Monday 12 February 2007

Northwesterly force 7 to 8

The plan was to glue the scarf joints yesterday but it was too windy. The thought of taking a ply sheet from where it’s stacked, in a small covered terrace, and transferring it to the workbench, brought to mind images of disaster.

I know what it can be like carrying a windsurfing sail to the beach, get the wind underneath it and you’re off like a dandelion seed, or worse show the leech to the prevailing breeze and the sail, suddenly transformed into a black belt judo expert, can flip over and pin you to the ground. It once happened to me while crossing a road; I had to negotiate a lamppost, a skip and a narrow gap between parked cars to access a zebra crossing. Turning this way and that in the strong wind a gust caught the leech. The sail flipped forcing me out on to the road and then wrestled me to my knees, I grinned at the po-faced occupants of a patiently waiting 4x4 then struggled to my feet but, like an excited child, the sail hauled me off into the cars parked on the other side of the road. I just had time to bark my shins before the rig, with the wind underneath it, tried to wrench me skyward. But before I got airborne the gust diminished depositing me back in front of the 4x4, which had started to pull forward. The driver, alarmed that a rubber-clad weirdo was trying to bullfight his car with a windsurfing rig, gave a blast on his horn, which, in true Spanish fashion, was taken up enthusiastically by the queue of cars behind. Taking advantage of the lull in the wind I made a sheepish retreat to a cacophony of blaring claxons.

My windsurfing has improved a lot since then and so have my sail carrying skills and while I can apply those skills to transporting ply sheets I didn’t want to risk being whisked off to the other end of the garden where Chief Vitalstatistix was hobnobbing with a glut of Barcelona bigwigs. And I certainly didn’t want to damage those fragile tapers.

I think it’s in one of the Coen brothers’ films that a character says there’s no image more undignified than a man chasing his hat—I reckon that a man chasing a cartwheeling sheet of ply probably tops that.

And today more wind. This is the Mestral that I wrote about a few posts back, bright, clean and energetic it sweeps across Northeast Spain never failing to instil me with a certain larkiness that I associate, even all these years later, with the last day of term. I could have gone windsurfing but apart from being short of time I’ve been investing quite heavily in my midriff over the past couple of months and I doubt I would fit into my wetsuit.

I was more than happy to get on with oars, which have been stacked in a corner turning yellow for quite some time now. Planed and sanded down to their final shape they’re actually quite slim and elegant; I just hope they’re not too light for the important role of powering me out through the waves to calmer waters where I can hoist the sails.


Baddaddy said...

Ben - Great work on those.

Can I please use your oars pics in a forthcoming book please? I'll need a letter giving permission, I'm afraid...


Gaff Horse said...

Good to see things are progressing so well.

Auto Renart have finally got hold of an engine, I hope to send the camper up there this week. Then i guess it will be another week or so before I can go and pick it up - but would hope to call by and see you on the way home, wither last week in february (optimistic) or first week in march (also optimistic... but then, life in Spain - you need optimism...)