Frost stopped play.

Final Pathfinder project build post for 2021.

Exit year stage hard left.

The Interesting Times Gang here :

Blog time : as i write it’s December 2021 and the year feels flat ,grey and fagged out , not only that but we’ve had the first frosts here ; when i went down to the shed to open up this morning there was a rime of ice on a bucket of water i left standing and a light frost on the garden edge leaf mulch. I was going to try and do a couple of small jobs just to keep the project moving forward a little but the inside of the workshop and therefore the epoxy resin , primer and paint and so on were far too cold to work with so iv’e packed them all into a crate and brought them inside.

The last few days here have reminded me strongly of some days in late autumn and winter as a child growing up in East Anglia – days that were grey and dank with the air cold and heavy with low lying coal smoke from the many chimneys and trudging home in the late afternoon as a dull and sun-less afternoon faded into a dead evening.

In terms of construction work then that really is it for this year, not that there’s much of this one left but i have used most of November, as planned, to rip into the garden work and the heavy maintenance jobs outside ; iv’e moved a couple of meter square builders bags full of wet clay soil, planted several hundred bulbs for next spring and had a thorough tidy up so the site looks less like a disaster zone. In personal terms iv’e swapped over to winter mode now so although i spend as much time outside as i can and get as much sunlight as possible (i’m very prone to SAD) i’m slowly transferring my attention to work inside with lots of project planning to do and my writing work to pick up on again.

On the bench.

The last job that i’m doing this year is preparing the forward part of the boat such that i can close the compartments that will be under the bunk flat/sole board area – this having 4 boards shaped to fit just inside the hull and which all needed careful (as i can) slow fettling to fit. Iv’e primed and painted all of those compartments between frames 1 and 4 that i need to access – the ones that i will use for stowage, the other ones being left in an epoxy finish) , fitted one side (starboard) of the sole board bearers and this week glued 2 of the finished boards in place.

This morning in-between writing and frequent coffee breaks i’m filling in the tops of the countersunk screws and hopefully later on i might get to run some glass tape down the join between the boards ; i can’t put the other side in because iv’e got to make provision for the electrical system which will run that side – and i can’t do that until the cable, cable ties and so on arrive this week .

End of year post.

For the last few years it’s been my custom and practice to write a short reflection on the year’s sailing just gone and to think out loud my ideas and tentative plans for the next year. Well, this year’s sailing report will be easy to do – here goes :

There, that was quick and it didn’t even need a photograph.

As a side note to the sailing that didn’t happen this year then the big event that we’d planned for this year was a long trip to the Utah canyonlands followed by a road trip down through Monument Valley and Joshua Tree – well that didn’t happen either for obvious reasons.

Next year i hope to finish my Pathfinder dinghy to at least the point that it can go in the water for sailing trials and maybe even do a short trip depending on how well i get on with the project and how much of the important stuff i can afford ; iv’e pretty well spanked the budget for this year and having a breather and spending break right now is a good idea. I think i’m about half way through the build because although iv’e got a mostly complete hull it isn’t decked, doesn’t have a shelter, the bottom isn’t finished and i haven’t even thought about the rig….well, thought about but not started.

Most of the major expense is yet to go and the largest single item will most likely be a break-back trailer closely followed by the sails and there again a small outboard motor would be handy . Quite soon i need to buy the material to make the masts from and in a planning post early next year i’ll lay out the various options that iv’e found so far. Before the end of the year i still need more plywood to finish making the cockpit seats and i’m close to working out which big battery to buy although right now my project needs are just glassfiber cloth, more resin and some more primer paint.

For those sailors that are keeping an eye on this iv’e also been doing more work on my proposal for a Watertribe/Everglades Challenge kind of event down here in the south-west and i also put a lot of time working on a similar idea for a race on the east coast – harder for me because i don’t know the east coast well enough. If i can get the Pathfinder finished then one of my main plans for it’s sea trials is to sail the course that i’m proposing and in both of it’s current variants – those being from a starting point somewhere around the head of the Helford or Fal rivers and a finishing point near the head of navigation in the Exe……with the side option of crossing Lyme bay and finishing near Portland/Weymouth. I know the ‘course’ well enough because iv’e sailed it all in both directions and iv’e been into most of the harbors, rivers and get-out points. My main work has been on a recommendations/ guidelines and rule set which is mainly ‘run what ya brung’, that it’s the individuals responsibility to either start or not and nothing like as equipment prescriptive and inspection committee driven as the US events.

It’s been an increasingly strange, even bizarre year though, even with really only being here and working on the project , for sure we got away for 2 short breaks under canvas of the other kind but nothing like the 110 days i spent at sea around the Brittany coast in 2019 and not even like the quite funny disasters of 2020 but at least i haven’t had to deal with the petty parking attendants cum harbourmasters as we did in that year. What follows is my attempt at a reflection on some of the increasingly strange and disturbing times that we live in.

The other year – the year in stupid.

So, this is now my 4th attempt to write an end of year post that covers some of the other stuff that iv’e been paying attention to when iv’e not been hard at work on and completely engaged with my boat building project ; this is a small portion of the other reality that comes rushing in whenever i open my internet browser. One positive reflection on the year just gone is that iv’e spent it doing a lot of everyday problem solving and then when i down-tools at the end of the season i ripped into a month of heavy and dirty work as though it was hardly there – problem solving seems to be as good for me now as when i was a clinical specialist nurse. To use a modern term boatbuilding feels very based especially when it’s combined with something ultra simple like having my hands in soil and growing some vegetables – tonight for example i cooked our dinner using one of the onions i grew this year.

To coin a phrase which i heartily detest iv’e had to create a ‘new normal‘ in the way that i live, that’s partially because in terms of my past job in nursing -i’m fully retired although still on the emergency register (NMC), i’m not at sea though which i was in my retirement year (2019) and yet iv’e been busier both physically and mentally than iv’e been for many years. I don’t know why this is but one thing that really grinds my gears is when i hear people parroting the new words and phrases that seem to get passed along and down from the cultural elites and ‘influencers’ ……just a few years ago i hadn’t even heard of such a thing as an influencer – can’t people even think for themselves now ?.

My new normal then is that i get up, have a coffee and do my morning admin and then ‘walk to work’ – all 30 yards down to the shed and start whatever practical work that i’m doing that day, then, aside from breaks for coffee and biscuits that about it for the day until i make our dinner later on. On days when my partner is on a day shift she leaves the house at 06 and doesn’t get home until 2100 and between those times it’s not unusual for me to have no contact whatsoever with another person and iv’e become very used to that. I have treated this project more like a job than a hobby because i really need to get it done ; i don’t intend to become a long term hobby boatbuilder, rather that the purpose and product of this year’s work is to get back out there and start my next major adventure.

Now ok- that might be perfect zero social contact and the ultimate social distancing and yes i’m an introvert and almost completely asocial but even so it’s an extremely strange way to live – iv’e even thought about getting a job stacking supermarket shelves just so that i have some social contact because i don’t think this ‘new normal’ is anything of the kind. In this i’m reminded by something one of my more astute former colleagues said – that without the part time job i used to do i would stop having to cope with the stupid people and i would simply become even more like myself and go more into my own world.

Iv’e found though that when i do let the world rudely interrupt my solo shedi existence that it’s an increasingly bizarre, strident, polarized and deeply stupid world that is coming down the broadband ; from governments that have gone from democratic to full-on dictatorships, to entire peoples that have , sheep like, freely and willingly rushed to give up their freedoms…..they won’t be getting them back any time soon either. It’s as though the world is acting out this rule – ‘as below, so above’ – that my individual model of becoming more like myself is repeated on and up the system so that governments that like making rules now love enforcing them violently, media and press secrataries that have lied once now do so all the time and the world of corporate greed now does it’s stuff naked and unmasked.

I now don’t know a single person who trusts their own government either at the international level (the EU comes to mind) their national government or their regional ones – government and media now seem to be the most distrusted of any organization and ‘science’, and then big pharma following closely behind. It also seems to be an increasingly corporate driven world although in a way most of the big corporations and multi-billionaires – Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos et al, just seem more nakedly obvious about being what they are….as though they, unchallenged , now just become fully what they are and everyone else becomes a kind of corporate serf and simultaneous prisoner of big state. I wondered if i wasn’t just developing some kind of world hating resentment this year and especially this autumn when iv’e been watching this kind of stuff – but then i found that i became fascinated by and even respecting some of the modern entrepeneurs like Elon Musk for one and equally strange the social commentator Peter Hitchens for another : i don’t totally agree with either but respect both. The strangest turnaround for me has been watching the former star and celebrity known as Russel Brand – still got far too much to say but what he is saying at least seems to be on point.

Who now honestly trusts or has any respect for the mainstream media – in the United States CNN or MSNBC – or in the United Kingdom the BBC ? who trusts and ‘follows the science’ when science becomes more like that old accountants joke ; what is 2 + 2 and where the scientists answer seems to be ‘whatever you pay us to make it’ !. Does anyone still respect academia when all that now seems to be is a hard left indoctrination camp and one that cannot tolerate anything outside a narrow and ultimately divisive ideology ?…….i could go on but what’s the point ?. In an earlier iteration of this post i tried to pick out one ultimately stupid event or idea from each of the main problem areas but there were so many that i just got lost in it.

One bizarre and truly sick thing from the world of academia did rise , scum-like, to the top of the bucket and that was an event run by a college professor and was an attempt to justify , support and normalise the sexual attraction of some adults to children. Rather than simply calling it pedophilia the professor , as is the radical left’s way, tried to slip around the issue by changing the words just a little…’s now often referred to as ‘MAN’* or ‘minor attractive normative’ ; so yes they are after your children and not just to indoctrinate them or turn them into 1984-like informers as recently happened in Scotland.

You can see the problem i had with this post – now on version 5 and i still keep disappearing down the same dark alley of things that i can’t ignore but can’t do a damn thing about and all it seems that i can do is go hide in my little corner, build my little boat with the hope of a better year to come, tend my little garden and maybe write a few words that inspire someone else to get out there and do it all themselves. It doesn’t seem enough though : as one friend pointed out that it’s all well and good me building a boat when in his country they have lost their freedom and are living in a dictatorship run by a hard left ideologue ; when i wrote this post, which was at the end of November things were bad……now they’re even worse. **

No turnig indeed….and you are definitely being watched !

Iv’e spent days mainly just thinking about this while i throw soil around by the ton or plant bulbs by the hundred ; jobs that need a lot of physical effort but which afford freedom to think about things other than this mark, this edge and this glue line. Each morning my main effort has been to come to the keyboard and try to transfer some of that thinking to words on screen ; the boat project work being easy because i can just record what iv’e done but the more free-form thinking time has been much harder to translate – at least it seems so when i go back to it and am immediately embarrassed by how trite and formulaic my words are.

It’s far too easy and over used an opinion to say that the world has become ‘Orwellian’ , as in the novels Animal Farm and 1984 , and yet it does seem to be the case that it really is : words and speech are either suppressed , twisted or deleted or new ones created to slide around an ugly truth. Humour is canceled or the comic is arrested and prosecuted because what he (it’s usually he) has said has offended some sensibility or more likely a new power has assumed that somebody somewhere is offended. Dissent is rapidly becoming illegal – take the Australian examples where dissent to the party line now results in arrest and a charge of incitement to a criminal act….a criminal act like walking on the street and protesting perhaps. Many ordinary people now live in fear of their governments…..that needs to change and many of them need to become afraid of the people once more.

There…….off down the rabbit hole again.

Exit year hard left.

*Just in case you don’t believe me :

Professors for pedophilia

Internment camps.

Australia’s finest :

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