Archive for November, 2017

My Next Model

I have to agree that many of my Blog fans have wondered what is my next  ship model.  After Diana what could I do even better?

After a pause went back to basics.  Not sure I would ever do an Admiralty framed model again (open frames)

Many years ago ( 1987) I took on a model project of a 74 gun based on a fictional ship from the C S Forester series about Horatio Hornblower.

At one Christmas dinner my brother-in-law Ralph, proved his appreciation of my fondness of this series and asked me to make The Sutherland.  Now this is a fictional ship but accurate to the time and fundamental to the story.  I spent 6 years on this model.

Anyway, after the Diana, which I gave to Kelly and Dave, I was wondering what was I going to do next.  I read many books in the genre of English warships of the Napoleonic war.

So I am now building a frigate based on the fictional frigate Themis from the series of 3 books by Sean Russell about the period from 1784 to 1800.  Great books.

But here is the interesting part.  Sean Russell lives in Comox and has actually visited our home and admired my model of the Juno (the one model I keep).

So I am building a model of a Frigate built in 1784.  Based on plans from England from that series.  However let us face it, a fictional book so who can every say I get the details wrong.

Here is the first picture.  The last plank in the hull.    Lots to go… 


She is Alive

This afternoon was interesting.  This morning Pat was off for her course on (Excel) Spreadsheet Secrets at Vancouver Island College (Comox Valley Campus).  (I know you all must wonder)

She barely gets home when I head off for my course starting at 1:00 pm on the wonders of our Solar system.  Great course taught by Joel a retired Physics professor from Stanford.  He is a great teacher and I would have loved to study Physics taught by him.  I cannot wait to share all the interesting details of the Solar System with our kids and grand kids when they join us this Christmas.

I barely make it home when Pat and I have to drive downtown to attend the weekly Council meeting at Courtenay City Hall.  A friend of ours is presenting a petition from our neighborhood to stop the 100 heavy dump trucks that are now driving up and down our street daily to access a huge area in the woods.  I will not go into detail but a very real request and we were there to support Brian the organizer (and by the way we received very good support from the Mayor and Councillors).

Now we realized that we would not get home in time to prepare a good dinner so I suggested that as we were downtown why not order a bunch of take out  Sushi from the Japanese restaurant and serve it with some of the prepared Korean soup we had bought from a specialty store on the weekend.

So we order the Sushi and they tell me it will take 30 minutes.  I drive Pat home and as I have a bit of time go down to the workshop to prepare a plank for the model I am building.  I am just about to leave when we get a call on the phone and I notice it is from Janine so I answer.  We chat and I take the hand held upstairs to hand it over to Pat so I could head off.  There is no one in the house.  I check the powder room and shout out Pat, Pat but there is no response.  There is no vehicle missing and it is getting dark out — where could she be?  Janine suggests check the house but I am late.

I ended the conversation with Janine (much shorter than we normally share) and I head off downtown to pick up the Sushi order.  On the way back I became very worried.  What if Pat had an attack and was lying on the floor in the bedroom while I was downstairs and then heading off to get the food.  Where could she possibly be???  What if she is lying there on the floor gasping for breath? Or even worse.

I pull into the garage and Pat is putting up a rake on the rack.  Apparently she went into the backyard in the dusk to rake away the leaves from the lawn and make a pile for me.  We have had so much rain I have not been able to get at the leaves.

I have to admit that I was relieved.  I could just imagine calling 911 and pounding away at her chest and following her to the hospital and then having to call the family.

Fortunately the Sushi would still have been in the car and cold so when I eventually got home I would have had a meal.

Better this way.


Movie Night

Pat and I went to see the new Murder on the Orient Express starring Kenneth Branagh.  We took in a matinee at the theater in Campbell River because it is much more comfortable than the local cinema.

We prepared by renting and watching the 1974 version with Albert Finney last night.

Same basic story but vastly different.  Absolutely fabulous cinematography with this new one.

Great movie.  Suggest you see it on a big screen to appreciate the scenery.  I think I preferred the Finney portrayal of Poirot but this was a better movie and what a mustache.

My wish — a local Shipwright Club

I was attending one of my courses today about Paleontology held at our museum.  This was the last class of this term.  The instructor is a local famous leader of paleontology.  Pat Trask actually has no formal education in this subject.  In his youth he left Ontario to look for jobs in Alberta and northern BC as a mechanic/handyman.  His brother happened to end up here in the valley and while hiking with his kids on the Trent river came across the most famous fossil of BC, the Elasmosaurus, on the river bank.

Pat quit his job as the maintenance guy at a mill in northern BC and moved here to help dig out the fossil.  No money in it, but he says it was more interesting than fixing equipment.

29 years later Pat is an established expert in marine fossils.  Again not a well paying position, but he loves it.

In the last class today he was talking about the British Columbia Paleontology Alliance (BCPA)  of which he was a founding member.  (Look up their site — not bad.)

This is a society of paleontologists, amateur and professional,  from around the province.  Like many of these groups, the members are getting older and membership is declining.  Down to 70 members across the province.

Pat was describing the problem they have in attracting younger people to join.  There is a huge gap between someone finding a fossil and wanting to learn more.  They may attend a meeting and show their find to people with 30 years experience, and are intimidated.  As Pat says, it is so easy for some young person to bring in some rock with a pattern and an old guy to trivialize the find.  So they quit.  Apparently paleontology does not breed people big on interpersonal skills.

This hit on a pet point with me.  I would love to have a group of model shipwrights on the Island to share my love of this hobby.  Unfortunately when I do meet someone who seems interested and invite them to my workshop, I go overboard and extol about the joy of making treenails or ship wheels or preparing frames from Pear wood.  No one comes back.

At least Pat Trask takes hundreds of young people on fossil hunts every summer.  What do I do?

Granted I have 3 grandsons visiting this Christmas.  And, two granddaughters.  Maybe there is hope………..