Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Last trip in Ripples

The wee boat's gunwhales are disintegrating, she has a hole in the thwart, and her benches are rotten. Ripples, as we call her, has just done her final journey. Her years of floating service are over. Early in the morning, at high tide, we swept the snow off the blue wooden benches and launched her for the last time. Her last duty was the tour to the caravan to pick up an empty calor gas bottle, up to the bridge at the head of the loch where it was swapped for a full one, back to the caravan to drop it off, and then into a crack on the shore where she will sit high and dry as the tides fall away now that the moon is waning again. Once she has dried out a bit, she will be perched up-ended to live out her days as a shelter, a place to go and sit out of the drizzle and contemplate ripples on the loch. It was sunny as we rowed her up and down the loch, but as soon as she was abandoned on the shore, a squalling blizzard swept in, like the close of a film, as if taking a boat out onto the loch will never ever be possible again.

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