Legends from our own lunchtimes

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Brian was one of the first people, if not the very first person we ever met who was building a boat for himself. Actually he was fitting out a bare hull and deck he'd bought, and like most people he wasn't overly endowed with a ready source of income to provide for his new habit.

Unlike most people he was a man of the cloth, a minister of religion, and while not sworn to celibacy or poverty or anything quite like that, the boat was evidence of a human attachment to "stuff" which didn't sit at all comfortably on his shoulders.

In trying to deal with his angst, he sought counsel from a senior minister within his organisation, who offered him the following advice (or words to this effect):

"Possessions in themselves are not the issue. It's attachment to possessions which is the root of all evil."

Not entirely convinced, Brian struggled with himself, his tools, his budget and to find the time for a few more years, until finally the boat was complete and ready for launching.

He invited the same senior cleric to accompany him on his maiden sail, which as is often the way, was to take place on a day in which the conditions were severe enough to be verging on being entirely unsuitable for such and event.

There is something in the mind of man worthy of serious study, which enables him to take two or three years, or even longer to build a boat, yet won't allow him to delay the launch for another day until weather conditions are suitable, but once again I digress.

After the initial rigging was completed and the boat launched, the outboard was started and the boat began steadily making its way out of the harbour mouth. All was going swimmingly, until the very moment it caught the full weight of the breeze, no more than fifty metres short of deep water, and abeam of the last of the harbour rock wall, and the crew were preparing to hoist sail for the first time.

The motor inexplicably stopped.

Silently the boat drifted sideways towards the wall, joggling in the chop, until it was so close that both the skipper and the crew could hop off onto the jagged rocks.

As the pair were standing amid the oysters on the rocks, desperately pushing the bucking hull against the wind and wave to keep the it intact, with thoughts of mere damage to the paintwork by now very secondary, the more senior of the two looked quietly at his boat-building colleague and enquired:

"Tell me now Brian. How detached do you feel?"

For us, that neatly summed up a balance between having things we need, and wanting things we don't.

Brian's boat survived, and is the case was replaced by a bigger one, and then bigger still. He never did buy a house, and last time I saw him, which was thirty years after the original launch, he seemed quite happy, if still a little detached.


1 comment

Joan Elizabeth said...

Still loving your stories and look forward to every post. I thought Duckie was just magic.

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