Making things watertight …

When I look back over my childhood a major part or at very least a ‘significant’ portion involved making things watertight and in some cases (ie footwear) always failing.

Around age eight to fourteen modelmaking was big with me, things that flew through the air and things that bobbed on water, most usually utilising for the latter the bath in our house. To anyone that has never built a model boat hull they have no appreciation of what it is to make a watertight hull. Typical size would be say an eight inch balsa model of a tug (by Halvor Moorshead?) and easy to make watertight with the ubiquitous late ’60’s crappy made in Hong Kong next to useless motor, to however six years later a thirty inch hull from ply with solid end blocks and not so bad a result either but much more difficult to make watertight.

But as well as model boats another area of water-tighted-ness would be huts, ie dwellings for a day or a weekend built from scrap wood and lots of childhood imagination; hollows in the ground hewn by junior hand imagining I was a soldier or backwoodsman and from my dad a tent of probably unproofed cotton or poplin type material from his beloved Exchange and Mart.

Footwear equally was a battle, always failing to keep waterproof. Somehow efficient waterproof footwear was always beyond my parents income. How I dreaded wet grass! Equally nonsensical was my useless mothers insistence that if I was bought footwear two or three years ago why should I or how could I demand even more money to be spent on me so soon!

My parents seemed singularly unable to clothe me.

The hut we / my dad built for our home workshop in the house we moved to in ’72 was of fresh cut 100% wet planks, result …. wet! And always leaked.

The masterstroke from my Dad was to (from Exchange and Mart or maybe The Sunday Post) buy me a cagoule (slip over, no buttons, no opening) made of rubberised cotton, which I defy anyone to wear longer than sixty seconds and not be enveloped in perspiration. Riding over on the bus with friend KD was like a sauna, our objective as ten year olds to explore the tents housing props for making another film at the local castle. I now realise perhaps, this would be categorised as ‘fetish clothing’.

The worst wetness was one day going back to school at lunchtime say age eight or nine and totally and absolutely being soaked, a 2/3 mile walk that surely my mother could have realised was madness. However, no phone to call a taxi, no umbrella, no change of clothing, no decent coat. My grandmother called me in from across the road, insisted I wear my dads pre-war 1930 corduroy ‘shorts’ homemade of course and I felt like a complete nitwit for the rest of the afternoon. How those village kids would pick up on any small point of being different. Shallow facile shits.

You can see my battle with the ingress of water ….

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