and that some day a yob or a group thereof, will expect to be able to get the better of this quiet ageing "old" man, only to find that his quiet demeanour isn`t actually fear but unregognised evidence of an in built capacitor charging up rapidly, ready to do the most frightening damage to the unweary, and he will certainly be in trouble again.

Inpromptu radio comedy

I was listening to a radio show on the way down to my boat and the presenter was introducing the travel and weather girl to bring her section into the show. in previous programmes, I have heard him say things to try to phase her or cause her to make a mistake but she always, ever the proffessional, got through the slot without a mistake (until today)

he said "well here we have, Julia lickwood (names changed) to introduce travel and weather, over to you Julia" "Thankyou John! I am on the banks of the river Sal today, in salcombe devon and I am looking along the beach and I can see waders, swans,peawits,and...." "how about a shag!!" interrups john!! Silence....."splutter! splutter! cough! cough!" says Julia "what on earth do you mean?" she says very indignantly.... silence.... oh! Oh! you mean a cormorant? she replies! "no I can`t see any of those" "What did you think I meant?" says John with a smile in his voice...... No more travel and weather for a while she ran out of time!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Guernsey storm trip boat

This was the boat that was sinking under me as I struggled to helm her to Guernsey in a force 10.

Prior to leaving Phillips yard, the company that undertook to sort the leaking skin fittinge and didnt. We were moored opposite the Royal navy college on the same pontoon and up river of us was moored a large plastic gin palace, that had just had two new propellors fitted and was leaving before us to go back to Bournemouth.

I assisted with the casting off and took controll of the mid cleat line which was the mid spring. as the tide was ebbing the GP was being pressed back on to us and to protect my asset I was going to hold on to that spring untill the GP had some forward movement against the quite fierce tide .

The engines were ticking over nicely and warmed up and the skipper a crusty ex navy type ordered "cast off" and the well disciplined crew let go of the bow and stern lines.

I waited as I said before, for him to move forward. he looked fiercly at me and shouted OK! ok, cast of the mid spring if I must ask you especially? and he plunged the throttles into gear and promptly surged astearn, against my still held spring, towards my bow approximately a foot away. The pontoon and my boat luckily also went with it, as he tried again and again to find out what was wrong.

I asked him to cut the engines which he did, and climbed aboard still hanging on to the spring, asking him to make fast for a few seconds and then as I shouted to him that I thought that the props had been installed the wrong way round. he looked back at me and started up the engines again and thrust them down into astern and he went ahead. The works was shut and the next time there was going to be anybody at the workshop was on the monday. I had diving gear on board but was bu**ered if I was going to change his props around for him after that unnecessary chirlish display and of I went to sink!!!! :o)) or was it sulk? no! I think I was right the first time? Sink!!!!!

My last sail boat a Moody 29 pictured on the river Dart Posted by Hello