My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Here we are...I thought that winter was over and then...snow!! It has been snowing heavens hard since around 9am and only now at 6pm has it stopped! Still gusty wind and the sky is very grey but the temperature seems to have risen a bit from 0ÂșC. I went out to Mr. Bricolage to buy a couple more bits for my model yacht (more on this later) and had to wipe down all the windows of my car as they were covered with snow and they covered again even as I was clearing them! Really blizzard conditions but it won't last, the weather here is too mild and being near the coast gives an even milder climate.

So, my yacht! Well, the hull is complete except for the radio receiver which is still winging its way to me from Shenzhen. I have finished laminating the nice brass rudder to make a long racing one and done the scary bit of drilling the hole in the bottom of the hull for the rudder tube! All seems to be well and my servo's are installed and the 'horns' fitted. I had to make the mast crane and the long horn (or servo arm) for controlling the sails out of aluminium sheet left over from the keel. The trip to fetch the aluminium sheet was 'interesting'. I had forgotten a basic rule for buying things in France...you pay for the little things. What I mean is, a friend and I went to 'Bricometal' to look in their scrap bin for a small piece of 2mm aluminium sheet (about 30cm by 10cm would be fine). as we go in, there is the scrap pile and a great off-cut about the size I needed and a sign saying that you pay by the kilo. Hmmm, OK, the piece there is a bit bigger than I need but it's from the scrap pile. There were some really tiny bits and oddly shaped bits that they were trying to sell that really should have been junked. I've seen better bits thrown in the skip at the tip!

My friend recognises the chap who is in charge there, it's the grandson of his neighbour and they are chatting away and I'm thinking...it's a titchy bit off the scrap pile, maybe mates rates or even a freebie! Nope! My friend suggests that the chap cuts the aluminium to the exact size I need to save me cutting it out with my jig-saw (not a problem as I have a blade to do this and it's not a big job, just a rectangle of 310mm by 50mm). Chap takes the sheet, cuts it on his computer controlled guillotine and then weighs the bit I need. How much is that? Well, it's €4 for the metal PLUS €2.50 for him cutting it +VAT!! Grrrr! If I lived in the UK I could have bought a bigger sheet off eBay for £1.99! I should have known, everything is "extra" over here. You want a new tyre for the car, they quote a price...you accept...you then pay them for fitting it, for the new valve, for balancing, for disposal of the old tyre and all plus VAT! Adds a lot to the bill.

My yacht has the mast made and drilled for the rigging, the metal work for the rigging is being made for me as I can't find any stainless dental wire here. The sail material and rigging line is on its way from the UK, just needs Alex to run up the sails for me...after she has completed her OU assignment...obviously! With a bit of luck, we may be ready for a maiden voyage towards the end of the next week....maybe! It depends on the post. I will fit the deck to the hull tomorrow so it will look like a real yacht. Perhaps it's time for a photo opportunity.

Hope the weather is better where you are.

Dick xx

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