Ketchup (part I).

Ouch, a whole month has gone by without a single word written here, too long and with so much happened and so little time to write today I am just going to summarise the events and come back to the important parts at a later date (yeah Spike, I can really see that happening).

Work has really taken off,  I thought I was going to be lucky to get three days a week, which would have been fine but I have more than I can deal with and thought I would have to refuse some but managed by doing some work at the weekends, not happy about that but make hay while the sun shines and all that. With Vanessa gone for over three weeks I was getting a bit behind on some commitments to looking after JP and llse’s house. I managed to clear a weekday afternoon to sit, chill and re-aquaint myself with the guitar, but I had an email from Ilse asking if there was a problem with the lawnmower as the lawns looked a little overgrown (they have wifi cameras, more on this later), so that was my afternoon blitzed while I chased a lawnmower over the property. Wait, I may sound a little ungrateful there, we get the mooring and wifi and electricity all in exchange for looking after their cat, house and garden, perfect exchange, but while Vee was away I was increasingly selfish with my free time, once the working day was over I was knackered and still had other things to do, eat, clean and other stuff that every one else seems to do just fine, but after so long being the house husband in Spain I was struggling to keep up with my chores, let alone look after someone else’s house too.

Felix’ sunny snooze spot

The cameras,  I may have mentioned here that JP is a bit of a gadget nut. There are three cameras keeping surveillance on the property which is fine but one is pointed directly at the boat, and another is pointed straight at Fabreze’s house (which used to be part of JP’s property until late last year). I’d forgotten about them during the winter as we lived inside the boat, which was under cover, but now that the sun is shining we are relaxing in the cockpit, and after the email asking about the lawns I realised that we are, to some extent, under surveillance,  it doesn’t make me feel comfortable. I was discussing this with Fabreze during one of our “it’s the weekend!” beers the other Friday night, and he says he felt the same, but he went further and rang JP and said that being as the property is now his he feels this is an invasion of privacy, apparently his camera is now off and ours too. I wasn’t so sure about ours as the Adventurer being on camera is incidental to the view of the front garden, but then two friends came by on JP’s request to see how everything is with the house and garden. The friends (can’t remember their names), were moored here for five years and did mention, it’s a great spot, but you do get called upon frequently for this that and the other in return.

Fabreze et Alix

I’m starting to get my head around the hows of giving the Adventurer’s coach a much needed paint job, (I’m doing lots of painting on other people’s boats and have picked up loads of knowledge, and rehearsing on other people’s boats is so much better). I was planning to start soon but I am fully booked until June now, so it looks like it is going to have to wait a while, and with the speculated bill for the job at around 500 Euros, I need the work, (need I say again how much paint is in France?). Plus it looks like we’re going to have to pull our boat out of the water in June for an insurance survey, bye bye two grand, at least when she’s out of the water I can do some work that I didn’t know about last year, (anti foul the propeller and the sides to half a metre under the water line).


I spent three horrible days cleaning up some brand new cast iron window decoration. The cast was about three mil out of alignment, these things were pigs, they should never have left the factory and certainly should never have been accepted on delivery. Horrid, soul-destroying work, but the job came in a bundle of work that will go on for about a year, take the rough with the smooth Spike. Unfortunately the next job… Wait, let me fill in some gaps that’ll make me look stupid but will give you the full story. I have two fears, heights (I’m not very good at being able to see how high I am when I can see directly below me, I’m okay on a mountain top, love it, (I managed the three close by biggies where we lived in Andalucia), but put me on a light weight steel bridge (a la Caminito del Rey) and I freeze up a little (who’re you kidding, A LOT). And tight spaces where I can’t move freely, if my arms and legs are hindered I fall apart a little, (ha ha, yeah yeah). So, you finished laughing yet? This last week and for the next few I’m painting the third storey loft windows on a house, I have to hang out of the window to get to the tops of the outer frame both sides (duh), with eight windows and from start to finish about five coats, (please don’t let it be six), that’s about eighty times too many. Then, on the other job I had to climb into a stern storage locker on a barge to clean and paint the unseen areas that are susceptible to rust.

Caminito del Rey, March 2016

As I write this the first ducklings of the year have just paddled by.

The area of the basin where the hotel barges are kept for the winter became an absolute hive of activity in the second week of March, we’re talking pandemonium, and then over the course of four days one by one they all disappeared off to their first rendezvous of the season. The basin looks positively empty now.

Did you know that the age of a boat is determined from when the first piece of metal/wood is attached to the keel,  when I’m needed or have time I am working on a twelve year old, 26 metre barge that hasn’t been anywhere yet as it is unfinished. It is a one man job (with occasional help).

Fabreze’s cats are still terrorising ours. I asked him very nicely the other day if he would kindly get their balls chopped off to stop this malarkey, but he is of the all things natural school of feline thought.  Even when I pressed the advantages of whipping their ‘nads off to him, he was adamant that no vet is getting near his cats. (“You use bricks to castrate them, doesn’t it hurt?” says the cat owner to the vet, “only when you catch your thumb between them”). Anyway, one of them had the balls to come aboard our boat the other night, I am sorry to say that I terrorised that cat and I don’t think he’ll be coming onboard any time in the forseeable future. I do feel bad, but I only used a pillow and harsh language.

Okay so this may seem all new age hippy shit to some readers, but Vanessa and I ask the Universe for things that we need. It works, mostly. I haven’t got the time to go into the ins and outs of how this works here today, but believe me, it works, I don’t think we’d be aboard the Adventurer if it didn’t, (yeah yeah, it doesn’t just work for free stuff, it works for the perfect thing that you need at the time). So, after ten months aboard and really getting a bit miffed at our “tearoom” style curtains, I asked the Universe for a sewing machine as we need some curtains for our boat. I was cleaning a boat for Frank’s widow Jill the other weekend so it’s all shiny for potential buyers, when Jill asked if I have need for a sewing machine, yes please says I, that would be very useful. Then, a couple of days later, Vanessa was wombling the “we don’t need this anymore, maybe you could use it” section of the H2O bins and found enough curtains to cover all but three windows of our boat, they are damn near made to measure, and for an extra bonus, they’re pleated so they tie away snuggly. Now we don’t really have a use for the sewing machine, it just go to show kids, the ‘verse is literal, ask for one or the other, don’t hedge your bets or you’ll get both.

Lara only likes a little sunshine.

That’s it, I’ll have to continue this catch up hopefully next week (or maybe during the week if these reports of incoming rain are true).


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