So here it is, a Mallin blog. It's perhaps a symptom of my muddled ideas on blogging that I feel the need to provide a prologue, just like a traditional written format. No one will ever read it perhaps but I feel such a thing deserves a beginning, a proper launch. So permit me a flight of fancy, dear reader. Allow me a little pretence. If an analogy is worth whipping it's worth flogging.
Here she is on the slipway then. Imagine, if you will, a woman with a flowery hat and a name with a hyphen, poised with a bottle of champaign on a rope to christen the bows. In the crowd the general feeling is of anticipation but the riveters know there's a few seams that will only hold with the grace of god, the shipwright himself feels he could have done more to make her seaworthy, and the boilers aren't even connected yet. The majority of the fitting-out won't be done until the keel's wet and after that it'll be too late to bring her back on shore to fix the bits that weren't thought through. She's a little broad in the beam and likely to roll some in heavy seas. She'll make a few people queasy once she's out of the harbour. There's a sense of occasion nonetheless, even though there are plenty of better ships out there already. She's not even got a mission yet. Carrying coals is more likely than a voyage of discovery, for what's left to discover? The sea level will rise a fraction of a fraction when she's afloat, but that's just displacement folks.
The woman in the hat says "God bless her and all who sail in her" (as so many have said before) and another good bottle of bubbly is sacrificed to superstition. As it bursts someone adds "To the far horizon!" but there are mutters from the old hands that Grimsby is a more likely destination.
Off she goes down the ramp nevertheless, with a patter of applause from the crowd, a shriek of blocks and the sound of a lot of gravity arguing with a lot of inertia.
Thought for the day: The story of the Titanic proved the most important man on a ship is not the captain but the lookout.