The next little adventure I am planning is inspired by a man called Poppa Neutrino. Alec Wilkinson wrote a book about him called “The Happiest Man In The World” where he describes some of the things Neutrino did; caught rabies, changed his name (to Neutrino), built a boat out of rubbish, sailed it across the Atlantic to Ireland. At the end of the book he has built his second boat out of rubbish and its sitting on the beach in Mexico… he’s waiting for the right sea change to take him out across the Pacific.
My idea is more modest and much more domestic. Over the next month I am going to build a small rowing boat out of wood that I find in skips (dumpsters), within a mile of the Thames, and then I’m going to row it from the source back to London. I will do the scavenging and building on the weekends and the rowing will probably be a long weekend (its about 130 miles). There will be a few rules, although they might be somewhat nomic (it is my game after all):
- I won’t take any wood that isn’t definitely in a skip. If its ownership is uncertain, I’ll ask.
- I’ll do all the transport within London using my Santos Travelmaster bike.
- When I’m building the only bought materials I’ll allow myself will be a box of screws, a roll of gaffer/duct tape and a maybe a bit of glue.
- The rower will be built in my workshop.
I am still fundraising for the same reasons and for the same charity (What’s Driving Parkinson’s), so if you feel entertained or moved to do so you can donate here. I’ll be tweeting and using noticin.gs to record this little adventure and there might be a short film at the end of it too.
I said at the top that I was “planning” this but really I haven’t put too much thought into it. I wanted to do something that was a bit more, you know, creative… It might go wrong, it might sink, I may get pulled over for speeding by the Water Police, but it is a kind of experiment, so the definition of success is slightly different to normal.
If you live in London and want to be involved you can follow me on Twitter and send me a message if you see any useful looking wood on its sorry way to landfill.
This adventure is supported by Finisterre, a neat little company based in Cornwall UK. They supported me around the world with clothing and the relationship continues with them giving me some comfy wool undies and a jacket to keep me warm as I rummage in London’s building waste.