… and you will hear the faint scratch of soapy brush tickling deck and anti-skid. Bend your ear closer still, and you’ll mark the swoosh of vinegar-soaked rag on wood and wall and paint and trim. Lean in (go on, I dare you – no one’s looking) – and sniff the screen: Ah, yes, the faintest whiff of Eau de Bleach and newly-laundered everything. Butterfly, m’dears, as you might have gathered, is in the throes of having her annual spring-clean. So if you’ve checked in here recently to find neither sight nor sound of Flutterbies, just that dusty old post below this – well, now you know why.
A wretched excuse this might sound, but it is, without exaggeration, utterly true: scrub, scrub, scrub all day, and come the evening my brain has turned to soap itself; by sundown Her Aboard has devolved into a lather-and-sweat zombie. The discipline of sitting down to draft blog posts and assemble photos after playing Let’s Clean Boats all day, is, by then, quite beyond my diminished IQ. Instead, after the day’s labours and a dunk in the sea, we have headed for the shore and convivial company, or bopped till we’ve dropped at the Tiki Bar, finding the necessary energy to shake a leg thanks to Barracuda and his band. That, or we’ve surrendered to the lazier option of falling Zen-like into a trance watching the ever-dramatic sunsets here at Prickly Bay from the comfort of the cockpit.
None of which does much for bringing this blog up to date.
Back to rub-a-dub-dub. Spring-Cleaning on Butterfly also demands turfing out the “treasures of the bilge” too. A Cruiser’s phrase that is best translated to mean, in layman’s terms – Stuff. That jumble of odds and sods that you acquire in moments of “that might be useful”, or “best to carry a spare, perhaps”, or, “keep it in case the other bit turns up … “. Or paraphenalia that mysteriously stows away on to the boat when you’re not looking. Without a regular clear out, these “Treasures” proliferate and procreate and one day will sink the bloody boat. Besides, finding stuff you do need is hard enough in the myriad of cupboards, lockers, nooks and crannies boats are bedazzled with – without hiding it under a pile of what is now useless junk. So Him Aboard bravely dove into the neglected bowels of poor Butterfly and soon had assembled a hoard of This, That and T’other that we’ve gradually accrued, and charitably (must we mention with a degree of self-interest too?) offered the useable items at very reduced prices – or for free – to fellow cruisers here in Grenada. (This redistribution of bilge treasures is a regular feature on the Grenada Cruiser Radio Net). Of huge relief was the re-homing of a 120 feet of shore-power cable that had seen service but once. That not-so-little treasure weighed a pretty ton, so Butterfly will flit a little lighter now. Know anyone who needs water-maker filters? We have a handome line in those looking for a new home, too!
If you’re wondering why all this fuss – well, it’s simple. In a few days’ time, Them Aboard will be heading back home to see beloved kith and kin and kindly pals and Butterfly will be left to bask in the Grenadian sun. And haul-out time is always a good excuse to deep-clean and streamline. A time to finish projects and plan new. A time to check systems and seals and change filters, impellors and oils, too. A cue to Start Over.
It has been nine months since we were last home. And then our visit was but a mere 3 weeks. You can imagine, then, the excitement that grows with every day. Every day a day closer to seeing those I miss. The odd thing is that after nearly 5 years living aboard Butterfly, far from getting used to the separation from dearly beloveds back home, I’m finding it a tougher deal than ever.