Here is the finest salvage yet – a magnificent length of timber, presumably washed away from the old Rapid Bay jetty. Recent storms have shaken the remaining structure; bits and pieces drift with the current which runs northwards – and these gifts from the ocean are delivered almost to our doorstep….a few hundred yards to the south, where the beach comes to an end.
The length measures 8 1/2 feet by 8 1/2 inches by 3 inches. I think it is what the trade calls ‘Australian Oak’ – which might mean Mountain Ash, or Alpine Ash, or Messmate Stringybark: they have similar characteristics.
No doubt the trees were cut from pristine forests way back, when our native forests seemed never-ending; when there was no notion of careful/selective harvesting and replanting.
All the more reason, now, to treat the driftwood with respect,and use it only for noble purposes. By that I mean: wooden boats, the best of which are surely the most beautiful examples of functional sculpture ever conceived.
I take all these gifts as an unequivocal Message. It is time we revived our boat-building skills, as far as they go, and look to the various castles in the air, inherited and otherwise.
Which is not to say my lute-making is forgotten. On the contrary – in the coming days I hope to glue the Endclasp to the Lute body. It has been a tricky job shaping the correct pattern; fining and refining and muddling through; getting a little bit anxious – but it’s the next and unavoidable step: it has to be taken, so I had better take it.