Since I’ve known Gavin he has always been a general Mr Fix It. Whether it be home maintenance, working on the car or mending boats, he can throw his hand to anything. When we worked together on charter boats, every week guests were amazed by his expertise and how he could always ‘make a plan’ to fix things and nicknamed him ‘MacGyver’!
Just after the hurricane, Gavin returned to Tortola to get the apartment prepared for Léna and myself to return home. He tried so hard to make life comfortable for the two of us despite the conditions on the island at the time. He bought a generator, was connecting inverters, battery chargers and boat lights around the house, he made sure we had an internet connection so we could keep family up to date with our progress and even managed to connect the washing machine up to our cistern water tank via a hosepipe running through the house.
Since the hurricane he has gained so much more experience in all fields. Charters have been extremely slow this season, so he has been working in the shipyard a lot helping to get the hurricane damaged boats back in the water. From salvage diving, working on mooring balls, stripping down boats and replacing rigging to get things back to normal.
Luckily our car survived the hurricane, however cars have a very short lifespan on the island especially with the steep roads, several sharp switchbacks which damage your steering and causes you to change brake pads every other week. The rough terrain and terrible conditions of the roads filled with pot holes ruin your suspension and tyres wear out quickly. Over the last 6 months Gavin has changed brake pads and discs, a steering pump, and a full suspension. He likes to do most jobs himself, mainly to save on the pennies, but also because he thinks he can do everything and will not let anything beat him. The steering pump however has almost worn him down. He must have removed that piece 6 times now and is definitely becoming a pro at taking it out and putting it back together again!
When the power finally came back on in our apartment I was so excited to get to use our air conditioning units, only to find out all three of them were broken. One of them must have dried out as it eventually started to work again by itself, the second was fixed after a lot of messing around with the fuse box and the third he is still puzzling with, but thinks he can fix it once he has the time to get around to it.
Poor Gavin’s job list is never ending, from the ac compressor, the oven not igniting, toilet basins with leaking water, doors with no windows (blown out through the hurricane and now boarded up), bleeding cistern tanks, cleaning guttering on the apartment block, fixing the car and replacing water pumps on the boat. It is a tiresome job but someone has to do it. Unfortunately landlords in the BVI have a bad reputation not taking care of their properties or tenants. They just want their rent money and don’t care about things that need to be fixed. We are going into our 7 month of living in a property which still has plenty of hurricane damage, yet the landlord is no where to be seen… He is probably on vacation spending his insurance money elsewhere, but who knows when you have no contact from him…
Léna and I are very lucky to have our own personal handyman and even after his long days at work, he always comes home with a smile on his face ready to face another job on the list, before finally settling down to spend some time with his family.
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