Sunk again?

Imagine spending six years of your life building an exact replica of a famous ship. From scratch. To scale. In your backyard. Making no attempt to hide your work from anyone. And then, just as it's almost finished, being notified that you needed bureaucratic approval first. That's the plight of Stan Fraser. An Inverness, Scotland, resident, he took up modelmaking when illness brought his engineering career to a halt. Since he's also a maritime enthusiast, he decided to invest his time in a reproduction of the Titanic, the ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Little by little, his project grew to 100 feet in length, with four smoke-belching funnels. About all that remains are the installation of a foghorn and lights that will be visible through the portholes. Fraser lives beside a canal, whose towpath is a favorite of recreational walkers and cyclists. They delight in the ship. Alas, the Highland Council does not. If he can't win its retroactive OK, he may have to dismantle his mini-Titanic. But there may be a way out. In Northern Ireland, where the famous vessel was assembled, the Belfast Titanic Society has heard of Fraser's work and its chairwoman says she can foresee a place for it there if the council turns him down. Stay tuned.

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