Wearing the blue berét

As I mentioned in the last post, we are building the decks on the bunkhouse. What I have failed to clarify, so far to my readers, is that I am the supervisor of the construction crew responsible.


My role is based primarily on the need for a go-between or mediator to be inserted between all the players, major and minor. And my qualifications, work history notwithstanding, are based almost entirely on my ready and effusive confession to not knowing anything.

Such inadequacy may, on the face of it, seem like a dubious and counter-intuitive qualification but it is not. In this case the dummy knows best.

Firstly, you have to understand that everyone up here is a builder of sorts and quite proud of it – save for me, of course, who is, instead, very proud of his wife as she is the real builder in the family. But I digress.

I know nothing and freely admit it. They know everything and quietly believe everyone else is a nincompoop. Thus the need for a go-between not encumbered by any skill or expertise. I am like the filter in the process that strains out the details but manages to pass on the main, basic message without colouring it with instruction, opinion or even basic knowledge. I am truly a simple messenger with the message so simplified that even I can deliver it.

A minor encounter with some Cedar planks illustrates this.

Bert (himself an expert builder and maker of things), standing five feet to my left, offered me some wood the other day that he thought might be suitable for my future boat building project. He said, “Got some nice Cedar. You could use that in the boat you are going to build.”

Dag(who builds boats by first falling the trees and then milling the wood) was standing to my immediate right and knows more about boat-building than Noah. I turned to him, “I might get some of that Cedar, there, Dag. Think it would be good for a boat?”

“Some of it, maybe. Not enough there, tho, for the boat you want.”

I turn to Bert, “Might take some of it. Might need some more, tho, depending on the boat, ya know.”

“How big a boat ya building?”

I turn to Dag, “Have we picked the boat I want yet?”

Dag says, “Nope. Not yet”.

I turn to Bert, “Don’t know as yet. You OK, with that? Can I tell you later what the boat will be and how much Cedar I’ll need?”

“Yup. How much later?”

I turn to Dag, “Unh, how long do you think it will take for us to decide this, Dag?”

“Don’t know. It’s your boat!”

This is where it got tricky. Everyone knows I don’t know anything and that extends to even the boat I want. I have some rough idea but Dag-cum-Noah knows so much more he is like my major consultant and it would appear that we were not going to take this conversation any further at this time. Dag has had enough talking boats for the time being.

“Geez, Bert, gotta think a bit more on it, ya know. You mind if I take a few days to mull this over?”

“Nope. That’s fine. Gotta move it, tho. May as well move it down to the boatworks, eh?”

The air was rife with tension. Moving it was OK. But moving it in the direction of the boatworks was a statement of sorts. A stance. I checked with Dag. He nodded just a smidge. It was approved. We could move the wood in the direction of the boatworks!


We separated. Dag went one way, Bert the other. More progress was made – the boat is getting closer to being made. I’ll refocus on the Bunkhouse decks when the tensions have eased.

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