Level best

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The waters were up as we passed over the bridge this morning, lapping the high banks along Cocklemoor and Bow Wharf. On Tuesday the lock gates were open at Oath; with the high tides coming and all the recent rain, we’ve been wondering how the water system is coping. There’s plenty of information to be found on the Flooding on the Levels Action Group Fb page, including an excellent diagram of how the overspill and storage system works to distribute and hold water for pumping off between tides.

making out

In the workshop we’ve been busy levelling out the base of the boat and mapping everything out, ready for gluing and cutting tomorrow… exciting times!

boat marking

Plane sailing…

Today’s been a long day of careful and incremental progress, trimming and straightening the beautiful old red pine planks that will make the base of the boat, to get a nice snug fit.

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We’ve scavenged some great old steel supports to make a level work surface, and are slowly making our way from seam to seam, making sure the joins are true. Tomorrow we hope to piece together and cut out the sections of the base, and hope to end the day with something approximately resembling the bottom of a boat.

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A Four-Seasons Day

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The weather today has provided a perfect backdrop to the drama of starting on the boat. As the bus wound its way down over the Mendips, the Levels were awash with golden light, but by the time we were in Wells it was hailing.

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The stormy skies and half-light of the day made our new workshop seem a bright haven (though not quite cosy enough to risk taking off our coats, hats and gloves)

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planks

We spent an exciting afternoon wrestling with timber and getting everything together for the boat, ready for marking out tomorrow. Then, to round off the day, we had a great session with our friends at the Langport Huish Youth Club.

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The adventure of making the boat has just begun.

A generous gift

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After a long, slow journey – late buses, hail storms, missed connections and all – it was lovely to have such a warm welcome back to Langport.

Some:when has been made possible by a great deal of creative and generous input and support from people locally, who’ve contributed in so many ways. It was good to be able to add to this list the support of Travis Perkins, who generously agreed to sponsor us with a donation of materials and equipment for the boat. We’d like to say a big thank you to the management of the Langport branch of Travis Perkins, who so kindly arranged the sponsorship, and helped make sure we had all we needed.

It’s exciting to have all the materials, tools and workshop set up and ready to go. Thanks to all who helped today, and on the project so far!

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Winter’s greetings!

A warm hello to all our friends and followers, this bright winter’s day. We are visiting friends and family (Jethro in Scotland, left; Seila in Spain, right) and recharging our batteries for the excitement of January.

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The exciting news is: we have found an excellent work space and will be starting work on THE BOAT in mid January – we are also looking forward to some more creative workshops while we are there.

We hope you are all having a nice toasty time with your loved ones, and enjoying the spectacular return of the sun.

Best wishes and looking forward to seeing you soon

Jethro and Seila

Some:when gathering and exciting news!

On Saturday we enjoyed another great visit to Somerset, this time to run a workshop more directed to adults in Langport. We wanted to generate a conversation around the project from a different angle, revisiting the history of the Somerset Levels and Moors and looking at poetry, a historical text about Somerset and an image of Bow Street (the main street in Langport) which we found in a visit at the Somerset Heritage Office, to provide inspiration for the discussion.

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texts

The session was really interesting and we talked about all kinds of things: windmills, rivers, water, nature, hydro power, recovery, cycles, boats, history, canals, floods, willow, traditions and many more.

If you couldn’t attend the session and would like to have a look to the resources please do, here isthe link: Some_when_gathering. Feel free to share your thoughts with us!

 

market outside

While we set up the workshop in the Town Hall we looked out on the Christmas market, that we had the chance to visit for a bit afterwards – what an excellent day for it!

We also popped down to visit the river Parrett, in an extraordinary light and  very low water level. This enabled us to see the vegetation at the bottom of the Parrett, which normally gets hidden by light reflections in the surface of the river.

 

river

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(photos taken from Cocklemoor, Langport)

To finish the post, we would like to share our excitement that we’ve found a fantastic space to build the Flatner!  The build will be taking place in the middle of January!!

So if you are as excited as we are, and you would like to know more about it do get in touch – we might even be able to arrange a visit to the site.

 

Workshops at the Curry Mallet Primary School

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Thanks again to the staff and pupils at Curry Mallet Primary School, who hosted us for two really rewarding sessions. We split the day between the older and younger pupils, and worked in groups across year groups to make sure everybody could take part. There were some really creative ideas and compelling images.
One group focused on recalling how the water flowed over a bridge, another set out a detailed landscape of saturated fields trans-sected by brimming rhynes. Others came up with inventive ideas for the future, including an under-water truck like a wheeled submarine, which would remain stable on the ground and not float, as well as a couple of space-borne craft. I was struck by the detail of some children’s observations and recollections – the precise way water over-spills the raised banks of a river, or the fine feathery branches of pollarded willows strung out along a rhyne.

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What an incredible, talented and entertaining group of young artists – we hope to see you all again!

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Sail making with young people in Langport…

Last week we were back in Langport for another great session with Langport and Huish Youth Club. We heard some interesting stories of young people’s experiences with the floods, some of them happy memories and some difficult.

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It was good to see the different ways people had found to move around and connect with their families or explore the landscape – from visiting grandparents by tractor, to horse riding in knee-high waters.

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The workshop brought up a lot of ideas. One participant’s immediate reactions was to make an image of deforestation – “because that affects the flooding”.

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Ideas became more complex as the session infolded – we’re looking forward to coming back again for more stories and beautiful images!

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