Mervyn and Faith
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Tue 22 Sep 2009 22:42
Mervyn Canvas and Cushions, Repairing My Faith in the Workmen of Trinidad.
Sunset over the Delta Airline area of JFK
We arrived back from the UK after a tortuous sixty hour journey that included twelve hours sitting pretty much alone at Gate 16 in JFK Airport, New York.
We did have a pigeon for company - sad but true
Sitting waiting it was discussed how this was the first time Bear had been in charge of flights. He thought it was a bargain to fly Delta via JFK to Heathrow return. Well on the face of it - Yes. Then you have to add the $131 for his visa, taxi fares to and from the Embassy in Trinidad twice and the postage even though he had to collect his passport. Needless to say flights have become a pink job.
Our 146 kgs of luggage - We had two main cases each, due to the 'nothing above 32kg rule' at Heathrow had to become five cases, so we had to pay $300 excess. These became four again and resulted in a ground staff lady called Alouisa getting a "great big fat hug" from me. That way she didn't have to charge us again. The baggage handler Sam said the cases "weighed just fine" and off they went at JFK at 13:15, a huge 'thank you' to Sam. My smalls have now been on two airport floors so far - with many more opportunities with Customs to come. Alouisa felt so sorry for me with my bad cough she ripped up our seat allocation and put us in one of the emergency exits with loads of leg room. Faith slightly being restored in human kind.
We landed at 6:05 - cleared Customs by 7:10 and Immigration gave us the customary two days to get to Chaguaramus to log back onto Beez Neez. One of Peakes senior employees Troy was booked to meet us and was not there (earning a bit on the side as a taxi service). We found a taxi driver who really did a wonderful impression of Mr Magoo. We didn't notice too much in the horrendous rush-hour traffic but after clearing Port of Spain realised fifteen to twenty was indeed his top speed. As people were roaring past us doing about forty he said "So much rush, I wonder where they are going in such a hurry". Bear was gently snoring in front of me and I was quietly chewing on the back of his seat. We had arranged for Mr Magoo to take us straight to Customs and Immigration at Crews Inn (another boatyard in Chaguaramus). Once there Mrs. Lynch came and rifled amongst our smalls and a quarter the way down Bear's list of parts, said all was well. Immigration stamped us in. I popped to the shop to get bread, cheese, butterley and a watermelon. Things going better now I thought.
We arrived at Beez at 11:20 to find NOTHING had been done to the girl in the six weeks we had been away.
Shiva of KNJ (our works organisers) and a couple of lads were waggling a nut saying they "had, had trouble". (The task we left them to do was to remove, even if destruction was the only method - the old bow thruster and fit the new one). The metal man had not set foot on the girl at all.
At this point I levitated about three feet from the ground - landing I went truly ballistic. After our visit to the UK and its overwhelming sadness, this was the tin hat.
Shiva got both barrels. I told him he could "watch me take the nut out with the end of my tongue". Concerned faces. "We thought you wanted the old one for parts". "OH yes sea rotted and knackered". Shiva then compounded the situation by telling me he had "only gone to pick the new one up a couple of weeks ago". "NO, I checked with the nice people at Customs, you went to pick it up 32 days ago".
With that off I stormed to see Ronda in KNJ and asked for Shiva's head on a plate or at the very least the sack. Then let both barrels go yet again. Afterwards I just felt like a good cry.
Result. Franz, boss of KNJ now overseeing our works. Free hull wash and polish. Contract with Roy the metal man to do his jobs within two weeks or KNJ have to pay for us being on the hard, Roy keeps us in constant supply with coconut juice, cold and freshly beheaded under Beez each day and tipped into bottles.
The fact that Beez stood out alone for nothing for six weeks still remains a bug bear - watch this space, I haven't forgotten about that bill yet. We have heard "sorry" a million times. Troy came and found me, quickly getting hold of my right fist. I did say "you must be extremely brave or incredibly stupid" but I did admire his guts for coming to find me. I think he will do just about anything to make amends, but I did tell him to steer clear for several days.
Before we left Mervyn - Canvas and Cushions, a gentle spoken man had come to see me several times for measurements for our cockpit cushions and a fly-screen for the back of the conservatory. He always came whenever he was due. Tuesday after our return he arrived yet again as booked and his work was WONDERFUL. He brought his son Miguel who is following in dads footsteps and indeed made the little cushions. Mervyn has a daughter Stacey - a teacher nearby and a son Jonathan who works for the Government. A very proud man our Mervyn who also has two grandchildren. Always seen with his hair neatly below a hat allowed me to be pictured with him - locks free.
Mervyn and Bear. Our insect screen and posh cushions
ALL IN ALL MY FAITH IS SOMEWHAT RESTORED - If only everyone was the same as Mervyn