So much has happened since I last updated this site and it is hard to know where to start. It has been a summer of highs and lows and very little work on the boat. If you’ve logged on eager for spit and sawdust, tales of finely honed blades whisking wafer thin shavings from fine timber you’re going to be disappointed, but I hope you’ll indulge me as I spill a few of the aches, the pains, the losses and gains and the joys on to these pages.

Aches and Pains

My mother died unexpectedly after a short but beastly illness (when is cancer ever otherwise?) and her going has left a void that I’m reminded of daily. I think of her when I see larch trees, or an old fishing boat, or taste a particularly good apple. I think of her when I drive to work and I think of her on my return, I hear her voice agreeing that the sunrise really is beautiful today, or that there can be nothing more sweet than a blackbird’s song in the twilight. She has coloured my view of the world my whole life, and my actions are filtered through memories of her. Those memories are not sad though, more an acknowledgement of her passing and of how much she meant. An acceptance that everything fades and even the most stalwart succumb. During her illness I carved that sign for the woods I’d been promising her for months and after she was gone I filled her Shepherd’s Hut with her books on gardening, woodland, and fruit growing. It’s a place to sit and contemplate, as it was always intended to be, though sadly mum never got to sit there.

I fixed the water pump that is nearly as old as me and connected it to the pond in the top field. Though she’ll never use it to draw water for the greenhouse I know mum would be pleased that it’s still going strong.

Filling the water butt every weekend was how we earned our pocket money back in the ‘good old’ days…. that and keeping the compost emptied, the rubbish burnt (yes I know, but we didn’t know about global warming then) feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, letting the geese out, getting chased by the geese, oh yes, and getting in a couple of barrow loads of wood for the Rayburn…. kids today, don’t know they’re born!

They say death, divorce and moving house are the three most stressful things in life…. so, not content with just one out of three, and fingers crossed divorce is not on the horizon, we moved house, and despite swearing in the past, to never, ever move ourselves again… we decided to eschew the tea guzzling, box humping services of the removal firm we last moved with, and do it ourselves, one laborious van load after another! Next time we’re definitely, definitely, no really… definitely, not moving ourselves.

Losses and Gains

There was a little time for making, though not all of it related to ‘the big project’.

The stitching on my Leatherman sheath finally lost its battle with gravity, but the speedy stitcher was pressed into service for the first time and proved easily up to the task. Youngest son had a ‘beach’ party so of course we had to make a surf board. I discovered the blacksmith (who I’ve praised in previous posts) had not been particularly careful about replicating the profile of the steel frames for Flamingo when repairing them. Annoying given how expensive his services were and though I managed to heat and bend one into shape on a makeshift anvil, the first blow of the hammer on the next one saw it practically fall apart! Better to find out now than mid ocean I suppose, but I now have to mark up templates for each one and take them back to be repaired properly.

The Joys

We took a much needed break and joined friends for a sailing trip in France where much Rosé was earned (those Atlantic swells are tiresome!) and consumed. There was time for reflection at Weir Cottage with some home brewed cider. The absence of the second glass of cider is a reflection of my wife’s rather more discerning palette.


August saw the family embark on a fantastic Canoe trip across Scotland along the Great Glen. Armed with tents, stoves, waterproofs and a lifetime’s supply of snacks (consumed in three days flat) ten hardy comrades paddled and portaged and poohed in a hole, cooked on a campfire, surfed waves and swam in Loch Lochy, we marvelled at mirrored Lochs in the sunset, trembled at crashing waves and high winds the next day, we drank water from mountain streams, explored castles and shipwrecks, lathered ourselves in anti midge creams, potions and lotions and generally had a wet and wonderful time!

Despite the wet July, with Weir Cottage on the market, the summer saw a lot of mowing activity and the big power scythe had to be pressed into service to tame the long grass in the orchard. Wet summers, curious dogs and nervous frogs, this beauty had a narrow escape! The frog, not Chester…. though of course he is beautiful in his own special, hairy, Highland, slightly smelly way.

We welcomed a new member of the family. Indy is a Spankie, the product of an unplanned union between a Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) and a Springer Spaniel! We’ve no idea what she’ll turn out like  but she’s absolutely gorgeous.


So a mixed summer, hopefully there will be more boat restoration to report on soon, ’til then keep your blades sharp and your eyes on the dream.