When we left home last week I had a full complement of ten nicely shaped, neat and clean, although unvarnished, fingernails of medium length. I returned yesterday with three. (Just to reassure the squeamish, they haven't been pulled out, merely broken off, albeit torn with some severity in the case of right thumb).
I think the first one (right middle) fell victim to unlocking the padlock and opening the slide on arrival. Another to closing the kitchen side hatches, and a third to the engine room hatches. At least two were unable to stand the Brasso-ing pace and ended up in the polishing rag. One bit the dust at Stoke Bruerne, perhaps rendered brittle by the freezing conditions. The last spontaneously detached itself in sympathy, I think.
I hate having broken nails. I just hate the jagged, incomplete feeling it gives you. Even if you don't touch it, you can sense that something is wrong. Warrior's first aid tin (it's the one labelled 'cocoa', should you ever need it in a hurry) contains Savlon, paracetamol, plasters, TCP, tweezers, bandage, and - the thing that gets used most of all - nail file. Get it smoothed off, and all is well again.
Yes, I know that long nails and boating don't mix. Before we actually go anywhere which involves ropes, windlasses etc, I cut them all off. But I had fondly imagined that they might survive a week of light housework. Sadly, no.
I am now faced with a dilemma. Should I, in the interests of uniformity and neatness, reduce all my digital embellishments to the level of the most seriously denuded, and thus make myself look like a very nervous type (I have never, ever, bitten my nails, I'll have you know. In fact at primary school my talons were notorious). I think this would be rash, as it would remove the measure of protection that these keratin protruberances afford delicate fingertips. It must be awful to be a biter, and have those raw bits constantly exposed. Or perhaps they toughen up. No, I think I had better seek a happy medium, whereby they are curtailed less drastically... they'll still be short though, and have you noticed that short nails get a lot dirtier than long ones?
On the plus side, I can now text with my thumb, one handed, like a young person, rather than holding the phone in my left hand and stabbing at it with a finger.