The entrance to your home is important. You encounter it over and over and over again, each time you go out or return. I suppose a good doorway is one which you don’t notice you’re going through, and a great doorway is one which you truly love to go through – one which welcomes you home. A bad doorway on the other hand is awkward/uncomfortable to go through, and puts you in a bad mood each time you leave or enter your home.
You’ve guessed it: mine was pretty grim:
The doors didn’t shut properly, the hatch didn’t slide properly and the interior was all rust and rotten wood. For insulation rather than good looks I attached plywood to the inner doors, which meant that the screws holding the hasp in place would hook over them and hold them shut. Which meant opening the hatch using my head to lift it whilst shoving the doors open to get out. Not a pleasant task in a diamante-studded beret I can tell you.
The hatch itself was also bowed in the centre, so collected lovely puddles of rain which spashed into the boat every time the hatch was shoved open (and it always had to be shoved.)
Most of the time I haven’t been opening my hatch, just crawling in and out of the boat – it’s easier that way. I only opened the hatch when visitors came, because I didn’t want them to think I was some kind of cave dwelling troll.
ANYWAY. That was the past.
First, meet Noah:
There he is measuring up my hatch. Doesn’t he look dapper.
Here he is again:
Looking rather different.
BECAUSE HE IS A METAL WORKER. STEEL ARTIST. HATCH-MAKING PERSON.
Yep. I was sitting, hungover, one morning in the kitchen of the house where I used to live, pondering the many things that needed to be done on my boat – not least the fabrication of steel parts (where do you even begin??) In walked Noah and casually asked ‘do you need any metalwork doing?’
Fast forward three months and just look at my hatch:
Don’t be distracted by the rusty roof – that’s all to be scrubbed and painted. What’s exciting is the hatch itself – custom made in sturdy steel and sitting on smooth brass runners. It glides open and can be shut from inside. It’s curved and lipped, so rainwater runs off to the side. It’s beautiful.
It’s not quite finished. Noah learned what we all have learned the hard way – that there are no right angles on a boat. The left hand side meets and covers the door…but the right hand falls a mysterious inch short.
For now, though, it’s fabulous.
I gave it a protective lick of red oxide paint, fitted a simple bolt to hold the doors closed, and have spent most of today going in and out and in and out of my boat, just for the sheer fun of it.