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Shipbuilding

I build a model of a ship. Why don’t I build a tram?
I build a model of a ship ‘cos that is what I am;
In spirit, in my DNA, as it was unknown then,
Before the electronics. Ships were ships and men were men.

My ancestry reveals a living from the trade in cheese,
From Chester, in the days of sail. ‘Twas not a life of ease.
To load down to the marks alongside Crane Wharf, at the Dee;
And swing upon the ebb – and make the passage out to sea;

Somehow, by much skill now lost. Or hidden, anyway;
This once was my ancestral life. This was the working day.
Cheese to Northern Europe (if not London) under sail;
And privilege is mine to know the remnants of that tale.

‘Twas long ago. Four generations. Father’s Great-Grandfather:
Owner. Master of the Ship. Here am I proud? Yes, rather,
To think of how he beat his passage down the Estuary,
Where I sit looking now in some degree of luxury.

The wind and tide I now observe. I scarcely draw a breath,
Where once, then, for my ancestors, these things were life and death.
The measure of the canvas and the maintenance of rigging,
Were vital then, and daily. Keep her steady, bowsprit digging,

Into the fresh Nor’ Westerly as we beat out to sea,
Through Beer-House Hole, God bless my Soul, this is how it must be;
And out towards the Point of Air in Flintshire; and Welsh Channel,
Beating, beating, all the way, by muscle without flannel.

Clear. And round the Skerries. On our way. Another trip.
I am the master of my soul. Yes, yet another trip.
It’s bread upon the table. It is but the way of life,
For me and for my maintenance of family and wife.

Out to sea and back. It is an honourable trade.
Jack, we are alright. Here is another voyage made.
Chester to North Europe and return, to make a dime.
To my Great-Great Grandpa I pay due homage, over time.

BY
02.11.2019
 

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Nice poem but you didn't mention the Cheese Triangles.

Dairylea rhymes with Sea, River Dee and the not very crumbly Brie.

Did your Father’s Great-Grandfather have his Pilot Exemption? I think we should be told.
 

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Thank you, ES!

I have an account somewhere of the occasion when he ran aground up at Chester with a pilot on board, so I'd guess that he had no PEC at that time! He was one of the first to hold a Home Trade Master's Certificate.
 

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I understand the rigger with his splice
Enjoying luncheon a la Kraft Cheese slice.

Also the boiler maker, plugging in a hot steam header
Might crave for toasts and in between, some cheddar.

But surely only crews from o'er the Eastern Sea
Would countenance a plate of crumbly Brie?

Or is this another Hibernian social stumble
That's bent on making good cheese, crumble.

You need no French to know what's cheese and dreamy
And that is when the Brie (and Camembert) is creamy.

The French can't sandwich cos' their bread's not square,
And that alone we find quite queer.

But in the dairy Frenchie does the Rosbif outbeguile
They can't 'arf make soft cheese that goes the mile.
 

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#4

Or, as de Gaulle once observed of La belle France "It ees impossible to govern a nation which produces 324 different cheeses".
 

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Frenchie comes up with the odd bon mot from time to time. I rather like Napoleon's reputed response to Fulton on the steamship (thank heavens).

The Charge of the light Brigade, of course.

It was very pleasant to walk from Madam's demi pension quarters to the yard in La Rochelle stopping to do one's best in the construction of Coulommiers sandwiches with the bakery produce as available, a glass of Calvados (alas now denied me. Like I am Grappa. I wake with a racing heart) and a coffee. I was unable to persuade anyone in Glasgow or down the road here that that was the right way to start the working day.
 

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I understand the rigger with his splice
Enjoying luncheon a la Kraft Cheese slice.

Also the boiler maker, plugging in a hot steam header
Might crave for toasts and in between, some cheddar.

But surely only crews from o'er the Eastern Sea
Would countenance a plate of crumbly Brie?

Or is this another Hibernian social stumble
That's bent on making good cheese, crumble.

You need no French to know what's cheese and dreamy
And that is when the Brie (and Camembert) is creamy.

The French can't sandwich cos' their bread's not square,
And that alone we find quite queer.

But in the dairy Frenchie does the Rosbif outbeguile
They can't 'arf make soft cheese that goes the mile.
I always thought a good Brie oozed. A crumbly Brie is indeed a horrid thought.

Nick
 

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Indeed, especially after dining avec booze
One wants some smelly cheeses that do ooze

Should dining company or drink be horrid,
Only then should arguments on cheese turn torrid.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Advice, please, of any kind!

The model which I'm building is at 50:1 scale. I am building from a kit and it is the first time that I've made any such effort. I'm reasonably pleased with the result so far - but there are many, many occasions when I feel that I've bitten off more than I can chew. Why?

The kit as provided shows the vessel ( a topsail schooner) under full sail. Basic materials are provided, including canvas, which is not the problem. (I have sailmaking in my ancestry!) The problem is that under full sail and without wind to fill the sails, there is a real risk that any ship, on any scale, begins to look like Widow Twankey's laundry. Add to this the clutter of so much running rigging, so much effort with my no-longer-nimble fingers and no-long B-o-T eyesight, I do wonder whether I should press on with making the full set of sails?

Last summer in Finland I saw a model of the 4-masted barque Archibald Russell, on approximately the same scale. She was perfect (exquisite!) in every respect - and without a stitch of canvas showing. No sails set - and standing-rigging only, including all spars. It is scarcely an exaggeration to suggest that the image was as beautiful as that of an image of of a womon of perfect figure, unclothed.

Query, should I present my model beautifully - as per the Archibald Russell as described above - or should I press on and clutter-up the whole bang-shoot, in the end producing something which I fear will look a mess?

I rather think that I've answered my own question, but I'd be most grateful to have the view of more experienced hands.

Many thanks.
 

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In my experience Barrie, as owner of several model sailing ships, I would advise you to forego the sails, they gather dust rapidly, and within a short time they look grubby.
Pat
 

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Can I suggest if you do put sails on your model you install it in a glass case. I have a couple of small models and those outside the cabinet need constant attention as is regularly pointed out by my better half.
Davie
 
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