Dragging kids up the Kiwi way

At long last the second and final coat of gloss paint was on the coachroof sides. For the past twenty days we had been crawling around the deck, sanding, masking, painting, then more of the same. We were exhausted. We stood up, slowly straightening our backs, each vertebrae clicking into place and stepped off Caramor.


We needed to walk and headed towards the lifting bridge. It was a nice day and families were playing near the BMX track. A very small boy was dragging a tricycle, without pedals and made to look like a motorbike, over the field towards the BMX start line ramp. Undeterred, he heaved the trike up the hill while his grandmother sauntered over and watched from the bottom.


A memory flashed before my eyes, me on my little red bike, a steep gravel slope and garage doors at the bottom - my bike was a write-off and it was years before my mother agreed to buy me another. We stopped to watch, there were few obstacles and the little lad was unlikely to get as far as the first jump on downhill momentum alone.


As he straddled the bike, I noticed that, like many Kiwi kids, he was barefoot. Gran stood impassive, saying nothing. He set off, but instead of going for it, he kept his feet on the ground and used them to brake. I winced, I could empathise the sting of concrete burn. Two-thirds of the way down, his soles must have really started to hurt, too late to get off though. Once more he lifted his feet but when he tried to brake, only one heel made contact with the ground and the trike span wildly out of control, splatting the young rider onto the ramp. 


The poor kid howled and granny was there to pick him up. She probably told him to ‘take a couple of cement pills and harden up’, a good old Kiwi remedy.


We carried on walking, we tramped a long way that evening, to the ‘Butter Factory’ burger bar, to the cinema where we watched ‘Long Shot’ and eventually back to Jumbo, our bedroom on wheels.


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The first undercoat was an interesting colour


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Franco masking the cockpit after 6 coats of undercoat, in preparation for the gloss


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Vanilla white gloss on the flat surfaces, coachroof sides still to be painted


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Other projects include inspecting and painting Caramor’s marvellous (and irreplaceable) teak rudder