End In Sight.

I’ve not updated my blog because I was waiting for a conclusion to the boat debacle. It’s not quite there, but I can hopefully finish it off tomorrow.

I went back, all full of good plans, to get the boat, throw it on the roof rack and be sailing the same day, last Sunday afternoon. I fitted the roof bars in the morning. They attach by an arm on each side hooking under the roof gutter and a screw to tension them up to the feet actually on the roof. OK. The roof gutter didn’t look that sturdy so rather than ruin Wendy’s car I just fastened them to the minimum, using the small arm of the allen key so I didn’t exert too much pressure. Epic fail, right there.

I got to the guy’s house and it took both of us to carry the boat out to the car. He said, contrary to everything I’ve read, to put the boat on transom to the front of the car, because the trailer would sit on top of it, and the handle would obscure you view if it was over the windscreen. The thing is, the boat is shaped so that water, and air, flow from prow to stern. I’m fairly sure that was a pretty big fail as well.

We finally got it on the roof, with the trailer on top, and the mast sections all lashed down. I set off and the satnav took me down the motorway for a mile or two before taking me off, across a linking A road, to go onto a different motorway. Within 2 miles the ratchet strap tails were banging on the window. Then the metal hook of the ratchet strap. The tails were just the loose bit flapping about, but the hook meant it had come undone. I quickly pulled over, luckily on the A road. I went to fasten the ratchet strap then realised all four of the screws holding the roof bars on had come loose! The only thing holding the boat on the roof was it’s own weight.

So not good.

I hadn’t packed any tools, I didn’t have my credit card to buy tools, and I was in Wendy’s car so she couldn’t have come and brought me tools. I took off some of the thick string/ thin rope and fastened the transom to underneath the bonnet. I was still about 17 miles from home. I set of gently, staying off the motorways. The string snapped. I had to pull over and redo it. About 3 times. I was a nervous wreck the whole time. In the end I improvised a strap from the end of a ratchet strap and the string looped around 4 times for strength. That held.

It was still only held on by it’s own weight, and the strap was just stopping it from just flipping off the roof. The A roads route led me through Thelwall and into Latchford. It was only another 3 miles to our house, but I just couldn’t risk it. I went round to Lisa’s for tools. By the time I got there the feet of the roof bars, which were supposed to be on the roof, were hanging off the side of the roof gutter on one side. By this time I was so stressed it wasn’t true.

Lisa kindly said she and Patrick would help me get it off the roof and I could stash the boat at her’s, because there was no way I was going to get everything sorted and get the boat to the club in the hour or two the berthing guy was there.

We had to sling it in her lean-to, taking up tons of room and being really awkward. Since then I’ve been waiting on a reply from the berthing guy as to when he’d next be at the club. I sent a follow up email today and he rather snottily replied “as per my email of…” Apparently I can put it up the top of the club grounds, and when we sort the boats out I can have a berth. That’s a bit meh, but the good thing is I don’t have to wait for him to be there. So I’ve refitted the roof bars tonight and arranged with Lisa to pick up the boat in the morning. I was not having that happen again so I used the long arm of the allen key until it got stiff. Then I tightened some more. And some more. And lots more. It feels stiff but it just keeps tightening. No wonder it shook off in 2 miles! It finally tightened to the point where you could feel it locking solid. I’m taking my allen key, and I’ll stop every few miles and check, but I’m hoping when I update this tomorrow this whole sorry debacle will be behind me.

It was worse because I’ve had to leave it at Lisa’s for a week, in her way, and if I don’t get it sorted tomorrow we are away for a week to Scotland from next Saturday so it would be in her way for at least 3 weeks.

And there’s the issue with the car. Another RTA. This time Wendy was blameless. Some over-privileged, arrogant berk reversed into her in Sainsbury’s car park. He was in a Range Rover with a towing hook, so the Mini took a fairly nasty hit. The insurance are taking it in to the repair garage and giving us a courtesy car. I’m fairly certain they don’t want me sticking boats on the roof of their car. Not the main issue, but it certainly adds a level of urgency and stress. The impact knocked the Mini sideways and Wendy flying, even with her seat belt on. He smacked it just over the front wheel arch. The Mini was moving at the time so it’s momentum means the tow bar took out the wing, the bonnet, the passenger door panel (possibly the door, it makes a nasty creaking sound when you open it) and the rear panel. Basically she’s getting one new side to the car. I’m just hoping there’s no structural damage or they might scrap the car and not give us a decent price.

I’ve been dieting. So that’s lovely. I’ve never gotten very far with diets because, I’ve recently realised, I have an ingrained fear of being hungry. I used to live on sugar, (jam on toast for my food at work, pudding from the canteen, chocolate, etc) This meant instant energy but it quickly burned out, then I had massive energy crashes. For years I just fed the cycle by eating more sugar. Then I read an idiots guide to eating, (wholegrain foods, slower to break down, but no crashes) and got a grip. But there was a lifetime of habit. And fear. The sugar crashes, “hitting the wall” (total energy crash in sporting events) and lately plague weakness.

But I’ve been trying to break myself of all of that. When I’m not plague weak hungry (irrational craving. You are so weak your body is screaming for food to make it better. It doesn’t actually work. That’s why it’s irrational.) I’ve been finding it quite do-able. Hungry, yes, but not weak. I can live with that.

I’m into the final bit of my running before I rest and recover. I had my first, In Real Life, race today since October ’19. The Warrington half marathon.

(Forgot to say, I’ve got varifocals now. Really good for work, I can see to drive, and glance down and do my paperwork.)

I’ve had a terrible time of it with long covid, intermittent training, hoof injury and being fat and lazy. I went for it though. Considering all of the above a 1.43:43 wasn’t too bad. It was a good effort at the very least. Then I had to jog home 2½- 3 miles afterwards.

Next Sunday it’s Loch Ness marathon, which is going to be hilly so I’m treating it as a bit of a fun run, just get around without killing myself. The Sunday after is Manchester Marathon which is flat as a pancake. I’ll try and get a not too shameful time for that one.

Then it’s time to rest my hoof and hopefully get over the plague weakness as well.

The other thing that has been affecting my training is work. They are battering me with hours. Last week my shortest shift was 11.30. I managed to get away earlier, but that was the planned time.

Right. Next day. Oh the relief!

I fitted the roof bars last night. With the roof bars rammed on so tight you could have lifted the car by them, I went to Lisa’s this morning. This time we put the boat on prow forward. Then the trolley on top, and tied it off with ratchet straps and rope.

My main concern was getting the boat out of Lisa’s way. I thought getting it off at the other end on my own would be a struggle, but gravity would do most of the work. Heave it to the side of the roof rails and then it’s just a matter of stopping it from smashing into the ground or Wendy’s car. Lisa had already thought of that though and volunteered (herself and Patrick) to follow me to the club and help me unload. To save me strapping them onto the side of the boat, Patrick drove to the lake with my mast sections stuck out through his sunroof!

Properly screwed down, prow forward, it was a doddle. In hindsight. I was scared for about 23 of the 25 minutes.

The boat is berthed. The car didn’t suffer any further damage. Lisa hasn’t got a dirty great boat in her lean-to. A good day, all round. Talking of, Lisa and Patrick helping me out, both of them suffering with painfully bad backs. That was really good of them. I just couldn’t have done it with them.

The boat is living there now until I get better and want to do sea sailing or taking it on holiday next year. For which I will be buying an estate car with built in roof bars and a towing hook. And a road trailer. I don’t intend to throw that on the roof, ever again. Now I need to wait until a Sunday, when the safety boat is out, to try it out. Soon:

In other news the UK has entered a Brexit death spiral. We are 100,000 lorry drivers short. 14,000 foreign drivers left after Brexit, 600 returned. Johnson, the posterboy for Brexit, didn’t want to admit it was his fault so he’s been refusing to grant foreign drivers a work permit. This was Asda when I popped in last Sunday. Only one section, but they don’t pay for big stores to have huge empty spaces.

Then the one petrol company said they are having to temporarily close some forecourts because they haven’t got the drivers to get the fuel out in time. The media reported it as “NO PETROL! EVER! ” And idiots, predictably, panic bought all the petrol, causing the petrol stations to run out.

In the face of this Johnson has called for 5,000 lorry drivers to be allowed visas to work until xmas eve.

Hahahaha. That’ll do it.

Everyone was keen to point and laugh.

If only somebody had warned us we should Fear this Project.

I’ve decided my hoof is bearing up so well that it’s not going to take long to heal so I’ve set my sights on a fun run type triathlon for next September.

Talking of, I’m thinking of admitting defeat with that motorbike I bought to rebuild the engine. I’ve lost my mojo and I want my shed back to set my pushbike up in for training.

Some random twitter and I’m done.