Saturday, October 28, 2006

Crime Figures Soar

Good news - lots of workshop time today. Bad news - nope, not tellin' ya about it. On the other hand I've got the okay on a couple of things from Mr Nicholas Blake (see previous on carpenter's stores etc), but I shall save the best for Monday (Mondays need something to sweeten them). In the meantime, anyone want to speculate on the identity of the saw in this incident? Resolution was apparently in Nootka Sound (on the coast of Vancouver Island - and yes, I had to look that up...) in April 1778 and one of the natives

"had nearly got off with a double cross cut saw, used by the carpenters ashore, which he had contrived to twist around his body, and hide under his clothes so ingeniously as almost to avoid suspicion"

Naturally I've made an educated (I'd like to think) guess but if I'm correct it does make the mind boggle a little as to how he managed it. And which way would you have the teeth pointing...?

Oh, and I just know you're all dying for further oakum-toilet paper revelations. Apparently the guides on HMS Victory claim the oakum was hung above the tables at meals for wiping greasy hands on - and then subsequently used for the aforesaid purpose. Now I can recall being quite sceptical about some of the stories those guides put about when I went round Victory many years ago, the leg pull being a favourite hobby of many a nautical type, so take that as you will. I'm certainly not speculating on it - so far every avenue of thought has ended up requiring the delete button if this blog is to refrain from making the readership heave...


  1. Or I suppose it could have been that the ratings had to make do with the non-greased oakum (their equivalent of that 'orrible Izal grease-proof stuff) whereas the officers got to use the super-soft, greased oakum (their equivalent of super-soft Delsey)?? I can't imagine that there was enough of the super-soft, greased stuff for everyone...

    Either way, I'm glad I wasn't around in those days - it all sounds as if it was a bit rough, in more ways than one!!

    Paul Chapman

  2. Hi ALF,

    The olde-tyme saw must have belonged to one of Captain James Cook's ships (Resolution or Discovery). Capt. Cook's 1778 exploration of No. America got the colonists in such a swivet that, later, President Thos. Jefferson deemed it imperative to acquire (from France) and claim what is now the western US--for him, it was all about the fur trade. I suppose it might be added, that there is still interest in saws in the Pacific Northwest.

    And, as the ice melts in the arctic, renewed interest in Capt. Cook's northwest passage. Maybe there be oil up there.


  3. I seem to remember being told a similar story when I went round the Victory. Given the conditions on board and the lack of space to store everything necessary for a commission the story doesn't surprise me much- one less thing to worry about and store!

    But as you say these nautical types do like to lull the land lubbers with stories like this!

    BTW I think you might underestimate the readership!

    Look forward to reading Monday's offering, JMF


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