In our ideal blogging world, if inspirational personification was as easy as writing a few posts, the majority of our readers would currently have: given up all technology for a portion of their week, constructed their very own tropical island, attached copious balloons to that island and be preparing themselves for some sort of magnificent stratosphere breaching adventure, all this in order to obtain the ultimate enlightenment usually only reserved for those who have defied the Grim Reaper.
Tearing away from the grips of the virtual we find that the real world bares a starker truth with lethargy and I-Pads fearsome foes to destroy. The technology I have shackled, the lethargy is still winning so I thought it best to dust off the old bucket list and quit procrastinating, less preaching more action, no one likes a hypocrite. My counterpart has proclaimed his desire to construct a bamboo bicycle, his hope is that it one day grows into some sort of grandiose two wheeled wooden race to the end. This idea of his has unearthed something in me that I have had squirrelled away at the bottom of my list for quite some time, I thought now was a good time to conquer this particular entry.
I have an affinity with the sea, my home half the year and a place my mind continually drifts to when I am in need of a relaxing mental setting, a life filled with bad manners, queue jumping and bad etiquette is better served when one can escape to a place of calm in their psyche. Sometimes spending hours at sea simply staring at its magnificent barren splendour, taking in the cool breeze and listening to its soothing tune. It’s a respect thing as well; I respect things I know can easily kill me: tigers, grenades, the Ebola virus and Burger King.
An abundance of nautical passion has steered me to the idea of building a boat, a model boat to be precise. I’ve already conceived the design in my head. It will be a fairly large boat, maybe half the length of a small man, light and agile, I hope for it to be fast yet speed is of low importance. It will adorn an understated colour scheme as not to be flashy yet enough that its remains can be easily identified and salvaged following a collision. Sails will harness the power of the wind, a natural propulsion. I must master the basics of aerodynamics and buoyancy first, wind alone cannot keep a boat afloat. Carved from one piece of mahogany, if unattainable then linden or poplar will suffice. My spare room will become the shipyard and my bathroom will be the marina, a stricken vessel can be easily rescued from a bath tub.
The aim is not just to construct a floating extension of my man hood; it’s something a little more personal and thought provoking than that. When I was a younger version of myself, my father in his infinite wisdom decided that together as father and son we should get a model boat. The plan was to build and then sail it together, it was going to be the one thing we could bond over other than a love of Star Trek and dodgy DIY. An empty promise that never happened and thus a void entered my life. It was not long after this that my dad lost his hero status however that is another tale for another time.
This leads on to my decision to take it upon myself to build the phantom boat of my childhood and when I do I will either display or store it depending on how aesthetically pleasing it is, a sail boat is the hope but a Cast Away style raft more likely the reality. Then the day will permissibly come when I can take my future son or daughter to my favourite loch and launch that boat and upon completion of its maiden voyage that void in my life will hopefully be filled. Maybe my dream will grow into a legacy, maybe my kids will take their kids, do the same and maybe one day father and son or mother and daughter will build a grand ship and together embark on a fantastic voyage.
My main aim in life is when I’m grey, wrinkly and rocking some pretty sweet cardigans, I can look back on my short existence (dementia permitting) and think to myself, I’ve been a good man and a good father. Building that boat won’t automatically make me this person but in my own way it will be a step in the right direction and will provide some soul sorting nautical closure.
Now there is a point to this lengthy post other than just being a soppy tale of one man, a boat and father issues. We all have our bucket lists, mental or written down. They are filled with places we want to go and things we long to do. What you will rarely find in said lists is why these are chosen, what are the reasons for wanting to do or see the things we desire? The famed climber George Mallory was once asked why he wanted so badly to climb Everest and his response was simply “Because it is there”. Climbing Everest is a spectacular feat but is it enough to dedicate so much time and effort to a pursuit if your reasoning is just because it is there, usually vanity is not enough to risk your life. Mallory died on his descent of Everest. I’m not trying to compare my homely vision of boat construction to the climbing zenith of Everest, rather what I’m trying to convey is that if you have something that is a true passion and if that something is also what you have always wanted to achieve, then make that your Everest. If I can build my Everest, albeit within my bathtub, perhaps the dreams of my father won’t be anchored to the horizon