Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Beam me up

Photo taken by Markus from the top of Enki's mast
I wish I could say that this was Enki parked somewhere other than Port Napoleon, Pontoon E, but unfortunately not. We've had another setback. I'm calm now, but I haven't been calm. There have been tears. Our long-awaited davits, finally welded in place on Monday, don't work, and we won't be going anywhere until they do. As they stand, they can't lift the Zodiac dinghy. There's nothing wrong with the functioning of the davits - they're Simpson, a Rolls Royce brand, able to carry a load of 175 kg - but Sylvain, that charming rogue, has welded them onto the davit shoes at the wrong angle, so they're like splayed feet.

It wasn't immediately obvious. We were so dazzled by the stainless on our stern on Monday afternoon when he finally finished. "Tough," he pronounced, hanging his weight against each one. The next morning, as we looked at weather forecasts, and thought of bringing forward our departure, Alex went to hook up the dinghy and stood there, stunned. Sylvain and Matthew hadn't bothered to check what they were doing against the measurements of the Zodiac which has been sitting right beside the boat on the pontoon all the time. Dave and Alex have now done the maths. The davits need to be swivelled 12.5 degrees inwards to connect at the correct angle to the lifting straps of the inflatable. Trouble is, Silvain has welded the bolts into place. Oh la la. That's not actually what we're saying.

I still don't like the boating life. Or perhaps it's the south of France I don't like, or the offhand attitude of the marine industry to its customers. I can't decide which. But does it matter? Much further east, Syrian soldiers are murdering children in their beds.  All around us, the eurozone is making nasty splintering sounds. As I went to sleep last night, I tried to imagine myself into the head of Barack Obama as he and Michelle turned in. A bit strange, but I needed to get out of my own head. Which problem would they be trying to solve tonight? What's the next move with the treacherous Assad? How could they make any sense of European double-speak?

Our cruising time in the Schengen zone has been eaten away by the incompetence and shockingly blase work practices we've encountered in Port Napoleon. But so what? We've learned some hard lessons. We'll never again leave our boat in a yard when we want work done on her, and expect the work to be done when we return. We'll demand definite start and finish times from any workmen we employ in the future, or move on (if we can). We've been too trusting, including Alex, which is saying something.


  1. allright - I'm sure this is quite inadequate compensation for tears shed - but, from a reader's perspective, this is all great - TENSION! CONFLICT! HARDSHIP (well, sort of...). These are the parts of a story that keep our interest - so, if nothing else, know that your life is making for interesting copy just now. AND, we'll all feel that much more ennobled by your example when you finally overcome...

    Until then, hugs from all the Galactics.

  2. Love the life you live. Live the life you love XX