Those that follow my facebook page will know I’ve just bought a rowing boat. It’s not a super-doopa rowing boat but an old, just-about-still-together rowing boat that was a bargain from eBay. It was delivered last week and 3 excited little boys immediately wanted to set about transforming it into the ideal boat they all had in their heads. Ollie wanted to call it ‘The Black Pearl’, Henry wanted it green and Tobes wanted a flag. Hubbie and I were astounded; there were no arguments. Maybe this was a good idea after all…
I could have bought a perfect boat if money was no option but money was an option needing to be considered so this boat was the best I could afford. I told the boys that it was a project that we’d all have to pitch in and help with and that it may take a few weeks to do before we can actually use it. It rained the first weekend we had it so no mending could take place and the boat was just turned upside down so the rain water wouldn’t collect in the bottom and the boys were so desperate to get on it they were a little disappointed. This Saturday we managed to buy some sand paper and 3 sanding block so they had their first lesson in sanding and learning about the grain of the wood.
Tobes (pictured) is 2 and he had a fabulous time joining in with the older boys as they merrily (and enthusiastically) began to sand down the wooden top. He tried to go up and down the boat rather than across and I’m sure he managed it a few times but then I’m not really after perfection just for them to have a go, see what it’s like and see what they can do. He was happy that he was making dust, that the wood was changing colour and that a few flakes of varnish came off in quite large pieces. Competitions soon started about who could peel the largest piece of varnish off!
Three boys were sanding (and don’t forget whilst they were sanding they weren’t fighting!) and they were also chatting. The talked about what they were doing, what they wanted to do and how well they were sanding. My boys can make a competition out of who has the most bogies up their noses so sanding a boat down was no exception.
Whilst I nipped in to make a cup of tea the boys sneakily downed tools. You can see the abandoned sandpaper on the grass with the wood blocks but they just couldn’t resist a quick play. I heard them first from the kitchen, as I was making my tea, and they were laughing and joking and there was an awful lot of ‘woah!’ ‘Wooaahh!’ and when I went out to see what they were doing I found them rocking the boat from side to side and acting out an epic sea journey. They were in the midst of a storm and in huge danger. Imaginations were overflowing just as the water seemed to be in the boat. I loved that they were saving each other from falling out and Henry was trying to look after Toby.
They were making a lot of noise and when their cousins arrived the noise increased as excited ‘look at this!’ and ‘We need to sand it down!!’ could be heard at full volume. The showed their cousins their expertise in sanding that only those with 10 mins of expertise can demonstrate and they all had a go at sanding the wood, making the dust and changing the colour of the wood.
Our neighbour’s daughter came down on her bike and joined in too. It was lovely to hear that our neighbour had made a joke about us expecting a flood and for some strange reason they all think the boat will float on their grandmother’s lake though lots more imagination would be needed for that!
Ollie, his cousin and our neighbour’s daughter all working on the boat in the picture. I have no idea why my nephew is wearing boxing gloves and I think that really is the fascination of children. They don’t need a –why? They just do what they do just because. I think as an adult I’ve lost some of the ‘just because’ and have become too sensible; maybe I need to dig out my pirate costume and join in…
Cricket bats were used as swords, a Frisbee appeared as a cannon ball but the boxing gloves stayed on throughout.
The name of the boat was excitedly found ‘Hoof hearted’. I didn’t get the joke and neither did the children but my Sister-in-law came round to check she has heard what I had said. ‘Hoof Hearted’ say it a little faster…!
The children ended with much ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!’ lots of ‘come on ‘me hearties!’ and other pirate talk. They bounced up and down on it; they hid inside it but most all they loved it. It may never be the best looking rowing boat and it may never see water again, let alone a grandmother’s lake, but it will be the best pirate ship any boys have dared to dream of and they can’t wait to get it finished. They loved the sanding, in between bouts of playing, and they know there’s a lot more to do. I didn’t have any ‘when’s it going to be finished?’ ‘I’m bored now’ as it’s something they really want to do. I’m hoping that this boat will give my sons a bit of determination to see a job through, to know that something may take a long while to mend before you can use it and also that some things aren’t instantly fixed as you have to solve the problems along the way. Should we have oars? (YES!) Should we build a detachable mast so we can attach some sails and a flag? (YEEES!!!) should we have oar locks just so we can use it to mess about on the river of our imaginations? Yes definitely and more. We’ve got to design a flag, paint the name on the boat and solve the problem of where to put it and how to anchor it down – oh my life we need an anchor, now that’s something they can make too.
Computers are fab, the TV is great for a rainy day but rescuing an old boat from the skip will be something the boys will remember forever. I’ll take photos along the way to show them what they have achieved and also to remember what the boat looked like when we first got it. Cousins and friends have already played in it but I think they’ll be many more adventures yet, I think I may have to dig out that pirate costume after all…