Everything is cyclic.

The glamour of cruising life.

5th May 2020

Malpas, Falmouth, UK 50 14.00 N 5 01.11 W

Everything in this world runs on some form of cycle. There are the seasons, as tree’s grow leaves and then shed them; the earth spins and night then follows day; things slowly wear out through use (or lack thereof) and need replacing. This has been a week of cycles of Ruffian and as we sit here in Falmouth waiting for the Covid-19 cycle to complete we have become aware of earthly cycles that have otherwise passed us by unnoticed.

The first of the cycles that we have become aware of is that of the Atlantic fronts that sweep across the ocean with alarming regularity. Ruffian would once again be battered by wind and drenched in rain. This weather was however not without benefit, with rain stopping ‘play’, it would give Fiona respite from the relentless daily biking and running that we seem to have been mandated to do by the government.

As the wind whipped across Ruffian and knowing that the anchor was so deep in the mud that it was nearly poking out in Australia, we took to experiencing a form of cycle that we’d not experienced since leaving Beaulieu 2 months ago – laundry.

Donning full offshore gear we loaded Brock with all our stinky smalls and battled the weather into town. We hurtled straight into the wind and the driving rain felt like needles penetrating our skin, making vision blurry and exfoliation mandatory. Finally, after a walk across what felt like a town in the middle of the apocalypse, we found the warm haven of the laundrette. We were welcomed by its alpine fresh aroma and warm moist air that is so comforting on days when you just want to hide. After the cycle of the washing machines and we too could smell alpine fresh.

With chores done, wind abating and the sun peeking out from behind the thick clouds the usual cycle of biking and walking continues. The local parish council had published some walks which sounded scenic, interesting and most importantly for us different.

After battling some hills on the brilliant Bromptons we arrived at the start point, quickly got lost and then it was onto one of Iain’s usual walks. We took in some uninspiring 1970’s housing estates, roads that went on for miles offering no views or talking points and even some fly tipping before we finally found our way back onto the map. The parish council clearly knew more than we did, as we were greeted by unending views across valleys, aqueducts built gracefully over river gorges and rhododendrons bringing colour to every path.

Back on Ruffian the cycle of scrape, sand, clean paint continued. This cycle seems never ending and Iain now knows how the guys (unconscious bias there; sorry) on the 4th road bridge feel. As soon as they feel the victory of finishing the cycle starts again. Iain finishes a panel and then stretching out in front of him is yet another one that needs the same attention again. Scrape, sand, clean, paint….Hopefully there will be soon be an end to this cycle.

With Ruffian not having moved for weeks one cycle you would have thought would disappear would be that of fixing things that stop working. This cycle in these days of non-movement seems to have increased in frequency. We have bounced from being electrical engineers fixing windlass switches to plumbers playing with pumps and pipes.

Iain took to the heads to try and figure out why we have an intermittent problem with a pump. It was infuriating, when in place the pump doesn’t pump, when taken out it sometimes pumps. After tracing power, which of course involves getting ones body into the most awkward of poses; removing the pipes, which involves grazing of fingers, knuckles and backs of hands; and getting the pump out which involved getting covered in water, he eventually had the pump in his hands, and it still wasn’t playing ball.

Like magic it suddenly bust into life. When an insulated live wire was pushed against the casing the pump pumped, and then it didn’t. After hours of replacing wires, cleaning stators, checking commutators and even brushing bushes all he’d manged to do was make a mess and take the boat to bits and increase his confusion as to the workings of the pump. Which now didn’t work at all. (Any suggestions appreciated).

With the weather cycle starting again Ruffian is being battered with more wind and rain. We’ll be on the river Fal watching this cycle as well as that of the leaves coming out on the tree’s, night following day and hopefully the cycle of the Covid-19 virus burning itself out so we can finally continue our journey.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

2 thoughts on “Everything is cyclic.

  1. Dear Iain,
    Have had three problems with a similar pump on Blueberry Hill they tended to be mechanical rather electrical which yours sounds like your issue. First (easy to fix) cable tie in the pump jamming up the works, solution strip the pump and clean out. Still a mystery whom put the tie down the sink Hmmm. Second solid crud holding the joker valve shut post pump. The pump would work when picked up but would not in situ. When picked up the crud would move down the drain pipe away from the valve so allowing the pump to work but would move back to the valve when the pump was low down. Solution was easy once the problem found clean the valve and pipe out. Third, and may be relevant intermittent working of the pump when on automatic. Sensor in the bilge had a Biofilm over it which mysteriously allowed the pump to work sometimes And sometimes not. Solution cleaning the sensor and bilge cured the problem.

  2. Hi Fiona & Iain. Good to meet you and your blog makes for a good read! It’s also nice to hear that it’s not just us stuck in an endless cycle of boat jobs, love them as we do!!!
    Asha & Mark

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