“Oh yes. But I’m not so happy about the new colour scheme.”
I stood with Sol, mirroring his stance – arms folded, legs locked in position. He was angry. I steeled myself against the onslaught. ‘I’m not so happy’ was code for ‘Bloody angry’.
“I need to tell you something,” I scratched my cheek, feeling two days’ worth of bristles rasp against my fingernails.
“We sourced the paint livery from the original makers. We painted her sky blue, just like you asked, but it just didn’t cover up the, the…”
“I asked you – no, told you – to get rid of the stains! Sandblast the wheel, smooth it, seal it, paint it. For God’s sake, that’s why I hired you!”
“That’s what we did, Sol.”
“And she never had a red wheel – never!”
I sighed, faked my ‘I’m sorry’ shrug and turned away. The captain’s daughter had been torn to pieces on Dixie’s maiden voyage, her skirt caught up in the paddle steamer’s big wheel. It seemed like the old girl didn’t want anyone to forget. A red-painted wheel was her way of honouring Ruby – my great-grandmother.