Sunday, May 15, 2016

Couta Boat restoration in Port Fairy

Garry Stewart is a fine professional boat builder, working on the Moyne River in Victoria's west, and he has recently restored this 20ft couta boat in what he describes as a refit and a new laid deck. This is quite small by 'couta standards but is a lovely no-nonsense hullform of rather beautiful proportions.

Garry wrote that she has a length of 20 ft, a  beam  of 7ft 6'' draft 2 ft 6'' and was  built by Peter Locke boatbuilder at Queenscliff around 1935-1940. She has a lug rig, centre case with 3/8'' steel centre plate, planking and ribs are New Zealand Kauri. The new deck is Iroko, new combings King Billy pine, and is powered by 20hp Volvo diesel.  He added that as she has lifting eyes for and aft she would have worked from Lorne or thereabouts on the Surf Coast where it was usual to lift boats onto the pier for storage between fishing trips.

'Castwood' (ex 'Dolphin') on the lovely jetty at Port Fairy

Sunday, May 1, 2016

the dog splice

The couch faces west and the autumn sun unravelled itself across the floor to where I was sitting, book on lap, beer in left hand. The view was all sparkle and golden explosions where my eyes were looking, so I closed them and focussed instead on the warm orange pink of my backlit eyelids- seeing nothing, but looking at the colours while my right hand draped from the arm of the couch, relaxed and loose.

Rising to that hand Smiling Billy lifted his head and adjusted his posture to be more fully under the space between fingers, confident  they would be on Automatic Stroke. And they were. He didn't know then, like I did, that it was his last day with us before leaving to be adopted.

This is all about bitter-sweet. Simple, everyday sensations and moments that become more beautiful because the moment has limits and what is present and powerful now will not be forever. These are the things I take note of and try hardest to hold onto,  remember and  recreate, but they can't be replicated. It isn't the event that has been moving, it is the context and the meaning and the ephemeral, ungraspable and insubstantial qualities of joy that come upon me when I least expect them.

 Billy was a shadow, a pal, and the least complicated foster dog we've had. A wiggler, and always involved in whatever was going on, he was  loose, laid-back and long, soft as feathers, dreamy, enthusiastic and always hungry. He left us considerably heavier than he was when he arrived. He has moved onto a happy pet-friendly extended family.

The 'dog splice' above is of Billy, Panda in the middle (she is still with us) and Sooty below, anchoring the team. Together they were like a pod of hyperactive dolphins when ready for a walk, a camp of teenage boys when things became competitive, and an ageing choir when a phone rang.

Walking the three was an absolute joy as the four of us would head up the middle of our country road in straight almost military formation, turning in unison to follow birds that flew across our path and waiting patiently and without pulling while one of our squadron squirted a tree, bin or interesting patch of ground.

I document this story because I've really enjoyed the process and these moments are easily forgotten, but I have learnt from my blog that a post can send me back into an experience...and occasionally I notice that others seem to find them worth revisiting too.