Second (or is that secondly?) a gratuitous photo of girls opening a boat show, an event aimed at attracting hordes of Visa-card wielding males to ExCel in Docklands to buy more plastic boats (of which more later...)
Meanwhile, the Woodfish faering seems to have stalled after an email from the chap suggested that a problem with buying a house in France might delay things. That came as a bit of a relief, as another project seems to have cropped up in the meantime, and I can look forward to the faering, possibly, later in the year, which suits me fine. More time to find top quality larch for the wide strakes.
The weather, also, is horrible and although I have built boats through many horrible winters in the past, this one is just too horrible at the moment for words (although horrid is a good one to describe the remorseless wind and rain we have been getting for the past three months).
I had thought of escaping the gloom for the lights of London's boat show, until I remembered how horrid that was too, the last time I went. And this year sounds little better, albeit smaller. But it will still be wall-to-wall clothing stands offering bargains on garish oilskins; a hall totally devoted to Sunseeker (about whom I will not have a bad word spoken as my godson crafts the Jacuzzi surrounds for the Super Predator ExTreme Ultima) and the Guinness bar. The only bright spot in all this glitzy gloom is the Classic Boat stand, where Dan Houston and his team dispense common wooden sense, while youngsters brave life and limb to climb HMS Victory's mast.
So I decided to stay at home and ponder what 2012 might bring, eat the rest of the mince pies, read the pile of books left over from 2011, notably an excellent one by Adam Nicholson on Trafalgar, and meditate basically on life in general and boats in particular.
There's talk too of this being the last London show at ExCel. From its debut, when over 200,000 came, numbers have plummeted to around half, which does not surprise me a bit. Expensive to attend, and enter, halls stuffed with pile em high sell em cheap stalls, much of which is cheaper on the internet, a dearth of wooden boats - in fact boats with any appeal at all - and all in a hall that looks like a Zeppelin hangar from the outside and a Turkish bazaar inside.
So, maybe next year when I may have a better reason to go, if I can persuade Classic Boat to host a stand full of readers' home-built boats, many of which will have sprung from the board of Iain Oughtred, no doubt. It will have to be a mix of plywood and traditional, and one idea that came to mind would be to sit side by side an example each of one of Iain's boats, in timber and plywood and finally thrash out the advantages and disadvantages of both. It would be a project very close to my heart as, over the past year or so, I have softened somewhat my views on plywood. Somewhat...