Friday, 22 November 2013

"It is not because you are a

girl," the Senior Cat tells the eight year old, "You're just not quite old enough for it to be safe yet."
He is telling the four youngest of the six children what they will be doing out in the shed.
She accepts his words with good grace. The boys are going to use the copy lathe, the metal lathe and the scroll saw today. They are equipped with safety gear, things the Senior Cat insists on.
Youngest however learns about sanding, glue and the need for absolute precision. She glues together two three-dimensional puzzles - one of which is quite diabolically difficult to both construct and do. After that he hands her a kit he has found.
"Now, I want you to be an aeronautical engineer. You are going to build a helicopter."
The kit is really quite simple but it is solar powered. Fortunately it is a sunny day and the end result, after a couple of "crash landings", works well.
Meanwhile the boys are hard at it. There is quite a lot of mathematics involved. There is much precision involved. Things go wrong and need to be rectified. Patience and persistence are required.
The boys have both. Their grandfather is there to help. He is not a woodworker in the way the Senior Cat is but he can watch and guide under instruction. The machinery is too dangerous for even a fourteen year old not to be watched. They have much to learn. They do not know even the simplest things yet - things like never having the timber touch the cutting edge when you turn the machine on.
It was a fun day. It was exhausting for the Senior Cat. There is more than eighty years difference between him and the eight year old. It is more than a lifetime away, it is a world of work away. As an eight year old the Senior Cat made simple wooden boats and other things in the shed in the backyard of his home. He has retained the skills and improved on them.
At the end of the day much has been accomplished by everyone. They have eaten an Everest of sandwiches, quiche, raisin bread, fruit and ice cream ( a rare treat in a household of eight.)
They have objects to take home and they will have memories.
Youngest confides in me that she wants the Senior Cat to be there again when she is old enough to do what the boys have done today.
I hope he is - and still able to help her. I hope she has the memories and can pass them on to her grandchildren.


Anonymous said...

My grandfather was supposedly a carpenter. One of his sons was born with skills and patience to get things right and it was not hereditary! The visiting family is lucky that their grandfather knows his limits and allows somebody else to teach them.

jeanfromcornwall said...

That sounds like a wonderful day! My Father loved woodwork, but would never let me get involved - in this case, yes, because I was a girl. I used to wish so hard that he would let me try. There wasn't anyone around who would have taught me anything.

catdownunder said...

They are lucky - and fortunately appreciative.
Dad made very sure that Youngest knew it was because of her age and NOT because she was a girl Jean...he let one of the girls in one of his schools do woodwork because she wanted to - and she did extremely well.