16th September 2020
Cascais, Portugal, Marina Parque das Nações (Marina Expo), Lisbon, Portugal
Usually work stops play. In a factory the buzzer sounds loud and all the workers stop their frolicking, return to their stations and start their days labour. It’s pretty unusual for the luxury of play stopping work, but with Ruffian needing a new hot water tank, a plan put in place to fix it, and a capital city on our doorstep play has stopped work on Ruffian.
Waking up in Cascais we had the first part of the ‘fix Ruffian’ plan to enact. We had to catch the tide into Lisbon, find the marina and then execute 2 aqua based handbrake turns, before scooting Ruffian through a gap not much wider than her beam and then sliding her onto a pontoon not much longer than her length. What could possibly go wrong? As you’d expect with Fiona very much in charge everything was executed perfectly, just leaving Iain to mess up the easy bit. Tying her up.
With Ruffian now safe, work couldn’t (wouldn’t) start until play had finished and play was going to happen in Lisbon. For months Ruffian of Amble and a boat called Passion of Hamble had been passing each other on a near daily basis. As we entered an anchorage they left; as we headed south, they went north; as we sailed, they stopped. We were never to meet in Spain and finally in Lisbon not only were we to meet Passion but they’d bagged a table at the most famous café, on the most famous street with the most fabulous people watching. After all these months of passing they supplied us with the most sensational company, showed us how small a world this is and gave us a whole new view on the world of cruising. Meeting Passion was great and it was great to share their passion.
Following our taster of Lisbon we were about to have a full on main course. Lisbon sits on 7 hills and we took in all 7. We toured districts that were built in the 1700’s and up to mirdouro’s that overlooked the whole city. We discovered art that had been created for the delights of a higher being which covered every surface on the inside of churches. We also discovered art that was being created in front of us that covered every surface in abandoned industrial buildings.
As we played in the delights of Lisbon we also found the unofficial colour scheme was yellow and crème. These colours extended from the palaces and squares to the public transport and even onto the national dish of Pasteis de Nata that revived us as we ticked off the hills.
Having walked 3 day’s worth of guided walks and with the sun setting on the cities monuments we finally found a bus to take us back to Lisbon’s centre. We dreamed of resting our weary feet and revitalising ourselves with a refreshing beer. These dreams however quickly vanished as we watched the bus turn left, head away from town and away from our dreamed respite. Realising our mistake, that not all busses go to the center of Lisbon, we frantically we pushed the stop button and resigned ourselves to another 2 miles of walking, to where we could finally catch a bus home.
Right on cue, as we entered the main square our bus entered. Our magic transport to a world of relaxation, our ticket to a respite and relaxation. All that stood between us and it was a mere 250 metre run. Just as Iain reached it the doors squished shut, but this was not going to thwart his efforts. Gently knocking and giving his best pained expression the diver took pity, opened the doors and through them Fiona sprinted on. After an amazing day in Lisbon, having seen all the sights, sampled all its delights and scaling it’s 7 hills, we were homeward bound.
With dawn rising and play over, it was time for work. For the ‘fix Ruffian’ plan to progress we had to get to the calorifier and all that stood between us and it were, 80 litres of diesel, 30 litres of petrol, 12 litres of oil, 400 meters of rope, 2 anchors, a generator, 3 buckets, a whole plethora of other boating bits n bobs and this all had to be moved before our experts arrived. With sweat still dripping on our brows Paulo arrived with Grigore and passed their expert eye over our problem. Our diagnosis was confirmed; the calorifier was very poorly.
Having removed some carpentry, the calorifier was finally out and we could see the scale of the problem and the problem was not just the scale pouring out of the calorifier. There was also the small matter of the hole that it was pouring out of. Paulo’s eyes said it all, the credit card was drawn and as quick as a flash a new one was ordered.
With the guts of Ruffian open the work really began. We spruced up bits of the Ruffian rarely seen. Bulkheads were painted, wiring tidied, ropes spliced, consolidated and sorted and new order introduced into a locker that was already ordered. Never has so much work been done, in an area viewed so rarely.
Just as all this work was nearing completion the new calorifier arrived from Spain, Paulo found some time in his diary and returned with Grigore and Duart who both climbed into the locker simultaneously, tools in hand and with the eyes of experts, as quick as you could say ‘hmmmmm, hot water’ the calorifier was in. An improvement on the previous installation means we can now make hot water from either diesel or electricity. With the brilliant and humorous engineers from ARTmt gone, it was now just a question of finishing the work of loading the locker and completing the puzzle of just how everything fitted into the locker.
Finishing all the hard work, and the ‘fix Ruffian’ plan executed to perfection, we can now resume play on Ruffian. Unfortunately, this play involves hiding from a Tropical Storm; we don’t think this play is going to be much fun.
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