Treading Water

2010: Take it easy?

Yes, this was the year we could actually CHOOSE more additional features we wanted to customise this boat with. No more surprise, yet necessary tech upgrades required. In that sense TT was “future proofed” good style at last. But we still had our own ideas…  

On a personal note, Dave took voluntary redundancy in December 2009. How the hell did I forget to mention that momentous event yesterday? Building various different types of planes all his working life finally took off paid off good style.

Think about that next time you take off on an Airbus. Dave’s wings could be keeping you up in the air. (Change the wording a bit and it’s a song). Meanwhile I retired early from managing computer systems before brain drain set in, so we were truly free of the rat race… The champagne flowed…

THEN we got down to business of a totally different kind:

First of all in March 2010, TT was dragged out of the water into the boatshed to have a bow thruster fitted. {Cringe, imagine someone grinding a hole in your hull} She wasn’t happy about her bow being cut through by a welder but that was her problem. The tables had been turned, hey, vice versa dude. WE were the one’s causing hassle. WE were now in charge of changes.

{A bow thruster means that while “one” is stood at the tiller, “one” can press left or right on the keypad and the front of the boat obeys} Hence this boat will actually go sideways. All 23 tons of it. 

Some “old timers” proclaim that a bow thruster is not necessary if you can really drive a boat & gloat. (They kid themselves). Thing is, they also conveniently forget the FACT that without the electrified version, a “human bow thruster” (with a pole) is required at certain times anyway. Oh dear, so which is safer and more efficient…? No university degree necessary… 

The very same “old timers” also reckon a bow thruster is a “girly” thing. Well hey, it’s wonderful when trying to avoid their own wayward narrowboats, (without a bow thruster) while out on the cut! Never mind “girly” think SAFETY AND CONTROL…

Anyway, back to the ch ch ch changes, we also had her bum slapped blacked while she was in dry dock, a repaint from gunnels to bow, and new anodes replaced…

[Anodes attached to the hull repel electricity which is present in water from damaging it. They also protect against rust forming under the water line]

In order to have the bow thruster fitted we had to rip the bedroom out and refit it afterwards, which is something we’d wanted to do anyway. We also did the same with the bathroom. Oh the horrors of having to crunch your way through the ice and snow to a facility block for a shower. Nightmare! 

It took months of refurbishment and was totally worth it.

~~~

We didn’t go over to see our son that year, because previous to November, Liam was on a tour of duty in Afghan. Posted to THE most dangerous place on earth. Thank god, (if there is one, which I sincerely doubt) he came back safe and sound, but one of his friends didn’t. Makes me go cold thinking about it. In reality, religion is to blame for every war on earth…

Ironically, the rest of the year continued as before. He was always in our minds, and we knew he wanted us to carry on as normal. Support from our friends was phenomenal. We kept in touch on Farcebook private messaging, but the internet there was so slow it kept going off, that was sheer torture. I’ll never forget one night we were chatting and he told us he had to go, his base was under fire. Can you imagine how that felt?

I sent an email to the managing director of BBC News 24. To stress the point that they should NOT announce how many troops have been killed in an attack before reporting “next of kin have been informed.” It was nothing short of cruel to military families everywhere, especially when they said what area too. Can you imagine how that felt?

I got an email back saying they would review their reporting procedures on this matter. He was very sympathetic, and after that they did what I’d requested.

Tears in eyes for those troops who didn’t make it…

~~~   

Then in August that year I broke a rib! No, I’m not going to tell you how it happened, it’s just too embarrassing. Ended up being given gas and air on the way to A & E in an ambulance. It made me confide in the paramedic who kept having to remind me not to pull the mask off. He laughed his head off when I told him the truth, and then said “Aye some of the stories I’ve heard luv, I won’t tell a soul.” {Giggle and OUCH!}

I was in hospital for 3 nights drugged up to the eyeballs on super strength painkillers that didn’t work. Scans showed the rib was fractured in 3 places. I came back to the boat on crutches, they came in useful sometimes when making the bed, opening the bin and pushing doors open except they’re no good at closing them…

Just don’t make me laugh please, so what did our friends do? No need to mention. Every joke that’s ever been told (in English) was enhanced and relayed to me in person. Thing is, you can’t get away real quick when you’re on crutches, but they also came in handy for poking clowns in the nether regions…

Dave took me out for a birthday meal, even lifting an arm was agony. I dropped so much food on the floor, Dave reckoned he was going to make up a doggy bag for our friends to share. So who’s gonna argue over the fluffy peas then???

In December 2010, another decision was made, to install a multi-fuel stove. Jeez, the temperature dropped down to minus 17 degrees that winter and central heating alone wasn’t enough. I even moved into a hotel while the job was done…!

By god it was worth it and I’m not referring to the “prison” hotel. Once the Squirrel was up and running, it was a case of “peel off the layers” inside the boat, whatever the weather outside. Sit there in your undies and be happy when the weather’s totally crappy…

Busy year, but WE were calling the shots. Total OPTIONAL cost for 2010: Well over 10 grand…

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