Going to Russia

I’ve just spent four hours or so putting black anti-foul on the Folkboat Fern. I haven’t had time to do anything to her for six days and I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about it.

I ached so much last week from sanding that I really couldn’t do much more. I got all of it done apart from some bits I missed on the rails and the stern itself, because I didn’t bring my big ladder and I can’t reach where I need the sander from the ground. I started this the stupid way, the old way, with a heat gun and a scraper and it was hard, hard work. The power sander made things a lot easier, not to mention quicker.


Black - the proper colour for below the waterline.
Black – the proper colour for below the waterline.

Do you imagine it was easy?

It’s beginning to look like a manageable project, if the rain that’s started doesn’t wash all the anti-foul off again. But it might not be raining where the boat is, nine miles away from here. And it was drying quickly in the wind there anyway. It’s not raining much.

I bought enough sanding pads. I have the white yacht paint and probably enough for inside as well. I bought the brushes and the white spirit and the Tonkinoise and if somebody somehow ran out of time and couldn’t quite do what she’d said she was going to do and pick it up from the chandlery then it’s the last thing that needs to go on anyway, and she made it up to me somehow. But it’s still been quite hard work.

I had a friend whose family got hugely rich from wool. After they pretty much controlled the entire British woolen industry, sharing it and Halifax as a sort of feudal fiefdom with another family, my friend’s ancestor went to Russia to get cheaper wool. This was one of the reasons you don’t see a lot of sheep’s cheese in England. With no need for the large flocks they sent them to slaughter. Actions have consequences. Not being convinced he couldn’t get wool still cheaper elsewhere the wool baron, or at least High Sheriff as he’d become went on to Australia, where he was sure wool was even more of a bargain.

He got fabulously even richer. I remember my friend’s indignation when I complained about something being hard work.

“Do you imagine it was easy going to Russia? Well? Do you?”

The boat isn’t that hard work. It doesn’t get me seven hundred million pounds if and when I sell it either, unlike some concerns, but that isn’t really the point of this boat. I’ll sell it if someone gives me a good price for it but it feels like the kind of boat I could keep for the rest of my life, or until I can’t sail it, which given the state of my pension might as well be pretty much the same time.

Time seems to stop when I’m with this boat it. It’s not much like going to Russia, really.

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