By coincidence, my Good Lady is reading her way through Pepys’s Diaries on her ‘Kindle’ and comes across references to our Sam attending meetings at The Naval Office with Mr Dean where the ways of “raising a Bend of Timbers”. The King’s Navy (Charles 2) were short of wooden knees for ship building. On June 22nd 1664 Sir William Petty intimated that “it seemed by the scarcity and greater rate of knee timber that nature did not furnish crooked wood enough” and they discuss raising bent timbers “by art” (i.e. by special growing techniques. It is 1664 and we are preparing for war with the Dutch. The Navy is so short of provisions that they are trawling through the town looking for stuff to beg borrow or steal. The Navy is not funded by the Government but by the King who is allowed to raise £200,000 p.a. from taxes to fund it and the King is ‘a bit profligate’ (he’s running 2 mistresses and loves art and fine things) and he’s surrounded by chancers who should be running the Navy but are helping Charles to party. Pepys is sickened that they ‘do not have their mind to business!” All the good, efficient guys had been sacked along with Cromwell. Proper history!
Meanwhile in 2012, Cambria Watch’s Diary (Hilary Halajko of Sea Change Sailing Trust) has it that they were “under way from Stangate Creek at 7am and anchored in the Swale at 11ish. It’s been blowing a gale and is pouring with rain! We are playing cards in the dry. Looking at tomorrow’s forecast we are thinking of leaving at 5 a.m. (this morning, Thursday 30th) Essex bound and hoping to escape the worst of tomorrow’s weather.” I hope you did, Hilary. It’s half 9 here now in County Roscommon and the sun is splitting the stones. We have a nice day at last! Sea Change have also posted some nice pictures on their Facebook feed of the latest Crew (the youth trainees) having a brilliant time doing their stuff, steering the barge, rowing the barge-boat, ‘cheesing’ the warps and swimming in the sea.
Tomorrow, Mevagissey Toshers. Yes, really.