Monday, 10 February 2014

Small Acts of Kindness

So, there is a poster that I recall seeing somewhere ‘A Stranger is just a Friend you don’t know – yet’. Don’t know about you but I try to avoid these vapid homilies like the plague. Call me an old cynic (and you probably will), but I’m too long in the tooth for all that stuff.

But then, just once in a while something magical happens and you’re driven to believe that maybe there really is hope for us all. Last week I posted piece about two dilemma’s, the first was the difficulty I was having in sourcing teak, the second was the need to find a replacement antenna for a hand-held Navicom R210 VHF set.

Within a day or so a reader (and fellow blogger I think) called Alfonso, emailed with solutions to both issues.

1.      he used teak flooring from a French DIY chain called ‘Merlin’ to make steps for his bathing ladder (and a pretty good job he made of it judging by his photos (in a format I can't seem to copy)

2.      Generally speaking marine handheld VHF antennas are interchangeable providing the couplings are the same. Basically, if you can screw it on – it will work

Now for me this represented a great step forward, particularly because I had spent a great deal of time emailing marine parts distributors in the hope they had a Navicom antenna or one that would be compatible. Every answer was the same

 ‘No we don’t stock Navicom’
‘Yes but do you have any that match?’
‘No we don’t stock Navicom’.

I guess no-one wanted to take a chance on sending me a product from a different manufacturer if case it didn’t work.

So, armed with Alfonso’s advice I took myself to an Electrical supplies store near St Malo and plonked the handheld VHF on the counter

            ‘Do you have an antenna I can screw into this?’
            ‘Probably, I’ll have a look round’

Things were looking up; the storekeeper disappeared into his back room and returned after several minutes

            ‘Try this’, he said. I screwed in the antenna, pressed the ‘on’ button and immediately heard ST Malo Port Authority advising an incoming vessel to stand off until an outgoing vessel cleared the entrance - job done, but now for the best bit –

            ‘How much do I owe you?’
‘Nothing, it’s one I salvaged from a busted VHF someone brought in a while ago.’

So, Thanks Alfonso and the guys at the marine electronic distributors in St Jouan des Guerets. Now I’m a believer! Little acts of kindness can change the world (well my world at least!)

You can see other excellent Aflonso pics here Alfonso's Pics