Today was another day of varnish scraping. I meant to spend a whole day doing it, but I was too tired, too achey after spending the past two days doing the same thing, heating up old varnish with a heat gun and scraping it off with the other hand. There isn’t much room on deck amidships as I suppose I ought to call it, or half-way along the boat in more normal parlance. I didn’t particularly want to do a header over the side and drop eight feet onto the metal boat trailer if I overbalanced doing this, because with both hands full I couldn’t have the traditional one hand for what you’re doing and one for the boat that’s supposed to keep you safe, or at least safer. Obviously it doesn’t work if you get in the way of a super huge container ship coming out of Felixstowe, but nothing will. I did what sailing is all about and improvised, clipping a safety line through my leather trouser belt at one end of the other around the nearest fixed bit of metal attached to the boat. It would probably stop me hitting the ground, or at least at full speed. I didn’t want to find out anyway.
I started work on the boat at about one o’clock today and had to stop just before six. I couldn’t do anymore. It wasn’t as cold as yesterday, or at least it didn’t feel as cold. It said 4.5C on the car thermometer today, but 7.5C yesterday when there was a steady breeze blowing, which there wasn’t today. A huge high tide yesterday too, to go with the eclipse, the water up over the quayside. It looks very wrong when that happens.
All I did apart from drink tea and eat a banana was heat and scrape. It was ok. I like jobs where I can see what I’ve actually done, whatever they are. I wanted to get all of the port or left hand side of the deck rail done today but I just couldn’t do it all. I can’t work out what’s been going on with this boat. Parts of the rail had three layers of varnish on them, one of them a deep red. Other parts just a few feet away had a green coating that looked more like moss just beginning to grow and hardly any varnish at all. There is a six inch strip of toe rail – to stop your toes and then the rest of you going over the side – that is rotten and crumbling while the rest of it is completely solid. I don’t understand why that part would have gone rotten. It makes no sense.
So tomorrow is another day. I think it’s going to be two days to finish stripping all the varnish off and probably another two to sand down the deck unless I can find a sander. I thought I had one but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I don’t like using sanders anyway. I don’t like the vibration through my hands, nor the noise.
It’ll be another day to sand down the paint above the waterline on the hull ready to change it from red to white, the proper colour for Nordic Folkboats but the below-waterline part feels quite rough already. I’m wondering if just a wash down with water to get the mud off would be enough, without bothering to sand it. I can’t tell. It would save a lot of time.
Then a day painting, then she can go back in the water and I can paint the inside of the cabin white now that the wet rot cure has done its stuff. There is a crack along the cabin roof side that is letting in water too. I thought I could get away without stripping the varnish off that but I think the only thing to do is lift that off, fill the crack with clear epoxy glue and sand it back flush, then seal the wood up again with Tonkinoise. All day I have cursed the man who invented yacht varnish. He must have had his reasons to invent something rubbish that comes off again in big ugly yellow flakes like old man’s toenails. I just don’t know what they were.
I got back home about half-past six. I wanted something good to eat so I made the broccoli quiche I’d promised myself when I made the pastry and put it in the fridge yesterday. I was cold and aching and if I had had a tin of baked beans in the cupboard I’d have had that, but I didn’t. I hadn’t done quite enough pastry either and I rolled it out with a big Kilner jar, which was lazy and stupid because the fastener made a hole in the pastry and some of the filling dripped through. Not enough flavour. I should have put salt in and maybe just maybe a tiny sprinkle of chilli flakes. But it was ok, So was the cake I made yesterday. It’s now nearly nine. I haven’t seen anyone I know all weekend. I’m tired and aching and I seriously think I’m going to shower and go to bed with a cup of tea and a book right now.
It’s the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the town a friend of mine grew up in. The RAF did it. Nearly half the population was made homeless. There was nothing there apart from a beautiful medieval town and the war almost over. I haven’t known whether to mention it to her or not. She has. But what would I say? Sorry about the unpleasantness earlier?
I thought that as I saw someone pressure washing their plastic boat today, cleaning it up in about an hour while it’s taking me a week to do the same thing. That’s the trouble with wooden boats. Sometimes they make you too tired to think. But there’s nothing, really nothing like them at all.