Coddiwomple

CODDIWOMPLE

(Click on images to enlarge)

Summer Sky

Coddiwomple, Old English slang meaning to journey purposefully toward a vague destination. It is also the name of a cute little boat recently arrived on the dock. Of course I had to look it up. It could be the description of a person’s life. Then there’s the timeless oxymoron about military intelligence. Two young men in naval uniforms complete with black life jackets and black crash helmets arrived yesterday morning at the dock in a hefty inflatable boat. When it was time to leave, their outboard motor would not start. I watched the performance which largely involved frantic heaving on the starter rope. This old mechanic finally volunteered to them that for whatever reason the motor was not getting any fuel and that they should check the connections on the gas line. They thanked me and continued to jerk the rope. I couldn’t go have a look, I was in the midst of my final bit of painting. There was prolonged loud discussion with mothership on their vhf radio which descended to a focus on the fuel primer bulb. “No, no, the bulb is still soft.” (It becomes hard when full of fuel and the system is pressurized.) After nearly a half-hour they finally clipped the fuel hose back onto the tank and zoom-zoomed off into the sunrise. Sleep tight, your navy is awake!

Our marina early in the morning. As usual, even in mid-week, it is full.

I’ve watched folks become infuriated with their dead outboard and pull away on the starting rope until it broke or until their arms nearly dropped off. There’s nothing to diminish your spirits like the sound of the starter recoil spring zlithering and sproinging around inside the engine cowling. Then, finally, it is discovered that all along, the ignition safety switch was off. To further the frustration, it takes someone else to make that discovery. Yep, I’ve done it too. Remember the movie “Sling Blade?” There’s a wonderful scene where the village idiot quietly watches the local lawn mower mechanic fight all day with a dead motor. Finally the protagonist announces that he “Reckons it’s outta gas. Uh huh.” Start with the simple things first.

We have all kinds of visitors.
At least he had a courtesy flag.

A venerable Pacific 30 beautifully refitted with a pilot house. You don’t have to be big or shiny to be gorgeous.

The painting is now complete on the boat, so instead of having been on the dock at first light to beat the sun, I sit here enjoying the decadence of writing while sipping coffee. Of course, today there is some cloud cover, perfect for painting. You can tell I am not an enthusiastic painter. The secret is in the preparation which can means hours of sanding, filling and sanding. Pull marks from a dry brush or runs from too much paint are the marks of carelessness. Then there are the spatters, especially when applying a dark colour near a lighter one. There is a technique of applying the paint, first by roller then followed by brush, not too dry, not too wet. Painting in direct sunlight is an invitation for disaster, the paint wants to dry faster than it can be applied and there is a sticky mess waiting to happen. Only experience can teach the best method. Then in gleaming glory, the paint begins to dry, all the while attracting all sorts of insects, airborne seeds, hairs and pieces of lint. Finally you peel off the masking tape and…SHIT! It ran beneath the tape. Actually, there is no substitute for good masking tape, which, of course, is the most expensive, but you get what you pay for. I’ve found a product called ‘Frog’ which works really well.

Really good masking tape.

It is finished. New windows, new paint, new stanchions, new lifelines, new ‘For Sale’ sign. I feel horrible to even try selling her, but life goes on with or without things and it is time to put the fleece out and see what happens.

I learned to hate painting when, as a boy, I often made a little cash schlocking white on fences and houses. My passion for painting is right next to mowing lawns and anything involving shovels. Then there’s picking berries. At least there is a reward at the end of the endeavour without any delayed gratification. Jack and I went out at first light armed with a bucket. A light breeze prevented any dew; perfect! Mourning doves wha-coo-hooed while a bumper crop of rabbits kept Jack entertained. I dealt with the bumper crop of blackberries. The first ones are ripening and there will be a harvest that goes on for weeks. I’ve never seen so many.

Never before have I seen such a crop of blackberries.
Himalayan Blackberries are an invasive species which thrive here. We all have a love/hate relationship with them.

A few days later. The love part.

Jack the hunter, I the gatherer. Note the rusty rails, a sad comment on our island railway.

There’s a whole lot of gathering going on.

Meanwhile in the forest life evolves with the seasons as ever.

A paper condo.

Things are even busy on the web.

A Dogpatch drifter, it looks interesting from a distance.

A local beach shack. I remember when poor people lived by the sea and ate fish.

The biggest, sweetest berries are at the end of the highest thorniest vines, well above where dogs may have peed. Having leathery old mechanic’s hands is a bonus. I hold a smaller cup-sized container beneath the fruit I’m picking and then transfer that, when full, to the bucket. That saves a lot of painful moves among the brambles and speeds up the gathering. There’s your blog-tip from this hunter-gatherer-mechanic. Now as the sun rises and the world heats up, it’s time to head to the boat for some finishing touches. Just another perfect early-summer Sunday on a beautiful Pacific Island.

It is a busy time under the waxing August moon.

We are all the architects of our own despair.” …Jill Bailey

13 responses to “Coddiwomple

  1. What’s this? For sale? I know you’ve talked about it but…

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  2. Yeah I know… I need a miracle.

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  3. hi Fred I see your already have blackberry’s down there , and a fine looking sailboat, so this is good by for now monday i am flying out of vancouver with island-air changing in Reykjavik to Copenhagen be back aug 14 see ya niels.

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  4. Awww I can’t imagine you without your boat!

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  5. Hope if you have to sell it, you sell it to someone with lot’s of money who needs to keep a captain aboard full time.

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    • Nope! I won’t work for anyone else, especially on my beloved. Even if I’m down to a backpack, I want to stay in command of m y fate. Bu thanks for the caring comment.
      Fred

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  6. I love the pictures which tell a tale about the harbor and beyond. The narrative fills in the rest in case we missed anything from those beautiful pictures. This post allows us to live vicariously as if we were there with you in beautiful B.C. But, I always read the fine print and surely you are not selling the “Seafire” – say it isn’t so Fred!

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    • Linda:
      In the end it is all just stuff and if that’s what defines my life, it is time to have a hard think. That’s what
      I’m telling myself. Actually I’m terrified of the thought of life without ‘Seafire’ but can’t go it alone anymore. Still hoping for a miracle.
      Thank you for your lovely remarks.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fred – I’m sorry you have to let go of the “Seafire” which fuels your spirit and passion for the water and adventure. Now that the repairs are done, could you consider putting the boat into dry dock/storage until a better time for you, and while you pursue other options? I hope you find your miracle.

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  7. Linda:
    Thanks for your concern
    Storing the boat costs money as well. I want to pay off some bills and just be free. Lots of other boats out there. You’re lovelyu!
    Thanks
    Fred

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  8. Thanks very much!

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