Sunday 6 October 2013

You missed a bit

Whenever at the helm for the last few weeks and glancing backwards, as you do, to see what's following or to check that your wake / wash isn't destroying any of the bank, I've had pangs of guilt. I couldn't look back without the tiller's swan-neck accusing me of being uncaring. Not as loudly as it did in the interval between getting it straightened with the help of a blow-torch and covering the repair with red primer nearly a fortnight later, but loudly enough. That patch of dull red charged me with being content with a job half-done, of being more interested in what Erin Mae could do for me than in what I could do for her.

Well, that last bit is probably true. But the main issue is my total feeling of inadequacy when it comes to vehicular paintwork, my lack of instinct about what to do when, and my utter conviction that it will all go wrong anyway. Given my Myers-Briggs profile, that's a sure recipe for procrastination, especially with so many other interesting things to do, and the uncertainty of the weather. But I knew the stopover in Nantwich was going to provide an opportunity to sort out my conscience. A dry, even sunny, period, and a 24 hour break from cruising. So yesterday, out came the sandpaper, the de-greaser and the tin of primer, and I managed to rub down the swan-neck from top to toe and put primer on any bare metal exposed by the process. Then today, after a late coffee, the lid came off the CraftMaster mid green undercoat and I got busy working out how to put on enough while not allowing it to run.

It was as I neared the top that two boats came by, about five minutes apart, each with a crew member who thought it hilarious to say "You missed a bit", and expected me to join in the merriment. Now I don't think I'm a humourless so-and-so, but these passing wags completely failed to spot the pent-up angst that accompanied the paint-brush. To my shame, I completely ignored both of them, and left the cheery greetings to my best beloved, busily (and expertly) cleaning windows at the other end of the boat.

While the paint muse was active, I thought I might as well have a go at the new pole which had definitely lost its new look since July. I had some external wood primer, and followed up two coats of that with the same green undercoat, but I strongly suspect this particular project will indeed come to grief, courtesy of the heavy dew. Well, we shall see.

Then it was farewell to Nantwich. On the way to where we've tied up above the locks at Hack Green, we saw a buzzard very high up. It's amazing if they really can see their prey from that distance. But half a mile further on we had one circling us along the cut, only about 20 feet up. Then it went down behind the bushes and we saw it no more, but could imagine all sorts of crunchings and tearings from beyond the hedge. I doubt either of these two birds missed a bit.

So it's a quiet evening on the Shroppie again. I don't think we're missing anything.


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