“be prepared”

Log Cabin Gallery

First urban sketch of 2013. This is the old Boy Scout Cabin on 1st Street in Davis, now home to the Log Cabin Gallery (we like a gallery in Davis, we like a bit of art). I sketched it today while stood at Davis Commons at lunchtime, listening to a podcast about the great Roman Emperor Trajan. I am enjoying these History of Rome podcasts, you should check them out (search for them on iTunes). Optimus Trajan, wow he was quite the guy. I really must get to Rome one of these days (not exactly a cheap day return though, is it). This old log cabin is an interesting and overlooked building which is in a pretty prominent downtown yet feels-a-bit-cut-off-by-traffic location in Davis. It was built in 1927 by the Boy Scouts Association and the Rotary Club. They aren’t there any more however, due to their lease not being renewed about a decade ago after a dispute about whether it was appropriate for the city to lease land to an organization that discriminates against gay people (according to Davis Wiki). It’s a more interesting scout hut than my old one back in Burnt Oak. I have fond memories of being in the scouts when I was a kid in England, the 8th Edgware, with the blue scarf, first in the cubs, then in the scouts, getting my camping badges, my reading badge, my art badge; I remember getting my chess badge, and the scout leader making a big deal about when my older brother got his chess badge years before and my brother, less than ten years old, had actually taught him many of the chess moves he was now testing me on. I lived off of his reputation (but I got the art badge all on my own, thank you). We’d go camping a lot, so many adventurous summers camped by some wood or other with cubs from all over the south east, places like Gilwell Park, learning how to boil potatoes and pitch an ancient tent in the pouring rain and tell ghost stories by the light of a cheap torch from Woolworths. The scout leaders were a couple, Pat and Pete, and their sister Ruth, though Pat was the ‘Akela’ (as in “A-ek-la, we will do our best” I recall us all having to repeat), and I remember some old friends such as Racey, Duggan, various Marks, Goodman, but have forgotten so many more. I was ‘sixer’ of the yellows at one point, which was kind of the leader of my group, then I became sixer of the blues, and got my gold arrow badge, though I can barely recall what any of that means now. We didn’t have a log cabin – our old hut was cold and draughty, with a goat tethered outside for some unknown reason, located behind the main shops on the Watling, reached by going down some piss-stained steps in a dark passageway next to the off-license which came out above where the Silkstream entered the Burnt Oak sewage system. That is the scout hut I should draw someday, though to be honest I am not sure it’s even there.

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