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Getting Ready to Refurbish QUASAR IV
28/01/2016, Paleokastritsa, Corfu, Greece

We are now back in Corfu after an extended Christmas and New Year trip to the UK to catch up with family and friends, as well as allowing me to get two new front teeth which after 20 years had finally given up the ghost. It was great to catch up with the families despite the dreadful weather in Blighty! Perhaps some new waterproofs for the next trip back....speaking of which, we fly to the UK on the 28th March to begin work on QUASAR IV ready for, hopefully, a June departure across Biscay again. Having checked the boat in December, I can confirm it is in an exceptionally shabby state indeed. The attached photo shows it in a better light than it appears in reality. Some of the more major tasks are being done by the boatyard and are now well underway. This only leaves us with the remaining list of about 300 jobs to do, some small, some large. This is going to be a major challenge to put it mildly. We will be living on the boat in the boatyard whilst it is out of the water on stilts, so no mains electricity, running water or toilets on board, and constantly up and down the ladder to get on to the deck - great exercise! With no operational fridge, we will also be doing a supermarket run, or rather walk (no car!), every two days for fresh food at the local Co-Op, about one mile away, so not too far to walk luckily. We hope to get the boat back in the water about two weeks after we arrive once the hull-type jobs are completed. We will still be at the boatyard, but with the boat actually in the water, many jobs then become much easier, not the least getting on and off. I will also be able to climb the mast to check all the instruments and aerials, fit our replacement radar and put the sails back on. None of this can be done safely with the boat on stilts on the hard standing - it's a balance and gravity thing! One of the first jobs is to fit a new Eberspacher diesel heater so we can keep warm in the evenings once the sun has gone down. It's certainly going to be a busy few months before we actually depart but we need to keep the pressure on as we really want to get the boat to Gouvia Marina, Corfu, this year rather than next. Still, we'll see; we can always leave it halfway somewhere if absolutely necessary, albeit unlikely unless we have some sort of catastrophic dilemma during the year. I somehow suspect that some of the jobs may actually be done on route to the Med, even completed in Corfu. It least it is hot and sunny here! Anyway, off to cook dinner now - chicken cordon bleu with cheese sauce - yum yum :-)

New Car
25/08/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

After three months of searching the internet and decrypting Greek into English, we have purchased a car. It's a 2006 yellow Fiat Panda 1.1 litre petrol, with about 98,000 km on the clock. It runs well, has a few minor things that need straightening out starting with replacement of the two front shock absorbers. The great thing about owing a Fiat in Corfu is that it is very cheap and very easy to get repaired. Parts are a fraction of the cost that they are in the UK and work can usually be completed on the same day. I would replace the shocks myself but the tool I need to compress the springs to separate them from the struts costs more that a shock absorber! No point in wasting money here, one for the local garage I feel. The car runs very well, is very economical, cheap to tax and insure and has plenty of room inside when the back seats are hinged down. I also have a set of roof bars on order so we can carry extra passengers on the roof as long as the total weight does not exceed 50kg :-). Certainly good enough for two airport suitcases for any future visitors leaving room inside the car for the actual passengers! Tomorrow is our Quiz Number 3 at Angels Pool Bar, so time will be spent over the next day preparing the quiz. This will be our third quiz and they get better each time; I wish I could say the same for some of the customers!

The wood has arrived - well, most of it ...
19/08/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

After the initial complexities of ordering the timber we required from the local timber merchant in Corfu town, working out how to actually pay given the restrictions on currency flow at the moment here in Greece, it was great news hearing those words from the timber yard by telephone "Mr Graham...your wood is ready for delivery. Can you call in and check it out first.....". No problem, I'll just walk 20 miles to the timber yard and check it out! Yes, we still have no car! Plan B worked smoothly though, hiring a scooter for the day for £10-50 (!) including fuel, visiting the timber yard, checking the delivery, then travelling another 50 km to Roda on the north coast and back to look at a possible car for buying; quite a busy day. Two days later a very large crane appeared at our gate, blocked the main access road for about 20 minutes and "air-lifted" our delivery into the front garden. I paid the delivery driver his 40 Euros and we then set to with moving the wood from the front garden into the outhouse in the back garden as well as into the basement. This stage took about two hours! There was a lot of wood and it was VERY heavy, especially the 8 x 4 feet 3/4" plywood sheets, all nine of them....Pleased as punch that the wood had finally arrived, I was not aware at this stage of the missing items but soon would be as the first task I had in mind for the weekend was to build the fly screens and mosquito netting frames for the windows. Start simple I thought, what can possibly go wrong; nothing, as the wood I needed for this task had not been delivered! Further investigation also revealed three sheets of MDF were missing that were required for the workshop worktops, task number two on the master plan. Now resolved, we are patiently awaiting the next delivery so we can get started on these items. So essentially work is progressing at about the same speed as traffic on the M25 during Friday rush hours. The delivery mix up has not caused a major problem as paint stripping continues on the three tables, quite a substantial task. The Bosch mitre saw has also now been powered up and allowed me to cut all of the pieces required to build our veranda sofa, the first of three, in record time. What a fantastic piece of equipment! It cuts through massive pieces of wood like a hot knife though butter and is laser-guided so incredibly accurate. Now I have all of the pieces, I have the DIY book open and looking at the best way to connect them all together. Now, over to YouTube for my next mortice and tenon joint instructional video.

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