When I were a young lad I rose to the dizzy heights of being a Sixer in the Cubs. Being a somewhat timid boy, the responsibility weighed heavily upon me but I bore it bravely and tried not to cry when I fell over, or when one (well five probably) of the cubs in my six questioned my authority. It stood me in good stead for , erm, nothing in particular, but at least the cubs taught me two things. The two fingered salute (of which I shall say no more) and the motto Be Prepared.
So with that famous motto in mind, Ive decided to rush out to Herbie before Thursday's lockdown commencement to explain to her why I won't be able to visit for a while and to do an early winterisation. Yes, the plumbing shall be drained, the bit in the Morco that can freeze shall be emptied of water, the shower mixer removed and emptied, the temporary double glazing re installed, the rear deck drains cleared of obstruction, the solar panels secured against hurricanes etc etc.
From all that you may infer that we feel it is unlikely that we will be going boating during what's left of 2020, and you would be correct. In the fifteen years we have owned Herbie this will be far and away the year with the lowest number of days on board. Ah well, can't be helped I suppose. Something might come along to cheer us up, perhaps as soon as next Tuesday if the US elections go the right way.
Another boaty job has been under way in the meantime, and for lovers of schadenfraude it amply demonstrates how my DiY inexperience almost invariably leads to folly. Last time we were out boating, the glazed tiles behind Herbie's stove decided to fall off the wall. The first plan was to stick them back on ( a non trivial task bearing in mind the narrow space in which to work). Then Kath mentioned that she had always worried about the fire risk of the heat getting through to the wooden bulkhead behind and shouldn't we now take the chance to deal with that. So from Midland
Sw Chandlers, we got some insulating boards, a bit like plasterboard but less dense and thicker. They're pretty soft and easy to cut to size. I asked about painting them and the man said that'd be fine, but to make sure to prime the boards first with PVA or else the boards would soak up the paint like a sponge. We've got a squeezy bottle of PVA at home for Kath's craft work, but I assumed we'd need a larger quantity, so from Wickes I bought a five litre bottle of the stuff. Only then did I look at some YouTube videos of how to apply PVA as a primer to discover that you need to dilute the PVA by about ten to one with water. So if anyone needs about 4.75 litres of unused PVA, I'm your man.
Plans for lockdown II? Ideally I'd have a go at writing another book if only the muse would show up, but while I'm waiting I thought I ought to give my kids and grandchildren a present they don't want by making recordings of my musical ineptitude for posterity. For years and years I trod the boards of local folk clubs, singing and playing passable versions of songs I had nicked off records or dug out of books. I think at one time I might have been able to knock out several dozen of them in the unlikely event that nobody stopped me. I've forgotten how to do a lot of them of course, but I can still have a stab at twenty or so. So I have splashed out on a couple of bits of modest equipment to do the recordings. Who knew microphones were so expensive (even cheap ones!)? and am studying the bewildering world of Digital Audio Workstations aka home recording and mixing software. Flippin' eck there's a lot to learn. If that wasn't challenging enough, I've discovered another problem. Finding silence. The whirr of the computer fan, the gentle hum of the freezer that stands in the spare bedroom where I work, the loud clunk (every thirty seconds) of our beloved Syncronome electro mechanical master clock downstairs, the splashing of the rain against the window pane. I'll have to avoid Sunday mornings and Thursday evening because of the church bells. Now, even as I write this there's a flippin' helicopter flying around outside. It's not going to be easy folks.
So that should while away a few days or weeks of winter. It might even last me until we can go boating again.
Stay safe dear readers, and hang in there for the Herbie Awards - they'll go ahead Covid or no Covid.