Friday, November 24, 2017

__________________________ BACK TO JOY ___________________________

I was going to call this blog post 'BACK TO WORK' but as the retirement projects I undertake are a great joy ......  then 'BACK TO JOY' it is.

Despite the fact that spending time in one of my favourite countries was an interesting and engaging time, as we returned from eight weeks of late autumn and approaching winter in the UK I could feel and almost hear the promise of a great New Zealand summer as the plane landed.

One of the first jobs I undertook was to give three coats of anti-fouling paint to 'Mariners' little work horse dinghy. This small six footer is permanently tethered to a pontoon and gets a lot of hard knocks and in the past has not had the protection of any bottom paint. With a bit of a scrub every couple of months the dinghy should stay barnacle free until the next round of painting.

The second job I am tackling is replacing the two 'Supersucker' brand self bailers / venturis. These two little beasts have been a nightmare and have leaked copious quantities of water into my Zephyr 'Slipstream' ever since I purchased the boat. I have two new Anderson self bailers on order. The good news is that the new bailers will fit exactly into the holes exited by the old bailers without any modifications. I will be pleased when they are fitted as staring at a couple of oblong holes in the bottom of my boat is a little bit counter intuitive and unnerving.

The third job is to paint 'Mariners' old 8 foot work horse tender that I converted into a traditional sailing dinghy a while ago. This conversion has been one of a few jobs that went on hold when I was dealing to 'Mariners' diesel engine. The colour I have chosen for the hull is 'Pirate Black'.

'Mariner' herself is pretty much in sailable condition although there are a bevy of peripheral reconditioning issues to deal with - bilge pumps, compass, stove being the main ones.

With a very sailable Northland summer on the way, the Zephyr Nationals early next year and my desire to get the traditional 8 footer up and sailing, there is plenty to be going on with.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

_____________________ STICKING TO YOUR KNITTING __________________

The idiom "Stick to your knitting" means to concentrate on what you are good at and familiar with rather than get involved with things you know absolutely nothing about. I have to say this advice is not something that I intuitively follow with the result that I sometimes get involved with things I am not familiar with and always have strong opinions about things I often know absolutely nothing about. Such is life, and I can tell by the sage like nodding of various shipmates heads as they read this that my approach rings a bell in that great book of ubiquitous human behaviour.
Anyway shipmates, recently while in the UK awaiting the birth of our second grand child I happily fulfilled the request of our daughter to use up a couple of large skeins of wool she had on hand and knitted a blanket for the wee sailor who was about to be born.
 Little Salem (above) cooed his approval as he tried out his new blanket.

I have now knitted three articles of clothing. A scarf in the 1960s (When my mother taught me how to do those rudimentary purls and plains - A woollen jersey in the 1990s (yes really, and a pretty good job I did of it too he said modestly) - and now this triumph of large fat knitting needles and chunky wool in 2017. 

With an average interval between knits of about thirty years I will probably be ready to knit something again in 2047 when I will be 96 years old - I can't wait, it's interesting what you can achieve when once begun, you stick to your knitting.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

________________________ A GREAT BLESSING ______________________

Salem John Elliot Hawkins was born in Cambridge UK on the 13th of October 2017. 

All new life is special and in Salems' case this is especially so because the road to his arrival has been a six year journey. His arrival was not without drama as he spent the first six days of his life in intensive care. But all is now well. He is the apple of his parents eyes, a wonder and a great joy. He is all this too for his grandparents who add the observation that: " There's only one thing better than having a grandson and that is, now, having two of them! "

The name Salem means; Peace, Wholeness and Completion. Salem is also reputed to be the original name for Jerusalem - JeruSALEM. His arrival has certainly encapsulated this meaning for all involved. Salems' grandparents will return to NZ feeling ... well.... Blessed!