And all the boards did shrink
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
(from the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”)
Following the trail of the Somerset Flatner, we discovered a set of plans to build it had been drawn up by enthusiasts at the Watchet Boat Museum. That was how we ended up in Watchet, looking for the plans, and hoping also to see the real boat. After an interesting journey, getting to know a few more people along the way, we arrived in Watchet – possible birthplace of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. An interesting small town on the coast which that day was blessed with remarkable and irrational weather…
2:00 pm: the museum opens… and we get to enter this fantastic space packed with floating inspiration, independently created and curated by a passionate and inventive local group, Friends of the Flatner. Bruce, a founding member, kindly met us at the museum and we had our first tantalising glimpse into the world of knowledge the group have accumulated over the years. We begun to realise just how complex the project is – the boat we want to build, the “Flatner” is a whole spectrum of plan variations depending on their functionality, context and owner. A couple of hours’ explanation opened windows and even doors, to look at the making of this fascinating project. Finally able to explore its history in depth, and being able to touch and handle the actual boats, we started to see the boat take shape in our minds’ eyes.
Thank you so much to Bruce, on behalf of the Watchet Boat Museum and The Friends of the Flatner. So much passion in one little shed – so much knowledge to learn from!