Odd Jobs - Part 1
The Buckie Bucket
Back before the 'bubble' burst, if someone asked you what you did for a living, and you said; "I'm a web designer.". They'd say; "Oooh! That's cool.".
Hard to believe, but so it was at the time.
Now it's a 'serious profession' and that very rarely happens anymore, but sometimes, and more often than you'd think, I get to do stuff that I think is 'cool'. Every now and then, you get to see behind closed doors (I'm basically very nosey) and I am fascinated by how people spend their working days, and seeing the skills and effort that goes into things you never even thought about, no matter how mundane it may seem.
I like stories.
Almost 10 years ago I got the chance to build a website for Buckie Shipyard. I had no idea what to expect, outside of old tales from the Clyde yards, I'd never had any cause to give it a second thought. But, as I mentioned, I'm nosey....
After the usual H&S inductions and the mandatory hard hat, I was set free to roam the yard taking photos and getting a sense of the place. After an hour or so, they suggested I should try and get some aerial shots. 'Fair enough', I thought. 'How do we get onto the top of the shed?'. Hmmm....
There was no need to climb on top of the shed; they had a crane, and the crane had a 'bucket'; and the people went in the 'bucket; and the crane lifted the 'bucket' up about 80 feet or so, and swung it round to almost any point in the shipyard (80 feet is hard to imagine, so think of a 10m metre diving board and multiply it 2 and a half times, then think of a concrete and iron surface below instead of water.)
The 'bucket' was basically 12 pieces of steel tubing welded into a cube, with a metal grille for its floor.
I was clipped onto the 'bucket', and hoisted up. Once I gained my balance it was actually fairly enjoyable, it was only when they swung the crane from one point to another that it got a bit ropey. Hanging there, swaying in the air like the lonely steel ball in a broken executive desk toy, whilst the centrifugal momentum dissipated.
After that mini adventure, I was taken to the lifeboat repair building.
Boats are already emotive objects. They suggest freedom, wistfulness, rebellion and romanticism. But lifeboats are even more emotive. Boats from all around the Scottish coast come here to be repaired, and you see them in their before and after states. They come in weathered and worn, and go back out glossy, sparkling and ready to face everything that the North Atlantic, North Sea and human frailty can throw at them.
The skill and dedication on show throughout that day was incredible, especially when you think about how vital it is, and not just a cosmetic exercise. The sort of jobs people really should care about.
As a final note, I saw this conversion (below)happening, a recently de-commissioned fishing boat being turned into a thing of leisure.
Part of me thought; "That's beautiful, and clever, look at the skill in that hand crafted wheelhouse, and what a great use of resources.".
But another part of me thought; "Shame the original owner had to sell his fishing boat, his livelihood, and a piece of history."