I became heartily sick of the continued assaults on my nose and mouth after the 5th such invasion by a hazmat besuited assailant, all in the space of 4 weeks. As a seafarer on my way home to the UK, I met certain conditions which exempted me from another test before entering the country, but anticipating an immigration officer whose understanding of the current rules, however inaccurate, would trump mine, I erred on the side of expediency.
Life afloat will naturally bring with it some discomforts - space is at a premium; noise is a constant and shifts are 12 hours back-to-back for the duration of the trip. Each ship's accommodation has its own oddities. Here you can see how the bedside light is thoughtfully placed in the centre of the headboard, exactly - as its name suggests - where your head will be when sitting up and reading.
And an old favourite, the bathroom cabinet overhanging the sink by at least 50%, result - water all over the floor (see 'Any Complaints?' for an illustration of the problem).
Our work was complete when we reached this offshore substation - I think it was 'Dolwin 6'. There are several of these dotted around each segment of the field. I suppose they're manned and have a similar 4-week cycle crewing arrangement as us.
As we tidied up and sea-fastened our equipment for the trip back to Eemshaven, we had a visitor. Janecki z Krakowa would have been able to board and fly back to shore, but I wouldn't - I haven't done the escape course and I'm not unhappy about that.
We docked in Eemshaven at about 3am. After a hearty breakfast (and the 5th PCR test) we got in the hire car which I'd arranged to be delivered to the dockside and headed off to Hoek Van Hollande to catch the Stena Britannica to take us back to Harwich.
We didn't have to be at the ferry until 7pm, so we stopped for lunch in Lelystad where the local Kreidler and Zundapp motorcycle club were out in force.
Then we moved onto Delft where, in stark contrast to the UK, the population was out and about, not a mask in sight, restaurants full to overflowing and everyone happy and having a good time. The Dutch get many things right; as a result, they're on the 'Amber' list for their refreshing disregard of the narrative.
After an indifferent plate of fish and chips in the company of the other six travellers on the ferry, I was trawling though my computer and came across the wiring diagram for the Hillman. I thought I'd lost it, so this was a good find. Why? Well, a few nights ago as I was sitting monitoring the magnetiser, I came across an image which got me thinking.
I've always toyed with the idea of a coupé body for the Hillman, and I don't think it would be too difficult a job to rebuild from the dashboard back. Maybe I've been too long at sea?