One of the things I like most about where I now live is a vegetable plot that is just up the road. I have spent many years of my life trying to grow vegetables and I know a maestro when I see one.
It is a tiny plot squeezed in between nondescript buildings. Yet it is a masterpiece.
The gardener is an old lady. She squats between the rows, generally weeding and cleaning up. I cannot take a photo of her, it would be too invasive, but we grin at each other.
You cannot grow Daikon in clay. Much of Okinawan soil is clay. Clearly much work has been done to lighten the soil in this tiny plot to allow the white radish to thrive.
Potatoes, praties, tatties. You gardeners will notice that it is January and the potatoes are flowering.
When I am not admiring this vegetable patch, I am sanding, cleaning and treating Kanusha. I gently coax her from destitution to beauty.
Bits of wood before and after sanding.
Cleaning brass has been one of my greatest pleasures. What was dull, dirty and neglected is suddenly transformed into something shining, brilliant and cared for. What other activity can display such obvious progress so quickly? My understanding of the benefit of brass cleaning started at school when we would huddle in the boot room cleaning the brass fittings of our cadet corps belts and gaiters.
We used Brasso. It was excellent.
Japan does not use brass. Indeed has never used brass it would appear. I do not know why not, but there it is. Therefore it is impossible to find brass cleaner of the likes of Brasso in Okinawa. I finally track down a product that is used for polishing trumpets and other, er, brass instruments. It is hopeless.
My boat is infested with brass, all of which is much tarnished. Let’s look at the lamps. The boat has two archaic paraffin lamps which are clearly catering to the romantic. Notwithstanding I can imagine the pleasure of being at anchor on some obscure Japanese island reading to the light of paraffin lamps.
One of the mantles is busted
So I try to clean up the lamps. My big breakthrough comes with the use of very fine wire wool.
I yearn tragically for Brasso
Not wonderful but my lamps are looking much better. Alladin?
A very successful day as the boat passed inspection by the Okinawan Harbor authorities. What?!
I think they are basically checking that you have life jackets, a fire extinguisher, a flare and of course a whistle. Any way another hurdle bounded over with the help of Tabata san,
I also have success with the skag. This is a piece of metal that essentially protects the propeller. My skag is very heavily corroded and I worry that it will be a pain to remove, However the retaining bolts loosen easily and a bit of hammering and levering and the skag starts to move.
You do not mess with skag.
I continue to clean in every corner and to treat all the totally dried out woodwork. The weather is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoy myself.
I will find a metal shop that specializes in skag,
So I make a couple of poor IPhone videos more as an archival record than anything else.
I take some time to indulge in birds.
Little ringed Plover philosophizes
Intermeditate egret runs from the cops
Common Sandpiper. Dangerous usage. I mean common is not too cool these days
Grey Wagtail – Winter visitor
Cold Chinese Bulbul
Cosy is not a word that you would normally associate with Okinawa, it being very hot most of the time. This week however has been cold, I mean like a staggering 10 degrees. This has brought out a great enjoyment of living in my new crib-it is cosy.
Moving was hellish. So many boxes, where to put everything, hauling it all up to the 3rd floor, getting rid of empty boxes. I should have employed someone but I am so much enamored of my ‘I haven’t got any money’ frame of mind that it was not possible.
So much to do
The easiest thing to do is to unroll carpets
Anyway after a couple of weeks I am now pretty much installed. I love my new crib. It is just the right size – small but perfectly formed.
From the balcony. That is the sea behind the trees.
Where I live
I love James’ stuff
Where I sleep.
The washing machine works, the shower is hot and the water pressure is intense. All in all a wonderful place to live.
Contortion is very good for the body. To reach the furthest crannies of Kanusha to clean off the the filth and corruption, I have to lie on my back and extend my arms in a truly yogic way. However enlightenment follows, as there is no better way to learn about a boat, or anything really, than washing them all over.
I also start to sand and treat the woodwork.
My sander. A very good tool.
I find the original Owner’s Manual.
I sand for hours and apply wood treater stuff. The wood being very, very dry soaks it up in a very pleasing way, A bit like feeding a hungry child.
Petit a petit l’oiseau fait son nid.
Four coats of wood stuff. More to come.
I start the first tentative steps towards the restoration of Kanusha.
She is filthy.
Mold and grime everywhere.
Woodwork dried by years of 30 degree heat
Moth and rust
Did you clean behind your ears?
All the woodwork is white from 7 years of blazing sun.
My brother Ian’s school number was 32. I feel this is a good augury.
A good project.