Musings on love and hate

Musings on love and hate

I was never sure what a love-hate relationship is until about twenty years ago, when I started having to deal with boatyards. It starts invariably with ‘she’s a beauty’ and then moves in stages, each one with an appropriate drawing in of breath through the teeth and clicking of the tongue, to a ‘you’ll not get it done for less, cobber’. Maybe it’s just because I was brought up to be careful with money. Perhaps simply because labour costs are high. Or is it the inexorable grind of Value Added Tax? Whatever it is, there is no such torture as the cost of boat repair. Many of us have weighed up the pros and cons of DIY. How many pieces of equipment or repair tools litter our garages or below-berth storage places, unused? But unless you’re retired and with nothing else on your hands and a gifted wood- or metal-worker or engineer, you’ll pay. Because it’s the path of least resistance. The easiest way out. And by next year you’ll have forgotten about the self hatred involved in the bank transfer. Yes, your partner will huff and puff, as with the annual berthing fees. (I know a guy with an old unsellable fibreglass boat who expects not to use her next year and has just let her to a friend for a one-off annual fee of a case of St Estèphe and 25 havana cigars, and the friend takes over the berthing fees and maintenance costs. Heaven! He’ll probably be looking for crew anyway.) But in the end, when April arrives with a covid vaccine and a little sunshine, the love returns. The love of being on the water with a fine breeze on the quarter.