When I lived in a flat share, any cleaning I did was mainly for show; I wanted my flatmates to be suitably impressed and grateful for the negligible effort I had expended on our communal living space. (They rarely met my expected levels of praise.) Now I live in a place I also own, my attitude towards cleaning has changed a little. It is still mainly motivated by other people (the episode I am writing about today was in part brought about by a friend – let’s call her Bekky – and her three boys coming to stay) but I am less high maintenance about compliments these days.
I took an uncharacteristically systematic approach to the task, going one room at a time (which meant that things I didn’t know what to do with just got moved further down the boat; this combined with my ever waning enthusiasm for tidying meant that the living area is as cluttered as ever). Early success included a newly created fancy dress drawer in the bedroom, and the creation of a dedicated towel-and-spare-sheet shelf in the bathroom. But the big winner of the day was the engine room.
This had not been cleaned since I serviced the engine, and had been putting off ever since. Tis is beacuase it is physically ore challenging than British Military Fitness and bikram yoga combined. I bruised my ribs in my efforts to rid the tray underneath the engine of residue oil (and was only partially successful). I also pumped out a bit of water from the bilge area, and left a towel under the stern gland to catch any stray drips. Here is an educational photo:
I came back to this towel a couple of days later – it was soaked. I don’t really know how much water is an acceptable amount to seep through the propulsion mechanism of a boat, but this seemed excessive for a boat that has just been sitting about without so much as a single revolution of a propeller. At this point I recalled a piece of advice one seasoned boater had given me – put an ice cream tub underneath the stern gland, and then it is much easier to empty the bilges of water (assuming that is the point of water entry). I didn’t have an ice cream tub, but I did have a can-do attitude and a childhood spent watching Blue Peter presenters doing just about anything with sticky back plastic.
I didn’t actually have any sticky back plastic either, so I improvised with a popular brand of cereal box (I don’t want to be accused of product placement unless I am actually being paid for product placement – Kelloggs you know where I am – so just suffice to say it was a breakfast that wass both fruity as well as fibrous), some cling film and tin foil. A possibly waterproof vessel was fashioned and placed under the stern gland, to be inspected in the near future.
Since then I have been unable to bring myself to check on the drip tray. This may be due to my reluctance to admit I have another problem that needs professional attention. Or (more likely), at the moment I can tell myself that my makeshift ice cream tub is a shining example of my creative engineering skills. Without visual proof, I need not admit that cardboard and cling film are not a waterproof alternative to plastic. You could call this Schroedinger’s ice cream tub. But you probably won’t.
This blogpost was brought to you by “I’ll find my way home” by Jon and Vangelis.