Sunday, February 24, 2008

As I type this post I can hear car horns blaring in the distance. They've been going for about 2 hours solidly. Yes! It's election-time. No! I'm not talking about the US of A.

Cyprus has a new President. Most of the world probably hasn't noticed, unless you guys can hear the car horns from outside? You can probably hear them in Egypt. Normally you only hear car-horns blaring for ages when someone gets married here. Or, rather, I suppose, when two people get married. But anyway. Then they drive through the whole town, down the seafront, with loads of guests following with all the horns blaring.

Part of me usually thinks "there they go again! noisy so-and-sos." in a not especially interested kind of way, another part of me thinks "lucky them" and is slightly jealous.

I've been doing quite a bit more work on Dad's boat again. I really miss having access to loads of decent tools easily... Especially marline spikes and sailmaker's palms. Also good strong needles. I've broken 2 so far. Sorry mum..

Anyway. This is my current "ditty bag" of stuff. (Speaking of which, I should make a real ditty bag. Another good project to start looking into...)

Needle and thimble (borrowed from mum.). A thimble kind of works as a palm if you reverse it, put the needle base inside the thimble, and push from outside.

Swiss Army knife, a birthday present from before I "ran away to sea".

And a new mini-marlinespike/fid. (The blue thing) I think it's supposed to be a die or other kind of hole punching thingy, but I saw it in a hardware store and thought "ha! finally!". I need to file the end a bit, and perhaps try and drill a hole for a lanyard, but otherwise it works well.

This is the new rudder downhaul. The thicker part is "shotcord", springy rubber-filled bungy-line, and the thinner part is a basic thin braided rope with the core taken out for flexibility. The whole is used to pull the rudder down into the water. We're currently totally overhauling it, dad's made a new stock (top bit) for it, and I'm stripping and varnishing the blade. This is the old rudder downhaul.

Not terribly good condition.

And here is the new join between the shotcord and regular line.

Two seized eyes together.
Same kind of work as the ladder making, just a lot smaller!

And here's a slightly more "artsy" shot of my tools.
I'm also remaking my website, doing a total re-design and everything, this time using CSS. I'll try and link more with this blog, and get some of the more interesting bits of the last two years as proper articles there, so it can all be linked up nicely. I've not done any web-design for about 3 years, so I'm a bit out of practice. It's fun to get my hand in again. Some parts of CSS are really annoying me though. I had some ideas for the design which I think would have worked well, but I just could NOT get to work with CSS in any normal/sane way. Anyway, it's mostly working now, designwise, I just need to add all the content to the new design, then upload everything. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So. More about Cyprus. It's wintertime, right now. That means cold. Freezing icy blasts of super-chilled air writhing and curling around in whirlpools of semi-defrosted almost-liquid oxygen, CO2, cigarette smoke, car fumes, and various other frigid things which make up common Larnaka air.

OK. So, slight exaggeration on the whole coldness thing. It was about 12 today, I guess. Still, that's pretty cold, especially as it was about 37 when I left Doulos.

Also, Larnaka is really clean, mostly. Not so polluted at all. It's beautiful, actually.

I've been helping a little at the theatre where I was working. This is the set from their new play "The History of Cyprus in 60 minutes", which my dad and I helped set up the lights for last week. I also recorded it on video for one of the actors. I'd love to actually record it properly, with multiple decent cameras, tripods and so on. This was just a single home camera.

I've also been helping my dad a little at the office, doing a bit of logo/animation, and probably will do some more soon.

I've been helping him a bit more with his boat too, whipping/splicing/seizing, etc. This is the new out-haul block (I think. So many ropes on this little boat, I forget what they're all for right now, as I've STILL not been out sailing on it...).

Anyway. It's funny doing all this ropework on such tiny little ropes. Kind of like working on a model railway, or something. It's nice though. I like it a lot.

Here is the new jib sheet (again, I think). We got this rig idea from his Wayfarer Book, and then I whipped it up. There are 3 seporate seizings to to make up this next piece. It should hold nicely, and will be good to work with. I've no idea how much pressure it'll actually be taking, so I look forward to going out sailing soon to get more of an idea.

Today we also started work replacing the rudder stock. The old one is kind of shot, and so we're making it almost completely afresh from (hopefully) marine ply. This is the old one (dismantled).

And here is the new one to be. We've jigsawed it, and now it's being held and glued overnight so we can finish the two halfs and then start varnishing the pieces tomorrow, hopefully.
So, I'm still getting to use my Deckie skills. I miss ships so much. Maybe it's just I miss Doulos... but I do miss ships. I miss sea-watch. I miss working with cargo, mooring stations, ropework, water tanks, painting, loading water, blocks and purchesses, bosun's chairs, stages, all of it. *sigh*

Is it the work I miss, or is it just the people, my ship, my home of the last 2 and a bit years?

I feel part of it is the work. I also know I was so tired of it by the end. So tired of Deck Dept, so tired of the long hours and stress as waterman.

Will I ever do that work again? Except in Dry-docks on Doulos? Only God knows...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yes, I'm back in Cyprus, at last. My last post showed a photo from the window of my accommodation at our office in Quinta, so now I'll start with a photo showing the view from my bedroom at my parents new house:

These are water tanks, so of course, of special interest to Yours Truly, being an ex-waterman, and everything. The top tank is a cold water tank, and the lower one hot water. The two panels by each box are the solar-heating panels for the hot water tank. These tanks are quite a bit smaller than our Doulos tanks, of course. Combined volume on these tanks would be roughly 1-2 tons, as opposed to the roughly 800 ton capacity for freshwater on Doulos, that's theoretical, as normally we'd have to be much much less loaded, as the ship would be too low in the water.

Virtually every house in Cyprus has one of these dual-tank combinations on top. Sometimes, as in this photo, a house will have 2 sets of tanks. Cypriot architecture is usually great, I love being back here in Cyprus, seeing all of the lovely houses and Mediterranean styles of building, but the omnipresent water tanks are a massive ugly blot on the face of Cyprus building style.

My parents moved house while I was gone. (They did tell me...), but it's a bit odd, anyway. Kind of being "at home", kind of totally not. It's a really cool house. It's got a single level guest flat on the ground floor, and then a totally separate 2 story house ON TOP of the first one! So excellent for having guests/familys to stay. Speaking of which, we have a family staying with us right now, really cool family.

I'm speaking about Doulos at the youthgroup tomorrow, and then probably at church sometime soon, and perhaps the other churches around soon as well.

I'll blog more soon.