The one about ‘The Brown Barnacle’…

P thinks I over-do stuff, but often comments that “it’s fine if you enjoy it”.  This ‘anything goes as long as it’s fun’ approach is great on paper, but can be problematic when I’m looking for a bit of a pat on the back (yes, I know – I’m a child).  When I ask for his view on something, I get the stock response: “yeah, it’s fine”.  Hmm.  Not “good”.  Not “great”.  “Fine”.

Question is:  would anything be “fine”?  hmm.  For him this seems to be like the equivalent of me asking “does my bum look big in this?”.  He learnt his lesson (that vagueness pays), from the incident with the pirate ship.

It happened when I asked for feedback (bad move) on a pirate ship that I had made from a #Pickfords removals wardrobe box.  He said it was “ok”.  I then took umrage that it was only ‘ok’ and then spent an age pimping-up the windows with glittery porthole rims and added fully-functioning red gingham curtains (the pinking sheers came out again!).  Oh, and the inside decked-out with wallpaper, picture of a bookcase and a rug and pillow.  So, yes, the return of that old chestnut: ‘fear of not being good enough’…. (and the psychology…).

I’ve since made ‘Mark 2’.  This time out of big flat boxes, stuck together to make a rectangle with packing tape.  The front of each ship was just a triangular shape added-on.  To keep the mast (a garden cane) straight, I stood it in a cling-film roll attached to the inside of the box (otherwise it would tip over!).

For the first pirate ship that I made (which was black), I dutifully covered the brown packing tape with black electrical tape; but with the second version, I just painted it brown, so the packing tape looked OK as it was.  I cut a fair few corners with Mark 2!!

Mark 2 was named ‘The Brown Barnacle’ and where efficiencies had been gained on building the structure, more finesse was spent on new features (a cannon, where tin-foil cannon-balls could be blown out through the tin-foil covered toilet toll which made the shaft of the cannon).  I don’t think my eldest could even read when I made the sign – I liked it though!  For speed, I didn’t bother with real cotton sails the second-time around.  I found that white cardboard cut in the shape of sails had the same effect and a lot less hassle than using string to create a hoisted effect that I did on the original Mark 1 (a wrestling match so painful, it was not worth repeating!).

The Brown Barnacle still sails – as a play house during play dates and a hiding place at the end of them.  It’s sustained some major damage over the last couple of years, but after all that effort, sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye.


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