One of the tasks on the boat is cleaning. Everything. Inside and out.
We aren’t ready to do that just yet as we’re still going through our boat job list, but we’re well prepared for when we are. One of our followers, Heinz, sent us an environmentally friendly product called Brillean. Apparently it cleans anything. As Baz shows on this week’s video, Brillean is a hard paste that comes in a round tub and you apply it with a wet sponge (that’s included in the tub). Heinz sent us two tubs and two extra sponges as well as a couple of micro fibre cloths. Thanks Heinz! We’ll be using it to clean the dinghy and will show you the before and after pics in a future blog.
I have a rant
Those who know me will know that I generally do my best to find the positive in everything, but this week I just couldn’t help myself when it came to reviewing the brand new Metz hand-crank clothes wringer (mangle) that I purchased on Amazon.
I’d done my research as I don’t know much about these things except that the one mum had when I was a little girl flattened the nose on my teddy bear after she gave it a good wring so it would dry in time for my bedtime.
I’m pretty sure a lot of Y Gens haven’t heard of wringers, and if there are any reading this, it’s a piece of equipment with two rollers and a handle that you crank. You pass wet clothes through the two rollers by turning the handle and most of the water gets squeezed out of them. For me, this is great because on the boat it will:
Help to conserve water
Make wringing water out of bigger articles (like jeans and sheets) so much easier. Up till now, I’ve been doing the job by hand and it’s slow and ineffective.
A part of my research check list was that the mangle would be sturdy and also stand up to the salt water environment, as at anchor with no water maker, I’ll be washing the clothes in salt water first. And we know how salt deteriorates things.
The wringer that consistently got the highest ratings wherever I looked was the Calliger Hand Crank Clothes Wringer which received no less than 4.5 stars. The price was at the high end of my budget at US$143.74 but it looks to be a sturdy, well-made piece of equipment and I felt confident in choosing this one. However, Amazon don’t ship it to Greece, in fact the only one I could get was a Metz. This had no reviews and the cost was UKP125 which when converted to US$ was more expensive than my chosen brand.
I had my doubts as I ordered the Metz, but with no choice and wanting my laundry experience to come out of the Stone Age into the 19th century at least, I went ahead and ordered it.
I was so excited when it arrived! However, as I put it together, a few things made me question its value.
The top bar has slight signs of rust already.It is sold as having zinc coating on the metal.I’m not so sure about that.
The crank handle wobbles at the join and I had to use electrical tape to secure it.
The water tray was a b*%^# to install and I had to get Barry’s help to work it out as there were no hints in the ‘manual’.
One of the wooden blocks that holds the roller in place inside the casing has been jaggedly cut, without any apparent care.
All of the nuts and bolts on the rest of the casing needed tightening.
The Metz is made in China and has obviously been thrown together. If the quality of the Calliger is as good as the product information and reviews say, I’m really not at all sure that the Metz I purchased comes anywhere near its cost price. I did try out a tea towel and a pair of jeans and I can adjust the rollers to accommodate both of these thicknesses.
I will have to find a good place to attach the mangle. There’s one spot on the transom that I could use which will allow me to turn the handle. Alternatively I will need to buy two square edged sturdy buckets to mount it on.
Having said all that, I’m still glad to have a piece of equipment that will make my laundry work easier and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to do my next load of laundry!
A battered beach and a red box
While we had the hire car we decided to visit the other side of the island. I picked a random spot on the map: Mantoudi and its ferry terminal that services the nearby Skiathos island. I pictured a dock that had a café or two and a place where we could sit and look at the Aegean Sea.
Sometimes reality doesn’t match up with expectations and this was one of those times! Arriving at the coast, we were met with dark sand that was strewn with rocks and a bull dozer. Baz looked at the water and said “Wow, that’s the Aegean – I can’t believe how flat it is, it’s like a mill pond!” Looking at the devastation on what had been the beach, I reckoned it hadn’t always been as flat as a millpond. I looked over at a large concrete dock about 500 metres away, “So that must be the ferry terminal.” “No,” said Baz. “That’s an industrial terminal.”
Turns out it was the ferry terminal and we decided to check it out. So we asked Flossy who lives in our Sat Nav to get us there. Well as you’ll know from last week, the poor thing’s a little challenged when it comes to navigating around Evia Island in Greece. She took us the long way up a very narrow and dilapidated mountain road which was rather hairy. I laughed when she suggested we do a U-turn and when I realized Baz was actually going to do just that, the smile soon vanished off my face! He did a great 3-point turn though and we didn’t end up sliding off the crumbling road edge down to the shore!
On the road, we found a big red tool box which must have fallen off the back of someone’s truck. Baz picked it up and we drove around to the gate of a yard to leave it there in the hopes that it would get back to the owner (locals knowing locals). As we approached the gate a guy came out and after a lot of hand gestures to overcome the language barrier he was happy for us to leave it. He asked where we were from and even shook my hand!
While Nikos visited to drop off a few tools for us to use, he suggested we visit Drimona Waterfalls which are situated in the hills fairly close to where we are staying in Sipiada. I was so glad we went, as I instantly felt recharged in this heavenly natural setting with its abundance of trees and the stream, filled with water from melting ice, tumbling down the mountainside creating waterfalls in its path. There was a good stone path and sturdy wooden railings following the creek and signs marking different species of trees. One tree was a Juniper sapling and I joked that Jim (Furness) and I could make some gin, with Barry saying we’d have to wait a while for the tree to grow!
Baz and I could have happily spent the day there in the relaxing location, but we had promised lunch to Nikos for coming all the way form Porto Rafti and he had to return later that afternoon.
Near the entrance to the falls was a drinking fountain and Nikos and I took turns cupping our hands and gulping mouthfuls of the cold clear water as it gushed out of the tap.
On the way down the hill, we spotted smoke coming out of a small taverna. There was a guy working on the outside of the building but when Nikos asked, he was told they were open for lunch. Great! We enjoyed a tasty lunch with a fantastic view over the valley as the sun provided enough warmth for us to sit outside.
Back in the car, we followed the river down the mountain and it came out very close to the boat yard. It turns out the river that we’ve discovered running into the beach just up from the boat yard is the same one we’d just visited!
If you’d like to see the video that accompanies this blog, just click here.