Perhaps we should start out the day by saying:
'Hello class - the lesson for today will be . . .'
Because that's been the project lesson Penny & I have been working on
for a few weeks now - and still we're only half there.
Where we sit right now with it - is that - we've collected just about all we need in the way of
giant shackles, chain, and building materials - we've made the big mould
and now we're just waiting for the concrete to be poured
so that the block will be made and can then be brought to the crane in the shipyard
put on a barge and carried out here
and dropped in a new Rodney & Penny spot.
But we are fast running out of time - and may soon need to ask for an extension.
Here are a few photos of what's been happening along the way.
One day - a long, long, time ago, we headed off - to get some things we needed
Then we hopped in the car - and drove out to St Marys to pick up a few things for the job.
It usually takes about an hour to get across to the motorway and then all the way out there.
Keith off the other yacht, came for the run and reckons he doesn't 'go that far for holidays'. After we picked up some large ex-Navy chain links and some other steel I'd left behind at the building site - we went in search of a few places I thought we might find some useful things.
We eventually ended up at Londonderry on a property that I had visited long ago - where old Alf Catalano has an amazing collection of heavy equipment from cranes to bulldozers - and where years before he had given me free access to some old Railway 'track lifting' rolling stock - that had Gardner engines fitted - and hydraulics. That very same hydraulic pump is now the main hydraulic steering pump for the yacht - and there is a stack of spares down below for the Gardner that came from that time as well.
Unbelievably, 86 year old Alf was down the back of his property working barefooted (as always) on the tracks of a bulldozer he was repairing. He remembered me and was as friendly and helpful as he could be. He offered me 4 huge steel shackles to use on the mooring - and absolutely refused to accept any money for them. Just as he had done years before with the other equipment.
We chat with Alf and survey the scene of his property
and the lovely job he has done restoring this old 'red tractor'
To see this old fellow working away as he has done his whole life long
amongst the machinery he has accumulated - is quite amazing - and always barefoot.
'they banned me from Bunnings Hardware last week - with no shoes'
he told us quite proudly.
So, after visiting briefly with Alf - and listening to his horror story of a recent transaction in South Africa - where he sold them some bulldozers - and went over himself to make sure it all went smoothly and he got paid. Only to find that the day after the cheque was handed over - it bounced, and the machinery had been driven over the border into Nigeria the night before. Small in stature - and 86 years old Alf went into Nigeria in pursuit of the bulldozers - only to find - in his own words - 'you don't know what it's like in other places in the world - there are 12 year old boys carrying machine guns on their shoulder - who would kill you and not give it a thought. I lost $700,000 on that deal - and was lucky to get out alive.' As I said - he's an amazing fellow.
We drove over to Penrith - which was on our way around about, towards home - on the basis of calling in to see John Meyn at Riverlands Marine - and of course, to show Keith, the 'giant Marlin' I had caught many years ago - that is on their wall.
To be expected - Keith's reaction was - 'You call THAT a Marlin??
(which is usually the sort of thing people say, who've never even caught a 1/2lb bream)
So there you go - back down the Motorway - and home on the yacht before 5
with a car boot full of useful - 'mooring building' items.
And just so that you know what it's all about - this is what we are actually trying to do.
I'll carry on with the 'project' report in the next email.
Which I'll try and get out to you very soon.