Autumn rain and exit strategies.

This is the first of my 3 planned posts for the end of 2018 and this one is kind-of 2 posts rolled into one.   It’s also the first one in which the main focus for me is the video content as i get used to all the new camera equipment*  .  This one will be a general introduction to what is going on and what i think is going to happen next.

In early November when i was writing that post and anticipating going back to work we had days of heavy rain down here in the south-west.           The local river, upstream of the tidal weir, went over it’s banks and washed a whole load of debris downstream.  Upriver of where i live the river goes through a cascade/gorge-like section which is heavily overgrown with large beech and oak trees.  During periods of heavy rain the high river flow can chew away at the banks and take out several trees that tend to lean heavily over the river.  Although this river isn’t canoe’d and kayaked as much as it should be : it’s got some excellent rapids, the fallen trees would make very severe hazards until they get swept down the river.    What does happen eventually is that they all get washed down the river, go over the weir and then get caught up on the river moorings or drift into the shallows and sit there, often for years on end.

This time at least 10 or so large trees came down the river….or very large branches off the big ones, and did quite a lot of damage to moored boats.   All that happened to my boat is that a tree got caught up on and chafed through the mooring strops and then she went ‘walkabout’ but being a good little girlie she parked herself neatly against the yard pontoon until Chris the boss came along and put her on a new mooring.  Right now i’m waiting to see if there is a spot for me ashore or at least alongside in the mud so that i can get on with the planned winter refit.  Downstream of the yard there is at least one good boatman with a powerful working boat : when he has the time he goes out on the river and tows the bigger stuff onto a slip where it gets cut up for firewood….and well done too as that must prevent a lot of boat damage lower down the river.

Once the rains had cleared we had a spell of bright and breezy autumnal weather and i managed to get some nice shots down at the yard.  I did try a video clip and i will explain in the actual video why that didn’t work out.  As i write, the clear autumn days have degraded into dull, grey and wet winter ones typical of the south-west.

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Autumn projects.

In this post i mainly want to talk about the new aspect of my sailing and blogging project and that is primarily about the new equipment which i have bought and am setting up so that i can film and make basic video clips for the blog.    Towards the end of my time away from work i pretty much came to the conclusion that i would be keeping the Liberty to continue my sailing project with rather than buying a larger boat.  By not having to keep every penny aside for a larger boat i decided to just go ahead and buy a complete, new, although largely secondhand camera set-up for the project.  At the same time i also came to the realisation that there are several things i won’t be doing in the future so i took a long hard look at all my outdoors kit and decided to sell anything that i’m not likely to use again .  By getting a load of nice outdoor kit sold i also hoped to balance up the amount going out for the new camera kit : so far i am a bit down on the total but not doing badly and what that means is that i can also afford to run a boat refit on the Liberty and spend some cash on tools and workshop stuff.  In the second of the 2 posts i will cover what i have been doing in the workshop as that’s going to be where i plan to do some of the work.

In December, as i edit the post, most of my new camera kit has arrived and i have been playing around with setting that up and modifying the new (secondhand) Peli case that will be my onboard camera case.   Today i sent off the last item on the current ‘to go’ list and the takings for the sell-off come close to balancing up the cost of most of the new kit so it hasn’t been too painful cost wise.  I wasn’t able to video the unpacking of the new kit for this post because my old camera just didn’t want to play in video mode and then completely spat it’s dummy out when it came to downloading what i had managed to capture.  I think that the old camera did get damaged when i got deliberately soaked by the jetski morons last year.  The old camera does still work for stills but there is a problem with the downloading of pictures.  I will continue to carry the older Pentax for stills work while i get used to the more complex Canon and at some time will buy a second, used camera body as a back up.   Right now i am sorting out spare batteries and storage cards.  One thing that does look useful is that i have been able to get both 240V AC and 12V DC USB chargers for the Canon’s batteries so i can have a charging station on the boat.


The November practical project aside from running (limping) up and down to the post office was getting in the workshop, sorting out the stuff that’s for sale and then actually starting the work on the new tool storage.  That turned into quite a nice little practical project and has inspired me to sort out the main workbench and timber storage.  I’m going to cover the tool storage build and maybe the first stage of the workshop refit in the third and possibly final post for this year.  The nice discovery this autumn was how much i enjoyed watching some of the ‘maker’ channels on You-tube, from film prop makers like Adam Savage, through workshop guru’s like Jimmy Diresta and total nutcases like Colin Furze and Simone Giertz….just to name a few.     Well, it’s the first time ever that i have had a workshop (of sorts) even if it’s damp, cool and decidedly wonky.     I almost can’t decide what i want to build first so i have taken a hint from Adam Savage in that when he doesn’t know what to do he just works on workshop infrastructure….just about anything i can in there will improve the place.


Autumn and work/exit strategies.

I honestly think that it’s time for me to stop working and instead actually go sailing ! i also think that it’s time to do the kind of sailing that i want to do rather than frantically rushing from place to place in narrow weather slots such as i have been doing this year. As i may have said before i would then regard the sailing and the blog/vlog as a kind of full time hobby/job and try to do the best i can with the writing, the photography and the video work.

Unless something very strange happens it’s most likely that the little Liberty will be our long term boat rather than anything larger and that the best thing to do now is set her up for longer trips. Right now i am trying to arrange with the yard to get her either on the slip or at least on the mud so that i can get aboard and start the work.          I am  thinking about fitting a pansy stove like the one we had on Inanda because i want to spend time aboard in the autumn and spring when it tends to be very cold on the river.  I will cover the refit plans in an early new year post once i can get aboard .   If that does happen, and it looks likely, then it might be worth investing in a trailer so that wherever i get to i can always either bring her home or tow her to a less expensive yard for the winters.   Also if i don’t use all my capital on a larger boat i can set up her up much better for living aboard and making allowance for my reduced boat mobility.

I will deal with the work side first : most regular readers will know that i work part time in the NHS having ‘retired’ some 5 years ago and then gone back to part time work.  What i actually do now is very much a ‘production line’ kind of job where the work is not only very routine but now quite physically difficult after my knee replacement.              As i write i am on a staged return to work and it’s not going well especially when i stand for long periods which is a necasary part of the job i do.   Although i am giving it an honest trial it’s horribly uncomfortable and it feels as though i am on a knife edge with pain and lack of mobility all the time.        This has a lot to do with the outcome from my knee replacement this year, and while the new joint is fine it has worsened my existing back problems such that i can neither sit nor stand for any length of time without a lot of pain, sitting down after a long period standing or walking is now a very painful experience and getting up again even worse.

I spent the last 6 weeks of my time off trying to get fit to work again and while i got up to 15,000 pace days and a couple of hundred press-ups the result was also a shocking increase in pain.   There might be a way forward to improve my back problems and that is something i will be working on during the next 4 months which is , i have decided, crunch-time.  If i only sound like a moany old git with a bad back then so be it !

The reality is that i have worked for the NHS at least some of the time since 1981, most of that full time, some of it more than full time in between voyages.  Most of that time has been in intensive care or similar, or specialist nurse jobs.          It would be very easy to be bitter and cynical about the NHS and i refuse to be because i know the service it actually provides and that the service is working continuously beyond it’s real capacity is just an everyday fact.         It definitely isn’t the same NHS as i started in some 37 years ago but then why should it be ? for years it’s been a political football, kicked around by ignorant and uninformed politicians who would rather see it all privatised and forever harp on about efficiency.   Nursing and nurses have changed too, nursing and nurses were once regarded highly by society , the media and government : not so now when the media look for every opportunity to highlight some failure or error and where our own government will hardly even talk to registered nurses.             I for one could have quite happily punched the last health minister in the face for his arrogant intransigence and unwillingness to even speak to real NHS staff.    Understanding that i have got to that point is, i think, a good indication to get out.  Within nursing i think now that we are our own worst enemies, or at least our nurse managers are, in that every change seems to come with an increased load of paper-work and micro-management, most of which is total BS and none of which improves the actual service we provide.

I came across this quote recently and it’s been in my mind ever since. It reminds me of the time i quite literally ran away to sea to sail in the Whitbread race.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224


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