There are a lot of things that piss me off, that list goes on and on and probably wouldn’t be good reading, so the top two are; Brits that live or have lived in another country and proceed to whinge about the immigration problem in the UK, seriously? You are an immigrant. And people that don’t question what they are told, just accepting “facts” because someone in their supposed hierarchy states it to be true, that just riles me. I just thought I’d mention that, get it off my chest as it were.
The other week I tried very hard to write about a particularly horrid Monday when everything seemed to go wrong with the electrics on board, the post went on and on and was boring to write and therefore boring to read, so I deleted it and moved on, well maybe I haven’t moved on fully as a little needs to be mentioned here. In a nutshell, we have a box under the bed that differentiates where the power is coming from, be it shore line, engine if it’s running or no power at all in which case it switches over to battery power, it does this automatically and can be kinda forgotten about. When the tower of power (I really need to find out the actual name of this thing**), shorted out it took a component of this box with it, so the box had power coming in, but wasn’t/couldn’t send(ing) it anywhere. I’d just like to add here that in the past I have re-wired a house and so I like to think that I know a bit about electrickery. So, the boat yard’s “electrician” came on board, (I’m going to call him Castro), tested a couple of things and diagnosed that our battery charger was at fault and needed testing/replacing. Hold on a second, wtf just happened there, this guy just cost us somewhere in the region of a couple of thousand Euros and didn’t even check the sockets to see if there was power throughout the boat?¿! A lot more had happened this day, and I’m trying to keep this in a nutshell, but know that by this stage I was rapidly approaching a temper tantrum because I could kinda see the problem but couldn’t even explain it to myself, let alone translate into another language. Electricity is logical, it can only do one thing and that’s to follow a circuit, a bit of Sherlock Holmes deduction will always lead you to the fault. We got it sorted that day, I can’t remember how, when I start seeing red my memory fades. What really annoyed me that day was the confidence that Castro had that he was right when he hadn’t even tested to see if power was going into the charger. How many numpties have shelled out a wedge because of a silly mis-diagnosis.
A brief interlude. I have heard it said that the French don’t think out of the box, they are conditioned from a young age to accept what they are told*. I found this hard to swallow, surely an entire country cannot be this way, but the evidence is starting to stack up. A couple of examples, I have heard of cars that have been written off because a part could not be obtained from the original manufacturer, absolutely no thought given to getting the part from another source. Another example, the word for tip (gratuity) is pourboise, this is two words put together meaning literally “for drink”, but say to a local that it is two words meaning something like “have a drink on me”, no no (or rather non non), it is tip, one word not two. For the sake of ease let’s transpose this over the Channel, some one from Stonebridge knows that their village was named after a stone bridge, it’s right there in the title, or someone called Butcher has a rough idea that somewhere in history an ancestor was a butcher, they are names AND words, but pourboise is not, do you follow? Am I just being fuddy, I said that about Stonebridge and now I’m starting to wonder, do people know in this day and age?¿! Also, I cannot substantiate this but, I have heard that TV in France is…fluff, game shows, reality tv and the like. If you want to watch something of worth, something with substance that will have you thinking, you have to wait until after 1am.
So anyway, Castro, who is not only the “electrician” later became the “mechanic” that replaced our prop shaft and some other stuff.
Another quick interlude, Castro had trouble fitting the prop shaft and told us that the housing was misaligned and went off for a week to think about it. When he came back, the whole process was done with minimal effort, the shaft just slotted into place?¿! Now, these guys are apparently worse at billing clients than lawyers, some people have complained that a mechanic turns up at the boat, realises he has forgotten something from the workshop and goes to get it with the time this has taken logged onto the bill. (I’ve just realised that this is a rant, hey ho).
So back to Castro, he came by to finish the shaft once we were in the water and lo and behold there was something else amiss, of course there was. Some bolts needed replacing, the Allen key slot had been stripped and because we have a British engine (imperial) the parts had to be sent off for. I asked if, instead of replacing them, a slot could be cut into it with a hacksaw and the bolt turned into a screw, the look I got was one of disbelief, like why would you do this, you can see it is made for an Allen key, why would you turn it into a screw. You may think I am making a mountain out of a molehill but we are sweating here, we haven’t got a bill yet and things are mounting up. It turns out we do have to pay for our stay on the hard as, even though we were waiting for them to finish the work, we pay, there is no compromise here, if the work takes 6 months to complete because of a hard to find part, you pay 6 months rent. Personally I think this is ridiculous but, it’s how it’s done, it cannot change until some higher force says so. I actually worry about this, do you know that France is 85% powered by nuclear plants, because no one questions it the powers that be can say that this is best for France. It is why potatoes can be charged at 6€ a kilo and rather than say “hmm, that’s expensive, WHY?” they pay. Yeah well I’m getting on my soapbox so I’ll shuffle off now, no no wait, I haven’t quite finished. I question the jobs that need doing as if left to their own devices we would have a perfect boat in every way, but we’d also have a bill for €25,000 or more, I kid you not, you may remember I mentioned that the sun roof catches against itself the smallest amount, they wanted 2000 to fix that. There appeared to be oil leaking from the engine (I bet they got right excited about that), but it turns out that a small amount of oil on the engine had warmed with the weather and dripped, looking like a leak. That’s me, I may have not made much sense but I have got some niggles off my chest.
You know what, I’m still not done, I can’t leave this post on such a ranty high. I would like to mention the exceptions to the rule, Allan and Angelique who both helped no end during the scraping and painting process. Adventurer’s hull was painted to a high standard saving us nigh on three grand, and even though she is a bit weird, (she did lick our boat), Angelique really helped me know not just what I was doing, but why I was doing it. Also Tall Philipe (easily 7 foot), who came on board to explain the workings of marine electrics to us, he sat on our boat looking like Gandalf in Bilbo’s Hobbit hole. I bang my head on this boat, this guy was virtually bent double to get from one end of the boat to the other.
*This is a very strong sentence, maybe?¿!