Monday, November 30, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I was in a country cafe close to Warkworth. As I sat down to drink my tea I spied a painting on the wall. The nicely framed painting wasn't a visual image, it was a quotation ? or maybe just the musings of the artist? - anyway, I liked it a lot so I wrote it down and here it is:
with the intention of arriving safely in an
attractive body but rather to skid sideways
champagne in one hand - strawberries in
the other, body thoroughly used up, totally
worn out and screaming
What a ride................................
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This is the Alan Buchanan designed sloop 'Barbican' - she is a very salty 32 feet of pure joy.
There is a saying that goes like this - "Be careful what you dream of young man, for you shall surely attain it" - I don't know the origin of this quote but it seems to contain both a certainty and a warning. The warning is that: - As it is certain that you will attain what you want (if you dream hard enough - and work hard enough to make that dream come true), make very sure that what you dream of is worthy, is of substance - good and true.
This yacht 'Barbican' is a yacht I dreamed about when I was growing up - I have always loved this design and in 2003 I purchased the plans from the designer Alan Buchanan with the intention of perhaps building her - and it is still a dream I would like to fulfil if the circumstances are ever favourable enough to do so.
Since 2003 I have collected a dossier of articles and photographs of Barbican and last week downloaded an article about her from the 'Alan Buchanan Classic Yachts' website - When I read the article I smiled for two reasons - First, the story told me that someone else like me, had dreamed when they were very young and had now seen that dream fulfilled, and secondly because I was reminded of similar circumstances regarding another yacht and someone elses dream.
At the end of the Barbican article I read this - "Barbican is now sold to a marine electrical engineer who, as a boy 20 years ago, wrote to the author offering to buy her from the proceeds of his paper round. He now has his dream ship"
This yacht is the 'Stiletto' and in an article about her I read this a few years ago -
"Chris Petrie first set eyes on Stiletto when he picked her out of the crowd at Burnham Week in 1962. He was just 18. She was making her debut. It was love at first sight. 'I remember saying to myself, "I want that boat one day...one day." - Twenty three years later in 1985, and quite by chance, he spotted a broker's advert 'Rare chance to acquire Stiletto'. He didn't have to think twice to make a cherished dream a thrilling reality. When the long awaited moment arrived there was sweet satisfaction indeed in helming and owning such a classic thoroughbred."
I am very, very, very happy for both these people who made their boyhood dreams a reality - It really does make me smile - in a chaotic world, somewhere between ticking time and a hard chance and with the help of the Gods a dream was realised. There is something very satisfying in thinking that some at least defy the odds and make their dreams come true. ---- "Good on ya mate," is what us Kiwis say :-)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The phrase "wheels within wheels" is of ancient origin and has generally come to mean something that is not easily understood; that there is more to the situation than may appear on the surface. The quotation above, from the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, is part of a mystifying biblical passage that has led many to believe he saw a UFO
The phrase denotes complexity, that one must look past the superficial to see deeper into a problem or situation. I know that you know, that I know that you know, that I..... Like the Russian matryoshka dolls we open one only to find another, and inside that yet another, etc., etc. The phrase can also have a more sinister connotation, that there are ulterior motives behind seemingly innocuous actions - all part of a larger and less obvious plan.
This photograph appears in the current New Zealand Listener Magazine. It took my fancy because if you have been reading my Blog over the last few months you will know that I have just returned from 6 weeks cycling in The Netherlands.
When writing Blog postings about The Netherlands I mentioned a couple of ways for a solitary cyclists to elicit conversations with the locals / other tourists - One was to pretend that I was lost and ask directions, the second was to offer to take a photograph of a couple if I saw them taking pics of each other. Afterwards I thought another cunning idea would be to wear cycling gear with New Zealand emblazoned all over it - I know this would elicit contact because foreigners really do like to hear the Kiwi accent and many Dutch people have connections with New Zealand (there was a lot of immigration from Holland to NZ in the 1950s and 60s.
So when I saw this photograph I thought .......Hmmmmmm.... here is yet another way... this would be the conversation eliciter par excellence - a paragon of conversational prompting of epic proportions - In fact I could busk with this bike. All I would have to do is parade it in the local village square, stand next to it with a hat for the money at my feet and nod slowly over and over again, thus answering the questions before they passed the lips of the viewers (yes I do ride it, yes it is a bicycle, no I am not a nutter, no you can't have a ride on it today, no not all Kiwis are crazy bastards only some of us are, yes paper money will do just fine if you don't have any coins) .............
Hmmmmm...., sometimes we just can't think of innovative ways to solve a problem or find a fresh way of engaging with the ordinary. But look! there is always a way, if you keep your options open and your mind thinking outside the square and contemplate a circle in a different way, well, you might find wheels within wheels .................. in fact I am building one of these at the moment in my blokes shed - I wonder if Air New Zealand will fly it to The Netherlands for me? I have some unfinished business there.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is a job I have meaning to do for ages. There are times when you are sailing where you are continuosly picking up and putting down binoculars, the wind is fresh, the boat is heeling and you want a safe and handy place to put the binoculars. I intend to screw this holder just inside the companion way hatch, a very handy place and close to the helmsman / woman.
The teak wood block has been squared up with a small fine toothed hand saw and the job of planing and sanding has begun.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
We all have our passions - Charlottes passion is singing. Here she is holding a stack of her recently recorded CD "Only God". Charlotte has a huge amount of experience singing and worship leading in local churches. A natural outcome of this has been the writing, singing and recording of a CD of Christian spiritual songs.
Charlotte has a website here: http://www.charlottecsmith.com/ - I highly recommend you take a look.
To listen to this album go to: http://www.myspace.com/charlottecsmithnzWhat does a proud dad say about having such a beautiful, talented girl for a daughter ? - he says thankyou, I feel blessed, that's what he says.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I have been varnishing a storage box that I have built for the good ship Mariner which is on the stool in the middle of the picture.
To be able to work at all I have to haul out the bike and numerous other boxes and bits and pieces. The small space becomes a lesson in tidiness and ingenuity as I struggle just getting bigger projects through the door.
As I was working away on this storage box today I remembered a book about sheds written by Jim Hopkins. Its called 'Blokes and Sheds' and he makes some interesting comments about sheds and their relationship to the Kiwi character.
.......... " What sheds do, undeniably, represent is something about the way we want to be. Much is spoken these days of New Zealand identity. A lot of it is self serving twaddle, an argument promoted by certain superior souls who want other peoples money to pay for the things they enjoy doing. What they tend to overlook is that, apart from the unique, painful and evolving relationship between Maori, and European, most of our 'identity' comes from somewhere else. Our religions, philosophy, notions of class and gender, our legal system, our political processes, our media style, planning concepts, even our fairy stories and notion of Father Christmas mainly come from somewhere else. We can't even claim to have invented a sport of our own.
What we have invented, or evolved - and it's often confused with identity - is an attitude, to the world, and each other, that's ours and ours alone. If anything summed it up , it would probably be Ed Hillary's line after climbing Mount Everest, "We knocked the bastard off". Laconic and tongue-in-cheek, it treats the extraordinary as commonplace and makes it a team effort as well. That kind of self - effacement in important here. We particularly dislike the growth hormone that can make some people too big for their boots. And we particularly like self reliance, the willingness to 'give it a go'. Born of necessity, it survives by choice. Being willing to give it a go is expected, it's part of how we want to see ourselves, it's part of our attitude. Which is why sheds, and what they represent, are important. We've got our share of famous sheds. The one in which Richard Pearce built his aeroplanes (and flew before the Wright Brothers), of where the jet boat, the electric fence and the animal tranquiliser gun were developed. Then, of course, there's Rutherford's den (a sort of basement shed) where he first picked up a chisel and split the atom.
......... There's a tradition of ingenuity we enjoy and still discover out in the shed..... "
- Jim Hopkins - Blokes and Sheds (pub 1998)
There is a distinctiveness about Northland Springs and Summers. It is a distinctiveness that needs to be felt - something is singing in the air; an unspoken expectancy, a shimmering, a sharpness of light, the wind is warm, warm, warm and the sun demands huge respect - This is no ordinary sun, with its zenith almost overhead at the height of summer and with a burn time of about 6 minutes you feel and know that its engine is thermo nuclear.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I thought that after I had listened to the no cycling explanation from the Policewomen I would be given a warning, a friendly pat on the shoulder and sent on my way with cream buns and a thermos full of hot tea - (A Johnny Foreigner can get this impression after weeks of amused chortles and smiles at ones accent - gosh! you say to yourself, don't they just looove Kiwis! -- and you are right, except for two Policewomen in the port of Hoorn, who deliberately left a Russian Gulag to make my day an expensive one.)
"The fine is thirty five Euros" I was informed.
"I don't have thirty five Euros on me," I said lying through my teeth.
"There is a bank and a money machine over there" I was informed.
"What if I don't pay?" I inquired.
" We will take you to the Police station and lock you up until you do pay" she replied, mouth twitching at such southern hemisphere cheek.
"Oh" I said and went to the machine which was around a corner out of sight, pulled thirty five euros out of my wallet and promptly paid.
I then gave what I thought was a rather excellent dissertation about how this would never happen in New Zealand and that a warning would be sufficient for a tourist who can't read Dutch. But all this was ignored including my statements about how highly offended I was, blah, blah, blah - but to no avail - I had broken the law, I had been duly fined, the Dutch economy saved by my thirty five euros and two Policewomen who were in fact only doing their job - did their job.
As they turned to go and startle other bike riding miscreants I had an overwhelming urge to pinch one of their bums - not with any sexual connotation but in the deliberate and malicious way I used to pinch John Ryan's bum when I was in primer three at Central New Brighton Primary School - I swear he once attained the height of one metre above his chair - pure fright, pure joy.
BUT - none of this stopped me from enjoying the delights of Hoorn which is a lovely little port - and it was in a canal of this port that I found a rather nice housing arrangement that is a delight to a sailor such as I.
The house in the photograph is floating on the water on the top of a steel barge. Access is from the street on the left through a quaint gate in a large bushy hedge. The house has nice indoor, outdoor flow onto a small deck area where one can sit and take in the surrounding view.
The yacht is called Sirius (I would rename her Delight if she was mine) and is of Scandinavian pedigree - a clean, mean, speed machine - I know she sails beautifully, her lines have a pure poetry of purpose.
I personally would love, love, love, love, love, love to live like that - a floating house with my yacht moored next to it - ah, it would be bliss indeed for an obsessed old sailor such as me.