There’s work to be done on Herbie before the year is out. For these jobs I shall be deploying the most versatile of all marine engineering tools, – the cheque book. Alright, the Visa Debit Card actually, but cheque book sounds better. I could attempt taking off the gearbox and changing the drive plate, but frankly I’d rather have it done by somebody who won’t do more harm than good in the process, so we’re booked in again at Calcutt next week. Rick will be crewing and so it would be churlish of me not to take the short detour en route for an evening at the Folly, so he can be fed and watered. (When I say watered, . . . . )
Then after all that is done,we are due for blacking at Crick early in December. I could do that myself too, but I find the idea of getting cold and wet pressure washing a hull in winter, then getting black and sticky whilst layering on black and sticky stuff less than appealing. It can come out of what we laughingly call Herbie’s sinking fund.
So those will be our last cruises of 2012. One no doubt plagued by fallen leaves on the prop but hopefully silky smooth and clanking noise free on the return journey, and the other a two hundred yard marathon across the marina to the dry dock. I’m hoping for that one that the Daily Express (or was it the Mail?) headline earlier this week predicting sub arctic temperatures in December was up to their usual standards of accuracy and it will in fact be reasonably warm.
And then (da tada da da da daaaaaah)
we can get on with our traditional end of year celebration. Yes dear reader, you can get down to Moss Bros and book your DJ and/or polish up the tiara– it’s nearly time for the Herbie Annual Awards. Hooray!!!! All along the cut, nervous publicans wait with baited breath, towns and cities polish up their waterfronts, and boaters thank their lucky stars that they were nice to us this year as they all tremble at the thought of being nominated for one of these coveted awards.
Alongside the traditional awards for Best Pub, Best Overnight Mooring, Scariest Moment and all the other old favourites, we’re open to suggestions for new and exciting categories. Send us your ideas. One we’d like to give this year will be for Best Photo on Another Boater’s Blog. I’ve seen some great candidates for that and you may have too.
At the Grand Finale we’ll once again be announcing the winner of the Herbie Special Award for 2012 for someone who has done something really special this year. It’s as near as you can get to a Knighthood without going to the palace.