Week ending Sunday, 20 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
The good news: –
I won at Dominoes yesterday.
More phone calls with the bank and eventually I have been unblocked and I have a supply of cash.
Spent the day tidying the tool locker and basically I know where everything is – until I move it again!
Had a swim after lunch and made some cakes and a jam sponge. I was going to have the sponge with custard, but have no milk.
The bad news:-
We were going to TTSA BBQ, but 5 people dropped out, leaving only 3. Martin went on the bus and Nicky and I walked, despite being warned that it was not safe. We were not mugged, but a pack of dogs came out of the fishing area and Nicky was bitten. We got to TTSA, Nicky and Martin decided to go to the clinic. They said they were coming back, but I could not risk it. Walking back alone in the dark is not sensible and the buses are either not running or not safe at night. I said hello to Tom and Mary Ann and was going to walk back before it got dark, but Mary Ann insisted on walking me to the road and I got on a bus. I was home by 6.30 just as it got dark.
There have been two pirate attacks off the coast of Venezuela, the last one made the BBC World News tonight, but the attack was about a week ago. The boat that is here was attacked and the pirates took everything, food, bedding, mattresses, the lot.
This life in Paradise does get worrying at times.
Tuesday, July 15
With my new list in my hand I set off with great intentions. I took the windvane frame to the metalworks nearby. They did not have quite the right size aluminum tube and it was thick and they were only going to spot weld on one side as the metal is so thin; so I brought it back. I have some tubing that is the right size, but a bit thick. I will cut a piece off and make a sleeve and ignore the welding, it is what I did to get me back from Puerto Rico and it worked. I also checked to see if my winch had arrived, it should have been at Customs yesterday, but no news so far.
I set off again and got to the next yard and found someone to service my outboard, I could do it, but it plays up so I just want it done by someone else. I have to take it in, I was rather hoping they would come and collect it, but I will see what I can do tomorrow.
Then I went into Budget, where I was greeted and kissed, so nice to be remembered. I got an offcut of Starboard to make my cockpit table. They sell it by the linear foot, but it is 54’ wide, so I brought it back to the boat.
The weather varied between scorching hot and torrential rain, but I managed to get the frame for the table attached to the binnacle. It took hours because the binnacle curves and I bolted through with rubber on the front and wood backing and the head of the bolts were too big to get the tubing in the fitting. Back to the original bolts and Déjà vu – it looks exactly like it did when I made it with the ironing board, but I hope it is stronger. I will spend more time on the table top tomorrow, when hopefully it is not going to rain so much. I also put a wooden bar under the shelf in the bathroom and attached the toilet roll holder and the waste bin. I added two hooks and it was perfect to hang the peg bag, which used to be a carrier bag but is now a material one that used to be part of the upholstery. I had to thread string through the top and could not face getting into the sewing locker, so a small spanner did the job.
I did sleeve the windvane frame and put the cover back on and lace it up.
I also loosened one of the pole brackets and slid the sleeve back down, this had been outstanding from the last time I was on the hard. I had abandoned the job because I had asked someone to help me and his idea was to take a hammer to it, so I said thank you and paid him 40TT to go away.
I bought a 5 gallon bottle of water, this is big. I rolled it most of the way hoping that it would not break. The worst part was getting it up the ladder, there was not room for it and me and over the last step onto the boat was scary, but I wasn’t going to drop the water. I will have to decant it, but it is a bargain, with the deposit on the container costing more than the water. Then it was time for a swim.
All in all it was a hard day’s work with maybe not a lot to show for it, but I have crossed some things off my list.
Wednesday, July 17
I went round to Customs to collect my overdue winch, but it was not there, so I bought a few bits from the small supermarket. On the way back I was attacked by the pack of dogs. Once was unfortunate, twice was careless. I protected myself only by swinging my trolley at them; they did not give up easily and I took a lump out of my leg – but rather me than them. There are more people making complaints, but it will take a concerted effort for the managing company, CDC, to do anything.
I took my outboard to the place where they are going to service it and went to Budget to try to find some fittings. I came back to the boat and finished the cockpit table, I am pleased that it is quite strong. I have a 25 compartment plastic box with all my screws in, fastidiously sorted into type. I picked it up and started up the steps, rather a shame it was not fastened. I took it very well, I have not lost any although I will probably find more in the bilges. I will just have to sort them again.
The last thing to do to the Hydrovane, except service it, was to connect it to the boat rail as it is under immense pressure when sailing and there are two threaded holes that I can get bolts into. The problem was to get bolts into something that would not just pull out. Eventually I did it. I had a very strong teak step from the swim ladder, so it would span the distance. It was 3 inches wide and so I attached it with D clamps at right angles to the ladder rung and drilled holes in line with the threaded holes, but my bolts were not long enough.
It was 6.30 before I finished and had to swim in the dark. That was quite nice and no disadvantage as I have not slimmed down to the bikini figure I should have. The bikini I bought in the Caribbean is XXL, if it is even a size 12 I would be amazed; obviously I have a way to go yet.
I was too tired to do anything and so I finished the last of the sponge pudding with condensed milk and cocoa powder.
I had started reading a book, the first few pages were reviews saying how gripping it was. I had managed chapter 1 and 2, but it is very small print and I have abandoned it for an audio book. I am listening to one CD a night, I just hope I have the ending; otherwise I will be asking for a volunteer to find the book, read the end and let me know.
Thursday, July 17
Dropped off the few extra bits for the outboard, went to Budget and got two 5”x3/8” bolts, then I went to check on my parcel coming via Fed Ex. It was 2 day priority shipping and should have been here Tuesday. It had got from Miami to Puerto Rico yesterday and after checking the tracking and many phone calls we were told it was on the van and would be delivered to Customs at 10.00 – it was 10.00, so we needed to give it a bit longer.
The security guard at the next yard wants to marry me, I said I would put him on the list.
I went back to the boat and found the bolts would not do as there was no room for the hex head. I went back to Budget and exchanged them for two with countersunk heads, these were three times as much at 5 pounds each. I was staggered, but they were what I needed, so I paid the extra. I went back to check on the parcel, it had arrived.
I went round to Customs, no dogs today, got my parcel and went back to the boat.
All I had to do was put the new bolts in, where are they? I had the receipt, but in my shock at the price I think I forgot to pick up the bolts. I took the old winch that I had taken off, together with the new winch to the metalworkers to make me some backing plates. I am having metal plates for all 4 winches and the rope clamps on the coachroof, last year I backed the cleats, is there ever an end to rebuilding this boat?
After the metalworkers I went on to Budget, three times in one morning, I shall shoot myself if I need anything else. I got replacement bolts and some bedding compound while I was there. Before I had got far I realized that I needed some special bolts for the winch, I could not face going back, I would get them tomorrow when I pick up the plates.
It was noon and I was getting stressed by not having started anything yet. I finally finished the amazing work of art that I have created on the Hydrovane, overkill maybe, but it feels good and strong.
I made some backing plates out of wood that I shall put between the boat and the metal plates. I should have set up down on the ground, but it is all too much effort, so I had to make do in the cockpit, which was not easy.
Jim is back, I did not expect him so soon. I cleaned up and was going for a shower and a swim.
Bob is back, also before I expected him. There has been a big swell on the water today. Boats are rocking from gunnel to gunnel in the anchorage and it is also bad on the pontoons. Bob was lucky that he is parked between two fishing boats, so there are no masts to clash with, but one of his mooring lines had snapped and his power cable had been torn out and was in the water. I held the boat for Bob to get on and tie up and left him to reconnect his electricity, he assured me he had turned it off at the pod. Then it really was off to my shower and a short swim.
I made a cup of tea and spilt boiling water from the kettle on my hand and that was painful. I have had a very busy week and need to calm down.
I am on to my second best mug – I used to do three or four things a day, now it takes me three or four days to do a thing. That is certainly how it feels. With all this walking and heat, surely I must be losing weight.
Friday, July 18
I took the old winch off the coachroof and took this and the new winch to collect the metal plates. The man had drilled some of the holes, I was not happy (did I say that I make a terrible customer?). I went to Budget to get the bolts and when I came back I went through exactly what I wanted. The 4 winch ones were fine, but the rectangular one for the clamps was wrong. In the end he made another one and I was happy, 500TT seemed a lot, (they always say it is the price of the material) so I wanted them right.
I fitted the new winch on the coachroof and the old winch on the coaming amid continual squalls and a power cut. I did service all 4 winches, not before time, one I could not move it was so bad. I am pleased with the fixings, but need someone to hold the allen key on top while I tighten up the nuts, tomorrow.
It was 7pm before I finished and the cockpit is covered in grease.
Saturday, July 19
6.30 I was up cleaning the cockpit as it was raining, just for a change.
7.00 I gave in and started taking the antibiotics for my tooth infection, it has been months now and I cannot risk setting off with this pain. I just hope they work, I shall have to deal with the result of the antibiotics later.
I spent considerable time trying to fix the sewing machine in a little niche, so that it will not fall out under way. The third idea seems to work, but I am not moving yet. I was really tired by 11 and so went visiting people on boats on the water. Dave came back with me and we tightened up the winch bolts, job done.
I still have the two original winches to do, although identical models to the new one they have bolt holes in different places, so I have abandoned that for now.
People are going down the River in Venezuela and I want to go, it will rain, but it rains here too. I have to wait for my solar panel, but I can do everything else.
I got the genoa out and it needs a new edging strip. It took hours to unpick the two layers of tattered strip and although I kept going until 6.30 I shall have hours more work. There are a few other areas needing repair and I will have to decide whether to sew it myself or pay a sailmaker. I haven’t even looked at the main, but that is usually in good condition.
There is a pan band at the restaurant a few yards away, but I am too exhausted to go out.
I shall send this now because the wifi is patchy.