However, what I didn't realise until I started this enterprise was that it wasn't the steel that was in danger of disintegrating; it was the wooden floor on which I was kneeling.
Unbeknown to me, a colony of woodworm, whose predilection for chomping their way through exotic woods of great worth and density (their version of caviar and rump steak) is well documented, had found their way into the hardwood floor of my cabin and had been merrily demolishing it. I say unbeknown, because the floor was covered with carpet, so the little varmints - or should I say 'wormints' - had been having an ongoing feast worthy of a Roman orgy without being detected. Until I put my foot through a certain patch of it, that is.
Well, I didn't really put my foot through it; there was the carpet to save me, of course. But I heard the awful crunching and splintering and realised that it was a lot worse than I'd thought. I'd seen a few little hillocks of sawdust on the steel of the hull and had treated the parts that I could see with cuprinol, but until I ripped up the carpet, I had no idea how far they had gone.
It was amazing. If you've ever seen a honeycomb that's what my floor resembled in this one particular area. Here's a photo of the plank I cut out.
|Rather dark, but the offending area|
So now comes the tough part. Do I rip the whole floor out? Or do I hope that my now extensive anti woodworm treatment has done the trick of banishing them to worm Hades? Can I just replace the plank that was the object of their extreme attention? My idea is that if I then varnish the floor thoroughly, it might put them off returning. Or am I clutching at straws?
Well, in the end, I'll have to do what I can afford to do, both time and money-wise.
So maybe it will end up being a compromise (sorry).
Whatever the case, it's taught me an important lesson. Never cover unvarnished wood without making it easy to check it. Or rather, just never cover an unvarnished floor. Simple isn't it?
I wish it hadn't taken me fifteen years to learn that lesson as the wormints have had a good many of those to chew their way through numerous planks and I still don't know the real extent of their burrowings. But (and I say this with fingers, toes and thumbs crossed), the rest of the floor feels pretty strong, and since no one but me goes into the back cabin, I'll probably take the chance. Well you would if you were me too...
That said, I now have another 'what if' scenario to add to my well stoked syndrome. But then I'll always find something to worry about, so it might as well be something worthwhile, and I think on this occasion it is. For the time being, the score is still woodworm 1, me 0. I think I'd like to at least make it a draw!