The second boat to the left of my sensible hat (the yacht with the blue main boom cover) is the good ship Mariner. She was glad to see me return, in fact she tugged at her mooring lines in the gentle wind, winked at me and implored me to go sailing - with the caveat that I scrub and paint the dinghy first.
One of the happy tasks that fell to me as I left a Netherlands northern hemisphere Indian Summer moving reluctantly into Autumn - was to embrace a New Zealand / Whangarei Spring that had out foxed Winter with its warm embrace and bold proclamation of Summer. I love the Northern summers on the coast, sailing, the light bright, bright, bright - the water iridescent, the sky huge, Mariner leaning into the afternoon lugging a big sail - I like all that - a lot.
There was a warm wind blowing up the river as I made my way down the jetty to the pontoon to Mariners dinghy. It was a good sailing breeze and I would have liked to have gone sailing but first things first - The dinghy needed some repairs and the bottom painted with anti fouling paint.
One of the advantages of spending four years building a yacht and living the blood, sweat and tears of that experience is that it makes the easy jobs - well, easy, outrageously easy and enjoyable - painting a dinghy in the sun is a relaxing meditative occasion compared with the white knuckle stress of heating and pouring 2 tons of lead ballast, or carting a 12 meter mast illegally tied to the side of a Morris 1100 car at 3 o'clock in the morning. Yes, it was an easy and enjoyable job.
When I started training for my cycling in the Netherlands I weighed 97 kilograms. When I returned I weighed 89.7 kilograms. This picture shows that I am but a shadow of my former self - which is a really corny line isn't it, but I can't think of a better line than that and I quite like the photo and wanted to use it on this post.
The repairs included some gluing up of the gunwales which have cracked in places - yacht dinghies are real work horses and really do get a battering, especially if they are permanently moored to a pontoon all the time.
The completed paint job. The blue anti fouling paint should keep the dinghy reasonably clean of barnacles and weed for a year or so - with the odd hauling out and scrubbing.
When I had finished painting I heard Mariner shout out 'yippee' - I know what that means - she wants a rollicking good sail down the harbour - and who am I to deny her, her hearts desire.