"Pass the Cushion"
"Pass the Cushion" – Bear to the Rescue
Tuesday the 16th of December. We had a really accurate weather forecast given out on the morning net, backed up by what we found on the internet – gale warning. All morning things gradually built and by late afternoon Beez was bucking against her tether. Very strange to feel surges and waves after so long on the hard, in fact rougher conditions than some days at sea. The two and only benefits is the sandflies cannot find us and the snap, crackle and pop noises of the hull nibblers is overridden. The groans from the ropes straining is a little unnerving, off-putting as you can do nothing else but listen, hoping, and things clack and tap quite furiously that are usually silent. Some boats had to re-anchor and the boating community never ceases to amaze with people turning out in the slashing rain to offer help to each other. The only boat to move over our side of the anchorage passed by at speed with several hands on deck. By seven the wind was a steady twenty five knots with gusts to thirty five. By eight o’clock everyone was hunkered down as best they could and hoping things would settle. We ate and I lost badly at games, then to bed in a terse mood, Bear thrilled and smiling and to watch a couple of episodes of Bones, how he loves the lead character. We had the radio on just in case of overnight events and crossed our fingers firmly. This morning things went completely silent at around half past five, brilliant, a couple of hours solid sleep – that’ll be a no then, my friend hit crescendo notes only a consummate snorer can produce...........
Wednesday the 17th. Overnight gusts reached the forties and we heard on the net about a boat coming in from offshore had to divert north as Opua was too wild to enter. The authorities from here drove up to meet the crew and completed the formalities. What lovely people there are here in NZ and that applies to officialdom too.
Rod and Mary had offered us one place in Mrs Puki to do shopping in Kerikeri today and I nominated Bear, I had plans to have a much needed sort out. I sent him off with a comprehensive list, please may he not go off piste and bring back extra stuff.......... I so don’t like finding room for stuff when we have no room..........
Off Bear went in Baby Beez. Now in the old days I would wait until I had waved ‘you know who’ off to work on a Thursday, then with coast clear I could race around and throw anything I needed to get rid of without making the bottom lip quiver or listen to a million reasons why I really shouldn’t condemn a said much loved, prized possession to the city landfill. Just one example: black rubber bands, yep, not even elastic bands, preserved badly from medical school days that fractured and crumbled on minor stretch. Arr........... Save it or there will be a hurting. Back to the story. Once I had armed myself with a said ‘treasure’ I would watch with glee as it was dispatched to the lovely dustman at eight o’clock, then I could get about my day. Only twice have I ever been questioned, have you seen........ well as eighteen months and nine months had gone by in each case I felt no need for guilt about the trivial and clearly unnecessary items so long unmissed. Huh, what about my Drizzabone waterproof, genuine article hat. Oh, Arr, Oh, forgot that, anyhoo, it smelt like a dead ferret and hadn’t been on your head in yonkers, in fact months. Dare I growl at this point. No. Amazing though that you should ask about it the very next day after I’d chucked it, my bad luck, it hadn’t rained in such a long time....... Who has the bad luck ??? Well you should curb your need for clutter. Watch Bear retreat into Baby Beez with ever decreasing notes of mutterings.........
Back to today. No sooner than the dear man had disappeared than I got stuck in. Cockpit, sea toilet that I erupted into the lounge and to put my bits away in the underfloor outside-cleaning-varnishing-store were the serious targets. The cockpit not so much needing a clean, more like mucking out, I would start by putting my varnishing kit away so giving me space to move stuff as I cleaned. Being on strike from varnishing - not going back over the reasons, no intention of picking it up again until I send Bear off for a few days in a B&B so I can do the cockpit edging,sometime just before we sail away from New Zealand. I could put my tins and brushes away in my half of said hidden store. Well colour me unhappy, I lift the kitchen carpet, lift the cover and .............what do I find........it’s all full. Now bear in mind we won’t lift Beez out of the water again until her bottom needs anti-fouling in Australia, which to my knowledge and Bears belief has hardware stores, so why oh why do I find a roller set with THREE extra sponges, more disposable gloves than Harefield or Great Ormond Street could use in any busy year.......need I go on.
That plan shelved then. New plan, a stiff libation. I hear the little voice in my head say “but it’s only a quarter past nine in the morning”, Oh, just a little one then for Dutch courage and bravery to continue.
New plan. When himself returns demand he sorts his – trying so hard not to use the word that rhymes with trap........ and leave my section empty.
Once again in the cockpit. I set up a folding crate put all his bits of bilge paint, cleaning stuff and small pots I have never seen before and set it aside. Rain falls heavily so the conservatory gets quite muggy. I start from the front. Scrub everything, play chess with stuff and get into the swing of things. Rain stops, open the front and back windows. Front half looking good, back half cannot swing a wet tissue. Rain again. Windows zipped again. Metal polish a winch, I can reach that, hmm, very shiny.
Well colour me happier. The sun comes out. Great. I unzip everything, conservatory swung back like a pram hood just in case the clouds threaten, but for now I can put all the chairs out to air and the cockpit bench cushions are spread over Beez. One on the bimini hood........... The large box is now made into a voluminous bin. All my bits of varnish, well while I’m at it I check the tins I had piled in the sea toilet, having replaced my larder – I can do it – I throw the treacle pudding we have had since we left the UK. I don’t know any UK flagged vessel that doesn’t have at least one lurking in a dark corner, you know the ones you boil in the can for six weeks..........and a custard that expired in 2009. I give myself a talking to about stock rotation. We have our stores under the seat, buy new and eat it. Discipline, this ship suddenly has a lack of it.
Bear returned with several bags of shopping and a carrier bag full of tomatoes, oh no, remember what I said about hoping he hadn’t gone off piste. He hands the rest of the shopping bags in.......... Before Bear climbs aboard I ask sweetly if he will do a rubbish run. The big box if full and I’ve filled a giant black sack AND with nothing of his, I found plenty of my own. I put the collection of tomatoes in a string veg bag. Before Bear gets back I think I will be nice about the underfloor storage issue and empty everything out into his crate, which now sits ready for his attention and sorting. I go to pull up the rubber mat in the bottom of my section to give it a good scrub, stuck down with something or other that’s sticky. I sit deflated.
Bear returns, notices a bit of a change going on and that the shopping is still in the cockpit. Knowing it safest not to comment asks helpfully what would you like me to do. Sort your end section of the under the floor in the kitchen. I don’t want anything in my section. So I can’t put my extras in the bit you allowed me in your section. NO, now completely out of bounds. Before you go all sweet on the cute one and think badly of me read on. Now the most tomatoes I’ve ever bought in one go is six, eight, well twelve if we know people are coming and the time I bulk bought all those green ones to wrap in newspaper before crossing the Pacific but not FIFTY THREE bright red ones. Oh but they will keep really well, they have never been in a fridge, they taste really lovely – I’m told – I hope. But without fuss or comment the ten dollars worth were placed them in a veg bag, I never said a word about the several in their midst with natal clefts., no entering a Woman’s or Gardening Show with this little lot of misfits. I clearly have other battles to meet head on in any case.
I can’t sit and do nothing so I assemble the Christmas tree. The new set of blue lights are coupled with batteries and I test, my oh my, these should have come with a warning, I didn’t realise the first setting was ‘flash’, now arc eye, all I can see is blue flashes. Then I fiddled with balls and had a bit of fun with the different pictures of the completed tree.
Meantime, Bear, without complaint, gets on his hands and knees, scrapes up the sticky stuff, cleans both sections – the end one in the picture is the water pipe business, lining both with new anti-slip mat. The man is a magician for stowing his stuff neatly. I’m left to fit mine and down goes the lid and carpet. What next, you can help me put the cockpit back together. Out he goes, I call after him that the first thing to come in will be the bench seat cushion from the bimini hood. What cushion. The long black one, pass me the cushion. Nope. What do you mean nope. I race out and peer hopefully over the pram hood. Bad words, very bad words are exploded from firmly pursed lips. Bear does the ‘I see no ships’ pose. I think I see it, floating, over there. Points far into the distance. Well colour me hopeful.
Bear and Baby Beez go off on a rescue mission. The cushion has made it quite a distance with a steady breast stroke. Bear disappeared briefly behind the far distant boat and on his way back I could make out his cheerful, smiling face. He pulled up and showed me the flip side of the errant cushion, this is quite dry you know, do you want me to go and wash it. That will be good, thank you. You can see from the picture that the water around the girl looks very green, stirred up by the storm. Pass me my shoes. Off he goes once more. I rustle together a pasta meal for him. He has been a good boy but I’m loathe to tell him that. Fed and showered I again lose badly at backgammon and sequence but do really well with winning a few bob at rummikub. A few bob, I’ve been robbed. Bones will put you right, they are threatening to get married in the next episode.
A troubled sky tonight, I wonder.
Thursday the 18th. Bear got up and used his four slot egg holder. Sadly, the eggs were in the fridge. All to do with the cockpit sort out I suppose. For the first time in my life I stirred the contents of my egg and drank it. The other one wasn’t too bad. Clearly, cold eggs will have to be turned over if the egg thingy is to be a success. But does it stop egg events. Not a chance. The funny thing was when Bear lifted the lid on the said messy boy it was half empty. Poke your finger in to show our dear readers. It’s too hot, I’ll go half way. Well..........whatever next. Back to normal methinks well at least we can hope, until the next project.............
ALL IN ALL QUITE SOMETHING THE WAY THINGS GO
A REVELATION OR WAS THAT A REVOLUTION......