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Out with the Old and In with the New..

29 Dec

By that I mean water pump. Naturally.

I’m hoping this is the last in a long line of things that have become dysfunctional of late in Boatbirdland. In this case though, I’ve been aware the day was coming; just a matter of when really. I excuse my meanness sense of not subscribing to today’s throwaway culture by saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but John’s been nagging me for ages to do something about it. Apparently, I’m a bit stubborn..?

My old Shurflo water pump…003

Has been getting less and less effective over the last months. When the pump fails to produce enough pressure, the gas water heater fails to ignite, resulting in the shower performing a vicious hot cycle/cold cycle routine and only occasionally settling on a constant temperature under which I could bear to stand.

I’ve manfully put up with it (why was that?) until the week before the world as we know it comes to a grinding halt when it became either freezing or boiling, no middle ground. So much so that I stopped showering altogether.

That’s fine except for hair washing – Boatbird’s is very long these days – and, after more than a week of bad hair…images

I was going crazy. With hair in permanent pigtails, I probably looked ever so slightly dotty/a tad eccentric too. The next stage was habitual hat wearing…a-bad-hair-day

But, at least with the weather turning so cold, I think I may have got away with it.

Also, the flow from all taps was now no more than a dribble with the pump taking longer and longer to bother to cut in and surely only a matter of time before it totally gave  up the ghost. I coerced John into stripping the pump so I could clean all its innards (massive limescale and sludge deposits) but despite my misguided optimism high hopes that this would fix it, it damn well didn’t.

No seasonal miracles happening here then.

I was seriously considering the scissor option before I came to my senses and fired up the computer to see who had a suitable new pump in stock. Jones Boatyard in St. Ives came up trumps with a Jabsco that operates between 20 and 40 psi, shifting eleven litres a minute, suitable for long pipe runs and multi outlets. Sounds good to me. It was even on offer at £73.00 and, more importantly, in stock.

I really rate Jones and have not yet managed to find a chandler in this neck of the woods that comes close. It’s just a whack along the M11 – about an hour’s drive from here – though, so worth the trip.

By now it’s the C-word-Eve and they’ll be closing at 4pm (I discovered when I rang them) so John is despatched post-haste to sunny Cambridgeshire.

Once back here it was bish-bosh-bash…002

New pump installed. And again…001

Showing the accumulator, which this pump doesn’t need but will probably work better for it being there.

And all worked wonderfully well once more. I had a fabulous shower, water temperature not deviating a single degree for a single second. Perfect.

So now I wait to see what’s next…

Actually, I just found out and you’ll never believe it. Two more fails – one mechanical and the other directly caused by a very blonde moment on my part. One might be costly and the other making me loads of extra unnecessary/messy work. Both very vexing.

Find out what’s gone wrong now in the next thrilling instalment of Boatbird, coming to a computer near you very soon.

Oh, and all the best for next year. Here’s hoping 2015 brings joy to you all. And an end to all this crazy shit for me!

Prrofreeding Fale

12 Nov

I didn’t pass…006


After reading this from – an interesting and philosophical blog…

Why do we find it so difficult to share our dark and dirty selves online? Do we openly express our happiness via social media to seek the approval of others? Perhaps the most damaging part is that by only recording and sharing the splendid moments in our lives, we lose track of who we really are? 100 happy days isn’t enough to outweigh the other 265-ish days in the year.

I decided to share this un-splendid moment in my life with you, so as not to lose track of who I really am. (And not seeking sympathy in any way, shape or form. Honest.)

I didn’t miss the grade by much but, lets face it, enough for a fail. Seems a bit harsh to me and is very subjective in my totally unbiased (ahem…) view.

So this is how It works. They break it down into four categories:

  1.  Attention to detail
  2.  Spelling, punctuation and grammar
  3.  Technical ability
  4.  Level of intervention

They passed me on 2 & 3 but saw fit not to on 1 & 4. At least my dear old English teacher, Miss Riches, would be proud – re no. 2.

And I can learn symbols – re no. 3. (I can also look them up in the manuals provided.)  Piece of pi cake.

In failing me on point no. 1, they infer that my level of concentration isn’t what it should be and say as much in their handwritten comments – which were, by the way, almost illegible.

Just as well I can concentrate then, or I wouldn’t have been able to read them.

You have no idea how I pored over that assessment piece. And that’s probably where I went wrong – over-thinking. I do have a propensity for this and it really doesn’t do me any favours. Indeed, the less I think the better I become.

As regards point 4: On the course, a lot of time  is spent emphasising that the proofreader shouldn’t intervene/alter the style of the author. They say that in the real world, by the time you get the typescript it will already have been edited and therefore any major boo-boos/glaring anomalies will have been put right. So leave it alone. Yet some of the mistakes I did (correctly) adjust were so basic – the editor would have to be shot for missing them.

They also, at the same time, stress that the proofreader is the final safety net, as it were, and must correct style inconsistencies, as well as the grammatical errors/typos etc. So it’s a judgement call really; one that I called badly it seems.

Oh how I agonised over some points. Shall I? Shan’t I? In the end I did – and obviously shouldn’t have. Heads they win, tails I lose.

This may sound like sour grapes. It is. Actually.

After a self-imposed cooling off period, I emailed to ask, politely, if I could re-take this assessment. Why of course, they reply, that’ll be another £45 please. Kerching!

A couple of my friends have wondered (when I shamelessly sobbed on their shoulder) if this was standard practice. Call me a cynic but I wonder too.

So, what next?

Despite all that I’ve said, I am very much enjoying this course and learning lots, so I shall soldier on bravely with the copy-editing part of the course…004

See how I fare with that. It might be that I’m better suited to this – a less anal, more creative occupation – or not.

Whilst it would be ever so handy to have that certificate of competence that they hand out to those they deem so (not me evidently) to present to prospective employers, I shall do without. Thank you very much.

I will make do with liberal outpourings of bullshit charm and totally busk it market myself furiously when the time comes and if I decide to go the proofreading route.

Maybe, just maybe, this new-found knowledge and insight into the publishing world will make me a better writer. But, if all else fails, I shall have to come up with something else I (think) I can do (that makes money) in the jim-jams.


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