I should be used to them by now, but key cards for hotel rooms which you are obliged to slip into a device on the wall by the door to activate the services in your room, are less than ideal.
Invariably, I manage to lock myself out of my room for either of two reasons: inattention to the wonders of modern security systems or putting the card in a pocket also occupied by my phone. The magnetic doodah in the case wipes clean the lock’s code. Quarantine rules that compel you to step outside your door to collect a meal are also a hazard for the unwary. How do I know that?
Our confinement gave pause to observe the surrounding architecture. Sunlight brought out the best in an otherwise industrialised fabrication. Curves are expensive and so absent; straight lines are economical, practical and ubiquitous.
Imagine my delight when discovering that the same key card system existed aboard the Living Stone. I had to visit housekeeping within the first hour aboard.
My other complaint is the tiered access to internet services on ships. The expense of satellite comm’s are the excuse for allowing only 250mb per man, per day, per-haps (if you can wait for 10 minutes whilst a page loads). In port, similarly if you’re only a few miles offshore, tethering your phone is the best option. As we steam towards Wilhelmshaven, I can see the Swedish coast, but frustratingly, it's just out of signal range.
We were obliged to reverse down the Skagerrak and out to sea as the Nexans dock was too small for the Living Stone to turn around. ‘All ahead astern’ - an old favourite - fell on deaf ears.
Renaud has acquired this LR2 Special – happily with associated paperwork - an Austin 7 built under license by the French firm, Rosengart. The LR1, produced in 1929 was the first iteration of the A7, though by the time the LR4 came along in 1936, the design had so far departed from the original Austin, royalties ceased. The bonus, explains Renaud, is that everything's metric.
I was last in Wilhelmshaven six years ago. I can’t recall the name of the ship that we came to load, but I remember well the deeply unpleasant little bed and breakfast we stayed in for the week of our operations. A surly and suspicious landlady, damp rooms with ancient bedding and the stale smell of drains throughout, was enough for us to hope that the job wasn’t beset by delay and breakdowns.
In the weeks to come, I’ve set myself the task of concentrating on the details for the internal construction of the body work. Over the duration of this project, knowing that this aspect would be the least familiar to me, I've been steadily collecting screen shots for reference of how other people do it. A few arty layout sketches are hardly working drawings. For this exercise, I’ve brought with me an ample supply of pens and pencils, an eraser and paper. Low tech, but utterly reliable.