Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to Brooklin!

It's a long way to Brooklin - fortunately for me the weather was very nice for the drive and traffic wasn't bad at all.

The first sign I saw as I drove into Brooklin in mid-afternoon was this one:

Finally, I saw the sign that I was looking for:

Upon my arrival, I got straight to work. Definitely one of the down-sides to being the instructor. (- gotta get crackin' as soon as you get there!) One of the people who was in the shop that day was a student who had been there the previous week by the name of Bill Chapman. Bill was very surprised to see an instructor unloading class supplies for a two week class out of a Honda Civic. To be quite honest, my Honda looked a bit like the 'clown car' from the circus. It was packed to the gills with sundry supplies and tools needed to teach the class along with my own gear for the two-week stay and had a bicycle on a trunk rack. I had very little travel left on the car's rear suspension, actually.

I ran into Bill Thomas and Wyatt Lawrence (briefly) who had been at the school the week before. I'd met Bill last fall when I went up to check out the school facility and it was good to see him again. I also ran into the shop staff who were busy getting the bays prepared for upcoming classes.

I was fortunate to get to speak with Ted Moores who was up teaching a class the week before. For those of you who may not be familiar with Ted, he is the owner of Bear Mountain Boats. Ted is a fixture in the cedar-strip canoe business and has been building boats for many, many years. He has authored at least three books on the subject and numerous articles. I was particularly interested in talking with him as we were both using a new experimental version of West System's 207 epoxy hardener in our classes and I wanted his impressions of the material. West System had kindly given us access to the new material and I appreciated the opportunity to use it. As I understand it, the new material will replace the existing hardener for improved clarity (water-white) and better cloth wet-out properties.

I unloaded my tools and supplies into the shop and organized the room the way I wanted it for the class. I cleaned up the stems that I had prepared for my students and ripped sheet stock down for forms. After finding the strips and putting them up on a bench I figured I ought to wander down to my new "home" as it was getting to be about 5:30 PM.

I had been billeted down at the Boathouse at the waterfront and drove down to unload the rest of my things. Bill Thomas and Jane Ahlfeld were down there as was Laurel Seaborn, the waterfront director. Jane was going to be teaching the Elements of Seamanship with Laurel the following week. Jane is somewhat of a fixture at the school and has been teaching there for many years. Unknown to me until then was the fact that Bill and Jane are married and that Jane had lived in my hometown for several years during the '80's. Small world.

The Boathouse is an interesting place. There is a kitchen in the back, two bathrooms (one outside for students and guests, one inside for staff), a bedroom on the side for the waterfront director, a great room with a massive stone fireplace where classes are held, a porch overlooking the waterfront and two loft bedrooms for staff. The first is above the porch and seemed to be Jane's private territory and the other was behind the fireplace and above the kitchen where I was staying. More on my room another day...

I got unloaded, changed my clothes and drove over to the Brooklin Inn. The Inn has a pub downstairs which can best be described as "homey". I ordered a pizza and a beer and sat down listening to the conversations of a few tourists, locals and WoodenBoat Students. As I was waiting, a voice to my left asked how my accomodations were. Huh? Looking to my left I noticed a woman sitting there that I didn't immediately recognize - it was Emily, one of the shop staff. We chatted for a while and I noticed the rest of the staff and other students filtering in for a beer and a bite to eat.

I finally decided to get back and get a good night's sleep. On arriving at the Boathouse, I realized my big mistake. I'd forgotten a flashlight and all the lights were off. I went in and couldn't find a light-switch. Making my way back up to my room via braille, my head and shins found every piece of furniture and low overhead all the way up to my room. Not a mistake to make again.

No comments: