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Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Mother Greece from Ipsos
“There’s the problem.” Dave found one pipe I’d not blown through, leading into the exhaust sleeve. “It's oiled up. Too much ticking over to charge the battery. The engine needs hammering now and then.” Thirty seconds later a messy mix of oil and water gouts from the end of Summer Song's exhaust. I need a new fan belt and the little coin shaped hatch in the sleeve, through which Dave had stirred out enough gunge to get cooling water circulating again, has come loose. “Get some liquid metal at Profi. The auto-electrician at Pyrgi will have the right belt.” Monday morning I went back with these; mixed and applied the liquid metal and tightened up the starter motor belt having being shown by Dave there was an inspection hatch at the side of the engine space to get to a bolt that had defeated me from the front. How I understand. my mentor, Denys Rayner’s preference for outboards on small boats, after misadventures with inboard engines in the 1930s. Later Lin drove us over to Temploni to pick up an electric cooker being sold for €20 for a friend by Summer Song’s previous owners, Norman and Pauline Sherif. “There's been a bad earthquake south of Rome...When you run the engine, Simon, leave it in gear, pulling against the bow warp. That’ll stop the greasing problem” said Norman, who knows every centimetre of this boat "You know there's a Yanmar dealer in Kontokali just opposite Navigators Bar?" I'll check that, especially as I need a spare impellor. Over twelve years Norman and Pauline, having bought her on N’s early retirement lump-sum from British Rail, worked their way along the Mediterranean coast from Spain to Turkey before settling at the berth in Ipsos where we bought her on eBay in July 2006. Lin and I got the cooker in the boot and drove back via Nick and Nancy at Rivendell where we visited with a couple of dark chocolate mice bought at Emeral. Estelle is nearly walking and looking around bright eyed, gently insistent on being the centre of attention. On the road by the house we stopped in the usual routine to unload, another driver waiting patiently behind us as in the village they do. Lin parked up the road and came back to help me carry the cooker down the steps. We were joined by the lady from the waiting car, guiding us into the house holding a trailing cable. Mark had left us a brace of goose eggs on the table under the veranda and yesterday a lady we know enough to greet in Democracy Street, walked up to us by the Metallinos Museum and gave us a bunch of freesias.I wired in the cooker’s yellow brown and blue wires to the kitchen terminal’s yellow/green, black and brown wires. Alan over the phone assuring me it was black to brown; “Earth can be yellow or a yellow-green mix, negative is always blue, but positive can be red, black or brown!” Jobs – painting part of the thick wall that still suffers some damp peeling in the downstairs bedroom, finishing painting upstairs window frames, clearing old pieces of sheet metal out of the apothiki, washing off some of the smoke stain from the upstairs room where Dave will be fixing the chimney to stop the problem, washing clothes, working in the garden adding choice plants growing wild from the path at the back including a celery plant pulled up for us by Katherina, feeding the cats, phoning home via Skype from the pub in Kontokali, sponging out the salt water in Summer Song’s bilge that I put there uselessly trying to prime the cooling system, and generally tidying her after the work on her engine. We’re hoping to get these odd-jobs out of the way by the time John and Annie arrive from Australia to stay with us over Easter. John’s already sent me his first political-management conversation on DVD and we’re planning to analyse that while he’s here.

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Simon Baddeley