3rd July 2017
Hi everybody I am back with you once again, later than intended mainly because I was determined that next time I talk to you I was going to give you some good news. At last I have the good news but before I let you know what’s happening, today the 3rd July is my birthday I made it to 77 only heaven knows how I got this far. At 67 I thought I had done pretty well considering the scrapes with death I have had as I negotiated the minefield of life, but here I am, still breathing but I must confess not so upright. At 6.30 this morning Vi my lovely wife!!! gave me my birthday cards to remind me how old I am and suggested that I really should take it easy today. Having told everybody I was quiet capable of antifouling our 36 year-old boat,( will I ever learn). Having spent many hours getting” Ragamuffin” ready, I went to the boat yard yesterday determined to get the first coat applied so that I could finish it with a second coat today. I arrived after first stopping at the chandlers to collect the paint and assorted rollers; I nearly fainted when the girl, still smiling from wishing me good morning, told me the antifouling was £75 for a 2.5 litre tin, (time to sell the boat). Kitted out like a professional, including one of those white all in one disposable suit, I set to work. The outside temperature was 36 degrees with hardly any wind so it wasn’t long before I stated to simmer like an in the bag, oven ready dinner causing my glasses to steam up and bumping my head on the blue paint I had just applied. This situation continued to a point where I was getting paint everywhere other than on the boat. Half way through the day my supple back and legs decided not to be supple anymore so I spent the rest of the day finishing the first coat mainly on all fours unable to get up. I eventually got home Vi looked at me and commented, you was supposed to paint the boat.
Not wishing to drag the story out, Vi cleaned me up as best she could and at the same time mentioned, perhaps you should get someone to help you, we exchanged a few choice words the outcome being, I will spend most of the following day, my birth day, applying the second coat. I awoke the following morning to Vi singing Happy Birth day and handing me my birthday cards from the family. My back and legs still not working properly I showered, ate my breakfast and ever confident, telling Vi I will be home for lunch! The day started badly having to stop at the chandlers to buy more paint, the girl behind the counter still smiling relieved of another £75. There was a storm forecast and we were to expect the wind to gust up to 80kts. My extra, extra, large disposable all in one filled up like a hot air balloon that threatened to carry me away if I let go of the chocks holding up the boat. After a struggle to get myself organised I was ready to pour some of the paint into the roller tray, leaning into the wind that was coming from the left I attempted to pour some paint into the tray, as I did the wind increased causing the paint then in mid flow to move at an angle to the right missing the tray and pouring over my right foot, not a nice thing to happen when you are wearing open toed shoes. The day continued the way it had begun the wind showing no mercy and only abated when I finally finished. As I was clearing up I walked into the rudder cutting my head, what a day. Similar to the day before I managed to paint myself as well as the boat, my all in one gave up half way through the day so paint found its way into places it shouldn’t.
I arrived home late afternoon and attempted to clean myself up ready for a surprise birthday party Vi helped as best she could but in the end it will be a day or two and many showers before I regain my natural colour. I arrived at the party to a chorus of happy birthday that quickly turned to laughter; my skin had a hint of blue in it, my forehead had a gash that was still throbbing and my hair looked like it had a blue rinse. What a birthday!!!
Enough of my ramblings, how about some GOOD NEWS for a change, I have kept you posted as to our progress over the past months; It’s been a bit of struggle at times but I am pleased to say that bearing in mind the current instability within our country and the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, Suzuki GB and Ireland have, through it’s PR office, agreed to support the Ultimate Challenge 2 programme, similar in a way to what they did when we first drove around the world 2013.. The details as far as to the extent of Suzuki’s support will be finalised over the coming weeks and in due course we will let you know how generous they have been. We are at the moment working on the programme and in particular Re-examining the proposed route we will travel so as to identify the hot spots that are likely to raise safety issues, every time I look over the route the more it concerns me, more on this later. For the period from when we receive the vehicles from Suzuki and up to departure date we will be examining a list of suggestion and proposals we have compiled that will include events organised so as to involve s our supporters and members of the public. During the run up to departure date will be an exciting time for us, but everything we propose to do, including organising events, meeting people, talking to sponsors, and the preparation for Challenge 2 all has to be approved by the team and given the go ahead before it becomes a part of the programme, and of course, you are informed accordingly so we have our work cut out.
I will be responsible for posting on our web site progress notices so that everyone can see how the programme is coming together the first notice will be posted two weeks from now. (That’s a promise). Till then keep smiling and be happy. Les