The boat

Consider this story:

Some time ago, a friend and I were at a barbecue in a park next to one of the rivers in Sydney. This friend of mine was a slave and he had a master who lived in Melbourne.

While we were sitting there watching boats go past, my friend suddenly said, “How about we build a boat?” That might sound a bit strange, but he was good with his hands, was always building things out of wood---tables, chairs, and the occasional piece of dungeon furniture---and I was brought up by a tradesman father who had built the family house from scratch during the post-war years when things were very tight, so the idea of building something like this wasn’t too radical to either of us.

So we talked about it, and we eventually decided that we could aim for something modest with maybe 4 berths so we could stay the night in it if we wanted, and make it strictly for cruising up and down the river.

He asked his master for permission and his master said, “Go for it.”

We managed to scrounge a large enough corner of a boat shed and bought ourselves a bunch of wood. We worked at least one day most weekends, and sometimes one or both of us would put in some hours during the week as well.

After more than two years, it was done. It had been hard work, and we both had had to learn an awful lot because a boat was something way bigger than either of had ever built, but with occasional advice from others, we finished it and it wasn’t half bad. And, it fact, it was better than that because when we launched it, it floated, didn’t roll over, and didn’t leak (much) at all.

There’s a lot of satisfaction which comes from building something yourself and this was the first thing either of had built like this and we were both quite chuffed.

Anyway, as time and weather permitted, we would take the boat out, then tie up somewhere nice, light our little propane barbecue, and have lunch, enjoy the view and talk about extremely profound things (like the weather).

Much time passed and then one day my friend’s master told him he didn’t want him to have anything to do with the boat any more and ordered him to destroy it. My friend went straight down to the boat shed and demolished the boat. All that was left were piles of wood and a stack of fittings... and our propane barbecue.

Thoughts or comments?

Last modified: Sunday, 7 April 2013, 4:40 PM