Thursday, 28 January 2010
The Spanish Mediterranean coast is not a good place for buying wood. Though a thick pelt of forestry covers many areas of Catalunya there is little general use of wood. While you might see pine beams in old buildings, timber has barely been used in construction since the 60’s when concrete became God and high-rise apartment blocks ruptured the skyline.
Wood in the home has been ousted by a dictatorship of flat-pack furniture. Familiar tables and lamps crop up in other people’s homes with depressing regularity. An insidious bland conformity spreads from home to home. And if a window and wooden frame need repairing they are inevitably replaced with quadruple glazed windows in white aluminium frames that swoosh shut, sealing you in soundproof rooms full of stale air.
My carpenter friend Mr Mushroom makes gates and fences where before he made cupboards and bookcases. He insists however, that wood is cheap. It is not. Particularly if you need something a little bit special for your boat. Even hardwood scraps seem hard to come by.
So I was very pleased when one morning a wave washed a piece of teak up the beach. It wasn’t very big and, judging by the drill holes and saw cuts, had drifted from a boatyard somewhere over the horizon. But it was just what I needed to replace the two stern cleats on OB.