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S/V NELLEKE
The ship's blog for SV Nelleke out of Shelburne, NS
The dirt based kitchen update
Barb - mild and sunny day - yippee
02/15/2012, Shelburne, NS

Time for an update and more pictures of the kitchen.

As Mike mentioned we spent Valentine's day evening quietly with a bottle of decent wine and had supper in the den - paper plates on our laps due to the wreckage in the kitchen and the dining room table is loaded with the dishes unloaded form the kitchen cabinets. I did manage to pull together fettuccine Alfredo with lobster. I was looking back in photos from 12 months ago and saw that this time last year we were just about 100% back in storage - my vase of Valentine's Day flowers was perched on a packing box in the apartment. I also saw the photos from Feb 28th last year of poor old Nelleke having her engine removed - seems so long ago yet it was only one year.

The electrician and his partner were in on Monday to rewire the kitchen and two discoveries of theirs have led us to add another step to the kitchen reno. In one area they found evidence of an old leak in the wall that caused the insulation to perish. On another wall they found eelgrass insulation - in the fifties there was a factory in Sable River (a community near here) that made insulation batts by sandwiching eelgrass between sheets of brown paper. Based on this we decided to do it right and pull off the old wall board and remove the insulation and start over with modern materials. After I returned from ordering the materials at TimbrMart I got down to the job. What a !@#$ mess but it is fun taking a hammer and prybar to things... In one spot I was working I uncovered a 4 inch nail propped with the nail head in a crack between two boards - just hanging there being held in place by insulation - heavens knows how it came to be there. Weird.

I should be able to complete the tear out tomorrow and get it cleaned up so that Mike and I can get at the rebuild in the evening.

I have added a few pictures of the floor (Mike is doing a great job) and a few of the wall teardown.

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?
Discussion of the state of the world
Mike
02/15/2012, Shelburne NS

More and more I am shaking my head in absolute bewilderment at the current state of the world.

When all these G8, G10, G20.....Occupy Movement protesters started their protests I had absolutely no empathy for their cause. Sure there is a discrepancy between rich and poor, that's why they are descriptive nouns for pete's sake. But then, as time has moved forward and I am watching in absolute shock and awe at the current implosion of the EU, I am starting to think, maybe there is something to what they are saying.

I mean, here is a continent that as little as ten years ago the fear was that they were going to outstrip North American (more specifically the US) as the financial and business global powerhouse, and now, here they are less than a simple generation later, and we are worried about counties collapsing financially.

From what I have heard the issue is simple greed and all the negative aspects of capitalism gone wrong. The various counties were allowed to borrow against collateral, or their GNP, that they simply didn't have in order that they could establish and maintain an apparent standard that would allow them to function within the EU.

The last time that I was in Europe there were no borders, but if you were to drive from Belgium to France you still knew that you were in a different country. Just look at the price tags on products. Big drop once you went into northern France which was all due to government subsidies on agricultural products that allowed the French farmer to be competative. Great government pension plans; wonderful unemployment plans, etc, etc. Same thing in Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Greece. Everything being propped up by the individual governments and everything riding on a steadily increasing debt load that the major financial institutions were happy to advance.

When I was in university I took an economics course as one of my electives. In that course I wrote a paper on modern feudalism which was moderately well received by the prof - I got a B as I recall. In essence I harkened back to the days of political feudalism which, as you may remember, was a political system whereby the overlords basically owned everything and graciously allowed the feudal serfs to work their land in return for their right to keep some of the produce for themselves. The serfs were bound to the overlord and would simply never get out from under them. Sound familiar? Today as individuals we live in under a system of economic feudalism. The banks simply couldn't be happier than they would be if each and every one of us carried such a large amount of loaned capital that we had to go to work every day just to service the debt load. They don't care if we ever pay the debt back as long as we keep paying the interest. In the case of individuals the banks never really trust us so they always maintain enough collateral on our loans that if we default they simply repossess. That's what went wrong recently with the situation in the US. The value of the homes that they leant the money for was not enough to cover the principal so the banks began to take a lot of losses which is why they were happy to encourage the government to step in to support the home owner. That would mean that the happy homeowner would be able to carry on paying the interest and the banks would be back in the black again. Problem was that by that point many of the homeowners were out of work or had simply decamped and left and let the banks foreclose.

In the case of countries it wasn't so simple. What kind of collateral could a nation offer to support the loans that they were making? How often have we heard the statement, "The only way that this could fail would be if the country fails!" Well all too often lately it looks like that has happened. Take the current bailout package for Greece; does anyone really think that this is going to resolve the problem? It's like giving an alcoholic more booze to calm him down! I have heard many experts state that this is only delaying the inevitable.

For us here in Canada it's like watching a car wreck a half mile ahead of you on the highway and trying to slow down yourself. You are still left wondering if the pileup is going to reach back as far as you. You can't back up because there are others behind you. All you can do is watch like a deer in the headlights as crunch, crunch, crunch - the disaster is getting closer.......

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?
02/15/2012 | alain
Check out The Economist January 21st THE Rise if State Capitalism. We have no idea of where the world is going and our role in it.
Our democracy has been good for those of us who have lived in these last few decades and have benefited financially but the other never did. The next decades may be very difficult as we give up our rights to feudal lords.
Alain
02/15/2012 | Mike
It is important to note as I went through my rant above that at the end of the day, teh person that carries the can for the ecconomic backlash to corporate and governmental greed is little John and Jean Commonperson. We are the ones that will see higher interest rates so the banks can recover their losses. We are the ones for whom the governements are now looking at changes to our government pension plans to allow them to recover losses. In spite of all our planning over the years; inspite of all our expectations; in spite of all the assurances we have been given, we are the ones that will be bleeding to patch the wounds generated by corporate and political giants.
Happy Freezing Valentine's Day
Mike Barb
02/14/2012, Shelburne NS

I think last night was the coldest of the year.

Brrrrr!

Normally our furnace comes on with a 20% duty cycle but last night that must have been nearly 40%. Oh well. Most of winter is behind us but I certainly do wish I was in warmer climates aboard Nelleke. Sigh!

Happy Valentine's Day, All. I hope that you all have a main squeeze to squeeze; a snuggly to snuggle with; someone to smooch. For us today will be a wee bit laid back as none of the high end Valentine's Day sort of restaurants are open, so we'll be doing a dinner at home with a bottle of wine, snuggling in front of the tube or the fireplace as the mood hits us, but as I said I would way rather be doing something in front of a bonfire on a beach. I really do envy our friends down south. Maybe I should rob a bank or become a gigalo or something to make more money so we can get away earlier. No, actually that wouldn't work either as the main reason that I want to stay here for another 18-24 months at least is so that Barb can get her knees done. Double Sigh! I guess I have to resign myself to it. Probably the rest of this winter and two more....

Hang on. Between the winters there will be a summer and that will be worth waiting for. Grow a spine, Mike. Maybe use one of those icicles that are hanging outside your window.

Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?

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