Sunday 23rd March – Shoulders, Toe Rails and the Escape Committee’s Plans
Sunday 23rd March – Shoulders, Toe Rails and the Escape Committee’s Plans.
Jon’s right shoulder hasn’t been quite its old self recently (see references to long-drawn-out wielding of big hammer in previous blog) and since there is a substantial need for it to return to its previous form, a call to the local GP was indicated. Dr Paddy Grant, a member of a practice half a mile away from our flat and the one who referred Jon to the knee specialist for that operation, was brilliant. Having established the cause of the problem he declared it to be an accident. That being so, treatment would be covered by the Accident Compensation Commission. As previously revealed in these highly educational pages, these are the only arrangements under which accidents are dealt with here – no matter who is culpable. And, as also previously discussed, this does not make for rich and happy lawyers. It works for Kiwis because they are Kiwis. It is difficult to imagine its standing up to a sustained assault by the public of many other nations - including our own. Anyway, Jon was packed off to the radiologist opposite for an X-ray and then to another facility about 7 miles away for an ultra-sound scan. On the house, as it were. All of this operated like clockwork. No hanging around in waiting rooms and no messing. The extremely prompt lady doctor who gave Jon the ultra-sound scan was very engaging in her own sort of way. Unusually, for a Kiwi, she introduced herself using her medical title and then dug to discover the precise circumstances of the injury.
“Is hammering your job?”
“Er, no – not usually.”
“And when you felt the first twinge, didn’t you feel that your body was trying to tell you something?”
“Well, yes but . . . “
“And was it necessary to carry on – couldn’t the rest have waited a bit?”
“Er. . . .not really”
“Well, I see a lot of very silly people here who go to the gym (obviously pronounced ‘jum’) and keep pushing themselves – no pain, no gain – until they end up here”
That was great, really. Jon put firmly in his box without feeling in any way that it was unjustified. There followed about 15 minutes of hugely interesting stuff as she performed the scan and talked him through what the screen was showing. Using the left shoulder as the ‘control case’ wasn’t much help because this went really bad about 25 years ago when Jon had a ‘frozen shoulder’. In those days he was commuting, within London, some 7 or 8 miles from Putney to Southwark by bicycle. Battling with taxis whilst trying to get off the Waterloo roundabout on a push bike at rush hour, but without being able to indicate ‘left’ was pretty hazardous. Eventually the problem was solved with a steroid injection and that is still the solution today. But, nowadays, they can see precisely where they are putting the stuff. That’s the next bit of the treatment. Jon promises to be a brave boy and not to cry. Well, not to howl too disgracefully, anyway.
What of work on Arnamentia? The professional guys are making good progress with the deck and it’s all beginning to take shape. Jon has been engaged in a variety of related and pretty dull tasks to prepare the toe rail for re-fitting:
· Remove all old M3 5200 adhesive sealant from all toe rail sections and the related 400 odd bolt holes in them. Tedium factor about 7.
· Chisel initially and then grind off all of the industrial quantities of the same stuff from the boat gunwales where the toe rails used to sit. Tedium factor about 8 with additional bonus point for having to wear full face protection (a sort of gas mask) during the grinding. And, finishing work as dusty as a miller.
· Remove all of the wretched stuff from each of the 400 odd bolt holes through the boat, in preparation for the refitting of the toe rail. If the holes are not really pretty clean before reassembly, the boat will leak when it’s all done. Tedium factor hits the jackpot, scoring a good 10.
But, these are probably the least enjoyable of the tasks we’ll have to undertake. They are now completed, just, and we’ve saved a lot of money by undertaking them ourselves – all in the context of a much larger project being project-managed by a very competent organisation. Moreover, what price the free run of a fully equipped workshop? So, no more whingeing; onwards and upwards.
The tedium has been relieved by a visit of our Californian friends on Charisma; Bob and Ann. Whilst we’ve found Gulf Harbour a very good place for getting work done on Arnamentia, we cannot live aboard whilst the boat is out of the water and therefore haven’t enjoyed the normal yachtie cheek-by-jowl camaraderie that obtains when one can. Therefore, any of our friends who are driving north or south along State Highway 1 are invited along the Whangaparaoa peninsular to join us for breakfast, lunch or whatever. It was lovely to see Bob and Ann; they have enjoyed a great road trip around the South Island with plenty of hiking, cycling and fishing thrown in. New Zealanders are, in general, a very friendly bunch but the South Island population is particularly renowned for being so. It was fun to compare experiences of places we had both visited and gave us many ideas to add to the “Must See and Do” list for when we are eventually able to get away and see more of New Zealand. We wish them all the best with their chores list on Charisma and whilst Northland needs rain (again) it’s not what they would wish for stripping and varnishing the exterior woodwork on Charisma.
Not living on board has, however, meant that we have met even more Kiwis. In particular, Lindsay and Raewyn, in whose flat we are staying, have been enormously kind and we’ve enjoyed several meals and sundowners together. On one notable occasion we even had held a yeast extract tasting session. For complicated legal reasons (apparently related in some way to the Christchurch earthquakes) there are now two varieties of Marmite in NZ – the original imported from the UK (both commercially and on Arnamentia) and a locally made version. There happened to be a jar of Vegemite (the Australian equivalent) in a cupboard so it was a three way contest. In our view, the original wins hands down. Both Vegemite and Kiwi Marmite are much stiffer in texture and taste, perhaps, a bit more like Bovril to the English palate. However, Raewyn explained that when her son returned to his job in the UK, much of his luggage allowance was taken up with a large number of jars of the authentic Kiwi variety of Marmite. Glory be!
You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em!
The Escape Committee has been busy but has needed to coordinate its plans with dates of delivery of all sorts of stuff (including a new section of the toe rail from Finland) and the work being done, by the boat builders, on the deck. The plan now is to fly back to the UK on 2 April and fly back to NZ on the 4th May. And, relax – apart from one or two jobs that need to be done in Lymington, of course.