Let’s start with the bad news. I just got turned down for a medical trial that would have made enough in two weeks for a summer of sailing, supposedly because my blood has too many antibodies to fight the cold they wanted to give me. I had a cold when they called and told me. Money is tight as ever and it’s looking doubtful that we’ll save enough for our intended plans. The days are taking their time in lengthening and the rain never ends and my blubber is bulging out of once-fitting clothes. I’m feeling and looking all of my years and surprised I can’t hear creaking when I walk. You did want to hear a self-indulgent moan today, right?
Maybe I’m just tired. On Gwen a major operation is underway, and as with all large endeavours it began with something small. Tiny, in fact. Spore sized. With a wet winter, a concrete home and a warm fire you’re going to get moisture, and despite efforts with a borrowed dehumidifier our bedroom just wasn’t well ventilated enough. Our clothes, particularly where tightly packed, were damp and whiffy. The slats beneath the bed, the walls behind the bedtime books, the corners of every wardrobe were spattered with smatterings of black. This week my allergic response, catalysed by Richard’s home decoration choices (aka his chemical warfare attack using mouldy old frock fabric and rugs), forced me in to action.
After jettisoning the offending items to the safety of the aft cabin we moved out of the bedroom and made a new crib in the saloon. On my day off on Thursday I piled all my clothes in to bags: “safe” (freshly washed), “Charity shop” (unused but not knackered), “wash” (stuff I wear regularly or adore) and “chuck” (everything too covered in paint, mast grease, mould, holes or clumsy coffee stains to salvage). On Friday I got Rich to do the same with his and we tackled linen, coats and shoes together. We disposed of the unwanted and sent all but the most immediately essential and perfectly fresh clothes that remained away for a very expensive clean. I had decided to set about spraying with bleach and asked Rich to make new vents in the wardrobes. But then, like the hungry caterpillar, the job grew.
Enter the leaky built-in ply and fibreglass forward water tank: the job Rich has been avoiding since last winter when we first realised it had been seeping water in to the forward bilge since we’ve had the bloody boat. It sat, empty and easily ignored, beneath our bed. But now that the bedroom is completely cleared and we’re not sleeping in there: Shit! The perfect time to do something about it. He pouted like a child as he made this realisation. He hacked it out this afternoon while I tiptoed my escape from the swearing. Tonight we’re sitting side by side, projecting mental images of its replacement on to the gap he’s created after the feast of monkfish and cous cous that was his reward.
Oh okay, winter isn’t all bad. The comfort food is great, and the warmth of the fire is helluva cosy. During his rest time after surgery Rich got all the upholstery for the saloon and aft cabin finished, including this amazing cushion which is now usually the comfy back to our sofa. We’re going to sew our route on to it, and it’s making a great stand-in mattress while we reside on the sofa/table-bed in the saloon until the bedroom’s back in action. He’s now moving on to work on the “his and hers” nesting dinghies that will be essential to our independence once we’re at sea. In his spare time, ever the enthusiast (particularly for content provided by Youtube), he has been researching the finer points of permaculture in tropical climates, listening to science programmes and, this week, watching interview after interview with Elon Musk, by whom we are subsequently both captivated.
And me, I’ve been press-ganged in to helping out the local Transition group and have designed them a shiny logo. I’m working at the council which is friendly and pleasantly unexciting and requires a nice morning ferry/stroll commute, and I intend to stay on and combine it with waitressing when the Canteen re-opens. I gave up my volunteering so I could do more creative stuff, and the daft opera I’m half way through writing had its first everso successful rehearsal this week. After my Christmas cards sold reasonably well I’ve got new ideas for greetings cards coming out of my ears and time in the evenings to sketch while we watch movies (and Elon Musk interviews). And after much procrastination I finally sat Richard down and made a big to-do list of what we need to do and buy to be ready to go away this summer. The water tank was on there, so the process has begun. Bring it on.
I leave you with a drawing I’ve just done for Valentine’s day, with love from the heart a bloody-minded moaner for whom life isn’t actually that bad. x