Well it’s going alright! I say this in a slightly surprised, slightly trepidatious (not a word, should be) voice. We’re a little bit behind on our schedule, a couple of jobs have proved more tricky or time consuming than anticipated but generally, yes, it’s going alright. The planks are going on and every day our boat grows and the prospect of her being a buoyant fish-catching entity seems less remote and unimaginable.
A couple of people have said to us, ‘It must be a pretty special feeling, building a boat’. And I’ve been considering this. Part of me says ‘Yes’, cheerfully, while inwardly thinking ‘I am entirely dressed in my husband’s clothes* which are covered in a snot-like sheen of hardened glue even when freshly washed and I have just spent the last half hour in a human rights violatingly small plywood box wiping epoxy into my hair whilst the scratchy radio played Gotye for the fifteenth time today. Yes, yes it is special.’ But it is good to be reminded that it is special and we are building a boat. Clearly the fact that we are building a boat has been apparent to us from the start, but it has not always felt like this. Often it has felt more like we were sanding and epoxying random loveless bits of plywood for no obvious reason and ‘Why am I doing this? I would prefer to be lying on the sofa or on Facebook.’ But now we are getting to the stage where if you can look upside down behind you without falling over at our boat you see an actual boat. I look at it and I can imagine us finishing this boat and it being our boat that we built and that is very exciting and very special indeed.
It also makes the building process more purposeful and enjoyable. The first few planks went on easily, and we thought we’d be finished with it in a jiffy. Then we got to planking the curvier bits and things slowed down and planks snapped and it felt interminable. And now we’re at the stage where things seem to be settling down. We’ve planked from the top down and the bottom up and now the planks are beginning to meet in the middle on one side and are very close to doing so on the other. On good days we can get about six to eight planks on and on bad days it might just be two. But the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible and we’re aiming to have her completely planked by Jubilee. I may regret broadcasting this but there’s nothing like a bit of guilt and failure to motivate you.
We’ve got two different widths of plank. Where we can we use the thicker planks as they cover more area more quickly. However, sometimes the curve of the frames is such that these would be too thick to accommodate this and then we use the thin ones. These bend better, but cover less area, so on a bad day fitting twisty thin planks you can finish thinking that what you’ve done has made no difference at all, whereas on a good day with thick planks you feel like actual Noah.
*They don’t make girls’ clothes you can do work in, just ones you are meant to paint your nails and pout in, whilst holding your stomach in in (in). Boys’ clothes are miles more comfortable and hard wearing than ours and make the accomplishment of routine daily tasks such as bending down to pick things up, walking and breathing a lot simpler and more enjoyable.