Everything is Changing

Tuesday June 2, 2015

The Sailing Conductors & Jessica

That seems to be my motto lately.  Serendipity is sold.  Big change.  We have at least moved her to a slip after sitting on the hard for the past 7 weeks.  Change.  Our boat yard buddies the Sailing Conductors are leaving us to begin their sail back to Germany and there’s a good chance we’ll never see them again.  Big change (for me….I love those guys!).  Our other friends Hanna and Mark will be out of here soon enough as well to begin their lives as cruisers and spend the season in Guatemala.  A change that I can thankfully at least put off for a few weeks.

And while all our friend’s lives are changing for the better and I am so happy for them, I have to look at our upcoming future, and honestly it makes me a little melancholy.  And a bit apprehensive.  Trust me, I am all for the renovation of Daze Off, I’m the one that pushed for it more when Matt was unsure.  I know it will be a great boat for us once it’s finished and we’re traveling again.  The only problem is, that is a long time from now and we have a very hard road ahead of us.

I want the new (to us) boat that we know every nut, bolt, and screw; and have also tailored it to exactly our taste, the only problem is I don’t want it 6-12 months from now….I want it tomorrow.  But as Scarlet O’Hare would say ‘I can’t think about that right now.  If I do, I’ll go crazy.  I’ll think about that tomorrow’..  Right now we do still have our good friends with us and I’d like to enjoy every moment of it possible.

Sunday we brought our whole group together at the marina for one more German night.  Now that we have one more addition from that country (Hanna), and we had been enforcing so many American things on them (with the exception of the cheap Costa Rican beer we’ve all been turned on to, thanks to Mark) I wanted to sample another treat from Deutschland.  The Königsberger Klopse Hannes made before was so good that I couldn’t wait for another delicious sample of something I had never tried before.

Gathering for the night and being told to bring nothing other than ourselves, I found out the meal of the night was to be stuffed peppers.  Something I never knew had German origins, but apparently they do.  (Or maybe Hungarian.  Close enough.)  Unlike last time, we had two new sets of hands which meant all I had to do was sit back and enjoy a few cold Becks.  Just after the sun had gone down, I think we tend to get distracted when all of us are together and meals take 2 hours to cook, we pushed two tables together and chowed down on appetizing German (Hungarian) stuffed peppers.

When the plates were cleaned away we brought out the wine and guitars.  Since Hannes now had 2 with him after having his grandfather’s refurbished in Nashville, one was handed over to me and I lamely tried to strum along even though I’ve now had almost three months to practice yet can not play the A chord Ben tried to teach me the first night we all hung out.  Eventually my duties turned into ‘flashlight holder’ and I sat perched at the end of my seat, making sure to illuminate the pages of whatever tune the guys were playing.

Mark, Hanna, & Ben

dinners on the patio

Matt & Jessica - MJ Sailing

stuffed pepper dinner

Captain Ben Bart

Jessica, Ben & Hannes

Tonight we said our final farewells to Ben & Hannes, which was incredibly hard to do.

This morning they left Indiantown bright and early with a newly decorated Marianne (thanks to Jack), with plans of anchoring in Stuart for the night before pushing on toward Fort Pierce where they’d do last minute provisions and wait for a weather window to head out into the Atlantic.  Plans were for Matt and I to head out and treat them to a nice dinner, a thank you for letting us take their place as sailing instructors to the Bahamas back in April when the original request had been for them.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Ben that afternoon that they were making it all the way out to Fort Pierce in one day and would in fit in our schedule to have dinner that night instead?  Well…we’re in the middle of packing up Serendipity to get everything that isn’t being sold with her onto Daze Off, which is still in storage at the moment.  Not to mention that I still wanted to turn this into a Fancy night out since I’d been promised one by Matt ever since we reached American soil again in March and so far had not happened.

A change in plans meant rushing a few more loads of goods to Daze Off as well as jumping into the shower and furiously towel drying my hair in time to still straighten it before we hopped in the van to head to Fort Pierce.  But….there was no way we could turn these guys down.  They’ve done so much for us in all our time together (and have given me so many free beers) that it was time for when they said “jump”, we said “how high?”.  Getting my hair and make-up done and throwing on a new dress, I was able to get in the Kia with just enough time to meet them at 7.

Getting lost in the vast rows of slips at the city’s marina, we eventually found the brightly painted Marianne and the guys.  True to his word, Hannes even wore his ‘sailor’s outfit’ for our last good-bye, something I’ve been asking him to put on ever since we were first placed next to each other in the work yard and I had been internet stalking them based on their website printed on the hull of their boat.

Walking up the short distance to Cobb’s Landing, a nice little restaurant on the waterfront, we sat down in time to hear not only live music coming from inside, but also that we came on a particular beer special night where all beers start at $0.50 at 7:00 and go up $0.50 on the half hour until they are full price.  With a huge selection in front of us we all ordered something different and followed it by a taste test where we’d pass our glasses around the table so we’d each get a sample of something new.

The food was heavenly and even though I had originally been weary of my choice of lobster & shrimp macaroni and cheese, it is now something I would drive all the way back up here just to enjoy. The four of us continued to sit outside and enjoy the music and cheap premium beer until the sun was going down and it was time for us to get on the road.  Luckily we didn’t have to say a teary goodbye at the restaurant since we were bringing the guys back to Indiantown with us so they could retrieve the magic bus. Of course the whole ride back was filled with jokes that Matt and I would chuck any plans of fixing up Daze Off and instead fly to the Netherlands where of course Matt has already found another ‘perfect boat’.  Placing us right next to Germany there’s no way we couldn’t be sailing buddies again in the future.

Dropping the guys off in front of the magic bus we gave them the biggest of hugs and wished them well on the rest of their journey as well as any future ventures.  I know we’ll still keep in close touch, but with them headed back to a land based life it’s much harder to say ‘Maybe we’ll bump into each other again on the water someday’.  Something I’ve been able to do with so many of my new friends and that I am so grateful for.  But in this case I don’t see it happening and that is incredibly saddening.  As I’ve told myself earlier.  “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Ben & Matt

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Ben, Hannes & Matt at Cobbs Landing

Cobb's Landing

Sailing Conductors & MJ Sailing

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Guess Who Just Got Back Today?

Tuesday May 26, 2015

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

The boys are back in town!  Maybe they didn’t just get back today, per se, it was more like Saturday, but I’ve got to start condensing my posts so this is what you’re left with. Anyway, The Sailing Conductors (and Jack Mantis) are back in Indiantown!

After touring the US and Canada in their magic bus for the last five weeks they have made their way back to Marianne who has been so patiently waiting for them in storage.  I think she was beginning to feel neglected next to the bus, but she has been receiving nothing but love and care from the guys this week and now has no reason to complain. After hitting up cities like New Orleans, Chicago, DC, and playing shows in Nashville, Toronto, and NYC, Ben and Hannes ended their tour and we finally got our work yard buddies back.

Their stay here will be incredibly short since they have a weather window to begin their trek back to Germany which is all ready to come and go on them, and are trying to get Marianne back in the water as close to June 1st as possible.  From there they will make a stop in Bermuda if the mood suits, otherwise head straight for the Azores as their first stop.

To say I will miss them will be a huge understatement as we did spend almost every day together for a month, and having them gone on their road trip while I had to look over at the empty space next to us in the yard has been hard enough.  But while they are here we’re going to enjoy as much time together as possible.  To celebrate their first night back we had a braii at the patio which turned into us smushing as many tables as we could fit together in the kitchen since the mosquitoes are still out in full force and none of us could stand to be outside. When they go after Matt alone, it’s normal.  When they begin going after everyone in the party?  Time to move inside.

A new couple in the work yard that we’ve made friends with, Mark and Hanna, were there to honor the occasion as well and Hanna’s German came in handy as I’m sure the guys missed having someone new to speak their native tongue with. When the dishes were all cleared away it didn’t it didn’t take us long to force the guys to bring their instruments out and once again we were delighted with a live performance of Jack’s guitar and Ben’s cello.  I have so much fun with these guys, even just working on boat projects, but I think listening to their music is going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most once they are gone for good. patio at Indiantown Marina

dinner with the Sailing Conductors

Jack playing guitar

Since Matt and I have a boat we’re in the middle of trying to sell and the guys have a boat with a million and one projects that need to be finished in about a weeks time, we haven’t been able to spend as much of our time together as we did before.  One event we could not miss out on though was the final painting of the magic bus. If you don’t remember me mentioning it before, Jack is a well known graffiti artist in South Africa and it turns out his good buddy Seemsoe that has joined in the last week of their journey is pretty well known for the same thing in Germany.

Although Jack had taken over one side of the bus while hanging out in Brooklyn, painting his signature on one side, a group of hippies had taken over the other and left a paint job with a lot to be desired.  Since the guys are hoping to sell the bus before they make their way out of the US, this needed to change.

Wandering over after the sun had gone down and all of the yard staff left for the day, we walked up to find a wet bar set up with scrap pieces of wood, spray paint bottles scattered between ones of gin and tonic. Jack and Seemsoe were already busy choosing colors and getting Seemsoe’s name ready to go on the other side of Jack’s.

Over the next few hours the rest of our gang sat back and watched as the one side of the bus was transformed from something that was incredibly tacky into something that was incredibly amazing.  Things that you wouldn’t think would go together suddenly worked, and Jack also had some bright ideas (literally) up his sleeve, transforming the turn signal into one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen.

It was a great night among friends and really one of the first opportunities I’ve had to really catch up with the guys since they’ve been back. We all had fun hanging out once more and in the process, revamping their ride into something that will sell.  Which at the end of the night gave them a sudden change of heart and they decided that after all this they couldn’t let her go and they’re going to try and get their production company to ship her over to Germany so they can bring her on tour when they get back this fall.  So if you’re on the roads in Berlin later this year and you see this hot ride passing by, make sure to give them a honk and a wave for me.

Seemsoe painting.

Jack Mantis painting

Jack & Seemsoe painting

lighthouse blinker

the Indiantown gang

Seemsoe, Jess, & Jack

 

 

 

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Jack Attack

Monday April 6, 2015

Hannes & Jack at the patio

There’s a new crew member in Indiantown to s/v Marianne and  the Magic Bus Paula (I think that’s what they named her?).  Wednesday night before we made our first attempt at the Bahamas and now that we’ve been back at the marina a few more days, we’ve had a chance to get to know and enjoy the offbeat-ness that is Jack Mantis.  A South African graffiti artist and musician.

Ben and Hannes met Jack awhile back when they sailed into Trinidad and recorded him playing an original song of his, Radiate.  Since then Jack has had a lot of recognition with that song and it’s a top hit with his group, the Jack Mantis Band.  At the moment he’s taking a break from his band to tour with the Sailing Conductors as they hit the US and Canada in the next few weeks and will help them as they record new artist and also catches some shots of his own, including playing in Times Square, to make an official video for Radiate including Ben and Hannes.  From there he’ll be sailing with the guys all the way back to Germany where he’ll meet back up with his band this fall for a European tour.

On Wednesday, his first night in after traveling for over 48 hours from Cape Town, we only gave him about two hours rest before having him unwrap his guitar from all the transportation packaging and play a few songs for us.  This guy is beyond talented, with some of the best guitar playing I have ever seen.

Saturday however, we watched him tap into his artistic graffiti side and help the guys to a little decorating to their modes of transportation.  After having driven down to West Palm Beach on Friday to pick up a very specific brand of spray paint, he was all set to give Marianne a new facelift when we found out the yard’s regulations against it.  Slightly defeated, they turned to decorating the bus instead.  Marianne may not be able to easily move to an out of the way area where spraying is not an issue, but Paula can!

Tucking her into the deep woods of the marina, Jack went about giving the hood a set of racing flames that eventually moved all the way up the front of the boat and even the mirrors.  When I asked what he was going to do with the sides he told me that instead of painting it all now it would get completed along the journey where inspiration from their different spots hit.  They’re also toying with the idea of making one side a large mural where other artists can claim a small spot to make their own art work.  I’m not sure what it will look like when it’s 100% finished, but already I can tell that it’s going to get a lot of attention on the roads.  Awesome job Jack!

s/v Marianne

Jack painting the bus

Jack paints the bus

The Magic Bus

Tonight there was an event hosted at the marina to showcase all the guys’ talent.  Since I think the patrons here were ready for something a little different than their weekly blind taste test on boxed wine, a music night was put together instead.  In the patio area was a sign up sheet to have pizza delivered, and if the guys played their instruments for the group for a little bit they would earn themselves a couple of free pies.

This party couldn’t have come at a better time for us because Matt and I will be leaving tomorrow for our Bahamas/Sailing Instructors trip, and just a day or two after that the guys will be on the road in their magic bus for their US and Canada tour.  It would be the last chance for all of us to hang out for the next six weeks so it was only fitting that a big celebration be in order.

It was really fun to get a chance to chat with a few new people in the marina, and even though I had to keep my laughter to a minimum because it was extremely painful due to my fractured rib I still sneaked a few good ones in while enjoying the company of our good friends for the last time in a long time.  The music was fantastic as usual and I was even able to capture a bit of it to put on video for you.

I’m going to miss all three of these guys (even Jack although we just met him) like crazy while they’re gone, but at least I know that soon enough they’ll be back and we can resume our normal shenanigans. Besides, how else am I going to get free pizza unless they earn it for me?

Matt & Jack at the patio

Hannes playing the uke

Sailing Conductors & Jack Mantis

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We German….We Hope You Like German Too..

Sunday March 29, 2015

Ben opens a German beer

Since we had spent a good portion of last week introducing Hannes and Ben to a number of new American things they had never experienced before (Walmart..smores) they figured it was time to pay us back by bringing a little German into our lives.  Or, one good night Germanizing us.

This would include a German dinner cooked by our very own Smutje Hannes, master of the galley, and enjoyed with real German beer.  Whichever one we could find here in Southern Florida.  The meal our master chef ended on was Königsberger Klopse, roughly translated to King’s Meatballs.  Yesterday we scoured the local Walmart for all the ingredients where each of us had to memorize a list of 3-4 items as Ben’s phone lost battery power and we were left to remember on our own how much pork, veal and bay leaves went into the recipe.

(On a side note, this was the same day we had the Magic Bus break down on us in the parking lot of a Taco Bell when we went to leave and discovered the power steering lines busted and drained fluid all over the lot.  If you ever want lots of stares and random photos taken of you, try crawling under, in and above the hood of a short bus just off US-1.)

When our German night came up on us we found ourselves in the middle of a Polar Freeze with temperatures plunging from high’s in the mid 80’s to the mid 60’s.  Nights now in the low 50’s.  It was too much for our now tropical blood to handle and we all showed up to the patio in long pants, long shirts, and jackets. I may have even run back to the boat to grab a scarf because heaven forbid a cool breeze pass over my bare neck.

Getting ourselves set up outside we put Ben to work peeling potatoes as one of our sides, a job I quickly took over once he realized he was also on broccoli duty and our master chef saw that getting those cooked was of leading importance.  Before the sun could fully go down on us and we’d lose our nightly ritual of an evening drink, we made sure to stop and smell the German beer.  And taste it too.  What we had been able to find was Warsteiner which I guess is actually a pretty popular pilsener back home in Deutschland with some very entertaining commercials that we looked up on Youtube.

Matt, Hannes, & Ben

Matt, Hannes, Jessica & Ben

cheers with Warsteiner

I thought at this point that becoming Germanized meant I could just to sit back and enjoy my beer as I watched on. Smutche Hannes had other plans and continued to bark out orders for the rest of us to follow as he oversaw the operation.  Ok, maybe that’s not true, but we all withstood a little more time getting our hands dirty preparing this meal.

I may not have had the worst part of it as Hannes actually was the one getting his hands dirty, mushing up all the ground meat while I tossed in things like bread crumbs, spices, and anchovie paste.  Soon the blended flavors began to smell so good that I couldn’t keep myself from swiping the rim of the bowl with a piece of bread and eating just a bite of it raw. It.Was.Delicious.

It always cracks me up how we take up about three tables outside whenever we do a meal.  One table to sit at and eat and drink, one table to keep all our ingredients and supplies on, and one table to actually cook on since the kitchen doesn’t have a stove and the guys bring out their two burner that runs on denatured alcohol.

making dinner on patio

Before I could worry myself about eating too many pieces of raw meat though, Hannes had turned his bowl of ground veal into a plate of large meatballs and we were now working on the white wine sauce.  While taking a few swigs directly from the bottle after pouring a cup or two into the pan of course.  Then there was testing one of the meatballs after it had been cooking for about 15 minutes and still a bit pink inside.  Still delicious.

Even though Smutje Hannes and I had decided from our taste test that we were ready to dive into this meal we still let the meatballs sit another 15 minutes since there were others in the crowd that didn’t want any pink in their meat.  Cowards.  However, this did give us a little more time to thicken up the sauce and before we knew it we were ready to eat.  My mind was full of images of me stuffing 3-4 of these King’s Meatballs in my face although my stomach was only able to handle too.  I think it also knew that dessert was on it’s way from another boatyard friend of ours, Mack.  Strudel and ice cream.  A perfect complimentary German last course.

German meatballs

cherry strudel

To finish up this great night and because it was so ridiculously cold to all of us, we moved ourselves over to the fire pits to enjoy the remaining bottle of wine before we all burrowed under our covers for the night.

Overall I think our German night was a huge success and Matt and I did very well on our way to becoming Germanized.  Or as Bob Marley may have sung if he were with us:

Yeah, we’re – we’re German,
We’re German,
See, I wanna German wid you
We’re German (German, German, German)
I’m German: I hope you’re German, too.

fire pit at marina Sunday Funday with Sailing Conductors

 

 

 

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Photo Caption Week: Life with the Sailing Conductors

Wednesday March 25, 2015

Hannes, Ben & Matt get Marianne's engine back in

What can I say?, there’s been nothing interesting to report on the progress of Serendipity because general cleaning work is pretty ho-hum.  Unless you’re interested in knowing things like Matt was all ready to polish the side when he realized we didn’t have pads for the polisher, so we had to wait three days to get a ride into Stuart to buy a few…only to realize they were the wrong size and had to wait another five days before we could get back into town to replace them.

The good news is our nights have been incredibly busy and incredibly fun as we get together with Ben and Hannes almost every single night.  From sushi making to smores, hot wings and pool at the local saloon to watching the sun set between our boats with a cold one in hand, these guys have been great company for us during our time here and I can only hope that we do the same for them.

Life may not be very productive when you have such new yet good friends just mere feet away from you…but it sure is a lot more fun!

Hannes records Ben making sushi

Hannes records Ben as he slices the fillings for sushi.  Think it will make it onto an episode of Soundwave2Berlin?

Matt and Alex at Indiantown

Matt hangs out with the local hooligans, Alex and Adam.

Hannes inspects wasabi sauce

Is it still considered wasabi sauce if it comes in a squeeze bottle that came from Walmart?

Sailing Conductors - Hannes & Ben

Are they saying they love Moosehead Lager or they love each other?  We’ll let these special friends* decide for themselves.

Ben making sushi

Ben adds some smoked salmon to drown out the flavor of imitation crab.

homemade sushi

Although it came out pretty pitiful looking, trust me, it tasted fantastic.  Look, it even had sliced ginger!

bringing up the engine

Marianne’s engine is finally rebuilt and being brought back on board.

cheers for Marianne's engine

Hannes & Ben cheer while Matt tries to forget  that one of them is in their underwear.

bonfire at Indiantown Marina

The guys prepare to enjoy their first smore ever.  The anticipation is killing them.

Sailing conductors first smores

They may have been all smiles for this photo, but they were choking those smores down.  Too.Much.Sugar.

hanging between Marianne and Serendipity

After going out for happy hour and hot wings we gather between our boats for a few more beers.

Matt & Hannes

O.M.G.  I don’t even know what to say…

Captain Ben Bart

Hannes captures a close up of Ben while playing with my camera lenses.

Hannes smutche

Hannes contemplates life…music….or perhaps what all of us are going to do tomorrow night.

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

Marianne….best boat yard buddy anyone could ask for.

 

 

*Inside joke.  They’re not actually a couple.

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Work Time on Serendipity

Saturday March 21, 2015

Hannes & Ben working on Marianne

I will be honest.  The first two full days we had Serendipity on the hard, we were working machines.  Getting to work by 9 am, scrubbing and cleaning until after 6.  The days flew by and we hardly knew where the time went.  Then…Ben and Hannes got back from Tampa and as we mentioned, our crews became distractions for each other when it came to getting work done.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been happening on both ends.  Just not as gung-ho as before we all met.

So what’s been getting done to Serendipity?, you might ask.  In short, we are trying to make her immaculate for her next owners, whomever they may be.  There really aren’t any big projects or fixes we need to worry about, just little touch ups and a bit of TLC.

One of the areas that had been neglected for awhile and needed to be addressed was the teak on Serendipity’s deck.  We hadn’t done this since last May/June because of all our passages and we knew that the salt water hitting the deck would help destroy any time we put into it so we put that project on hold until we were in Florida.  Because we know that varnishing is a pain-in-the-butt, the last few times we’ve taken on this project we’ve opted to use Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil .  Just clean the teak, easily paint to coats of this on, and you’re good to go.  I think taping off the areas took me 3x longer than the application process.

After that was the start of some serious scrubbing and cleaning.  For two days I spent my time in the aft lazerette with a bucket, and sponge, and a toothbrush; trying to wipe off every speck of dirt from every wall, nook, and cranny.  Some areas were a little harder than others and I would have to exercise my contortionist skills just to get to them.  Other areas I scrubbed for a good ten minutes not realizing it was a shadow being cast in front of me and not in fact a very stubborn section of dirt.

We also now have one area of the boat that is completely cleaned and needs no more attention, and that is the v-berth.  Surprisingly that one only took one day as we scrubbed every surface, bleached it to prevent future mold, and emptied and organized the storage spaces under the cushions.  I have to say, it’s so nice having a second boat to drop off extra junk at as we spruce this one up.  So far Daze Off is holding our life raft, guide books, and spare electronics.

Serendipity on the hard

cleaned out v-berth

storage in v-berth

Serendipity on the hard

 

My project de la semaine this week has been to replace the zippers on the dodger.  Some of the teeth have begun to fall out and they don’t do the best job of going up and down anymore, so I’d hate to leave that hassle for the next owner.

At first I was incredibly happy to get outside of the boat where temperatures are already beginning to skyrocket toward 90 degrees so that I could sit in the fresh breeze outside.  placing myself under Serendipity’s hull I’ve been shaded by the sun, and as long as I have my x-boom next to me, I’m a happy little girl.  With the exception of ants….

A few of the yard workers had come by early on to warn me about red ants in the area, but since I didn’t see them at all I paid their warnings no need.  That was a bit of a mistake.  The reason I didn’t see them running around is because they are so incredibly tiny…but that doesn’t mean they don’t pack a huge punch with their bite.  They’ve gotten me a few times now and the painful and itchy bumps they leave behind torment me for days after.  We’ve sprayed around the boat a few times now which I think is finally starting to keep them at bay.

There have been a few times though that a rogue ant or two will still get through the barrier and take me by surprise.  Unfortunately they usually do this by crawling up my shorts.  There have been multiple times now where I’ve been sitting there sewing or chatting with the guys next door while they work and I shoot up like a bullet and begin shaking my legs around because I literally have ants in my pants.  Not very fun.  I make sure to keep double cushions between me and the ground now.

working on dodger

Photo courtesy of Hannes.

Each day still ends the same, and that’s with me and eventually Matt wandering off to Marianne to see how progress went that day for Hannes and Ben.  I inevitably end up there first with the lure of shade and the promise of cold beer.  Today they just fixed their fridge and had a champagne of beers already waiting for me, so it was perfect.  I also like to get over there in time to see them record their daily progress to send back to their production company for the documentary series they have back in Germany, Soundwave2Berlin.  I rarely understand a word of what’s being spoken, but it’s fun to watch Ben or Hannes step in front of the camera and become animated as they speak of what they were or were not able to fix that day.

So, slowly and surely we are getting there.  Before we know it (we hope), Serendipity will be in the water and on the market and we can begin tearing apart Daze Off.  Although if our work so far on boat #1 is any indication of what’s to come, we could be here a very, very long time.

Ben & Hannes working on fridge

Hannes recording Ben

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