Doing a Bill

I believe this scenario is not unusual. You’re heading out for a walk for the day or a journey in the car or you’re off to the office or work. You’ve diligently made your sandwiches for lunch that morning before leaving home. They’re tucked up in a plastic Tupperware container with a tangerine and a treat. You don’t want to spend any money. Lunch is covered.

You’re driving along and those sandwiches are just calling to you. It’s only 10 o’clock, a good two hours till lunchtime, but you know the sandwiches are there, waiting quietly to be eaten. They taunt. They tease. They provoke. Sandwiches sing. And you relent. This is called “Doing a Bill”

Our mate Bill used to be a responsible member of society, doing something clever in insurance I’m told, before setting off on an irresponsible jaunt on a boat. Each morning he’d set out to drive somewhere to be important and professional with his full tuck box. How he never crashed a car as he strained an arm towards the back seat to rummage for that Tupperware and devour its contents on the A3 at 9.30am we’ll never know. But it’s a story he tells and it’s become part of our everyday language. Doing a Bill.

We did a Bill with our egg mayonnaise driving from Charleston on the west coast of South Island down towards Franz Josef Township. We’re on a bit of a road trip. After a few weeks in the boatyard I was keen to get away and do something different that doesn’t invoice sandpaper or spanner’s. The sea swell was massive that day so sea cliff climbing was definitely off as the waves pounded the rocks and exploded 30m up the cliff face.

As I type we’re in Wanaka. It’s pissing with rain but we’re tucked up very comfortably in a lodge with all mod cons having fitted in a walk this morning before the rain kicked in big time and a trip to the climbing wall this afternoon. I was by a country mile the oldest person there and luxuriated in this fact. Dave wins our personal battle for the young person medal by about 7 weeks. 

Come mid June both of us will be heading back to the UK. Grace will stay and behave herself here in NZ while we plan to earn some cash. Yes, we’re skint after gallivanting for 7 years so if you need a Dave or a Helen, do let us know. It’d be great if we could earn cash here but it’s not an option. We’re too old and unskilled. 

We plan to back for Andie’s memorial service on Saturday 17th June in Matlock Bath. Andie worked with us at Unique Solutions and died very unexpectedly from heart failure last November. We want to be able raise a glass in person to his memory. 


6 weeks non stop have been devoted to upgrading and beautifying Grace. I’m ready for a break. Today delivered some cracking weather, cold, blue and crisp so we got the bikes out. The trip started with a bang. 

There’s a cycle service station along the river here. As we planned to cycle past it, I said to Dave before we set off, I’m going to stop to put air in my tyres. However, the pump wasn’t working properly due to a dodgy washer so rather than put air in, I end up with most of the air out. We hadn’t got a pump with us, but no problem. There’s a bike hire place just round the corner. I’ll pop in and see if I can borrow a pump. 

In I went with my bike. Having explained my predicament, the young lad said, “yeh, no problem, we’ve got an electric pump, fetch your bike over here.” Zzzzzzzz, in goes the air. Until BANG, the inner tube is no more. His face is now the colour of a ripe tomato. His ears are ringing. Poor bloke is mortified. 

It’s not a big deal. It’s a bike shop. They have lots of inner tubes to hand and in no time, I’m up and running again, the lad refusing to take any money for the inner tube, even though he was doing me a favour in the first place. 

He was still exhibiting a little pinky rouge as we left. I felt sorry for him and offered what I hope were kind words, and with air filled tyres we set off on a circular predominately off road route which was steeper and wetter than anticipated meaning we both took our bikes for an initial uphill walk. 

The downhill bit wasn’t much fun either but hey ho, it was good to be out. We headed back to the boat, drank tea, then decided to ride out to the beach along the flat road, just under 6km away. This ride was easy, uneventful and without any loud bangs.

A 45 minute walk on the beach, a return cycle trip and a bag of chips ended the excursion. 

Boatyard life ceased about a week ago however, it’s taken us that time to get things back to normality. Dave has been re-bedding deck fixings as we discovered a few leaks during the 4 days of heavy rain. I’ve had a massive sort out and been in pretty much every locker on the boat. 

Grace’s paintwork looks fantastic. The bow sprit has had a serious overhaul, we have new Coppercoat on the hull, the steering cables and  quadrant have had attention, we have a new chain plate on the bow, the stern gland has been replaced, the sea cocks have been serviced, we have a new depth sounder, the anchors have been galvanised, the ceiling has been replaced in the forepeak and we’re waiting for the material to arrive from overseas for our new upholstery. 

That’s what’s generally been keeping us busy for the last five weeks. 

Boat on a railway

We’ve been absorbed in yard life in Nelson, South Island for over 5 weeks. First time we’ve had the boat lifted by a yard that uses a railway system. No soggy egg sandwiches or hiding in the toilet to avoid the ticket inspector. Here’s a few haul out and relaunch pictures. More to follow.

Grace has new topsides paint, a new Coppercoat bottom and a whole refurbished bow sprit, amongst other upgrades. She looks pretty good sitting quietly back in the water.