I remember years ago, back when I was about 19 and dating A1, we went down to visit one of his Uncles – of which there were several – and while A1 and his Uncle were bitching about some football team, I spent some time poking around in his work shed. Uncle Mike was a French polisher by trade and his bloke cave was messy as could be – full of half completed pieces of furniture, tins of paints, dangerous looking tools and general creative disarray. The place was always stuffed to the beams with pieces of timber… some hastily discarded as rubbish… and others carefully stored for future projects. I remember, quite vividly, the strong smells of the wood and the shellac and varnishes he used. … and I also remember the crunchy woodchips and the spongy sawdust underfoot, as I poked through the shed, opening drawers and looking in stuff I probably shouldn’t have been pfaffing with.
Anyway, when the football nonsense was over, I spent a few hours talking with Uncle Mike about what he does, and he showed me how to turn wood, and told me all about the different projects he was working on, some of them restorations, and some of them he was building something new from scratch. He showed me lots of different timbers, and I remember falling in love with the colours of the Jarrah and the beautiful fine grain of the Tasmanian oak and the gorgeous smell of the Huon pine. (God if you could truly bottle the smell of Huon pine and sell it as a men’s aftershave or even as a incense or something… I reckon you’d make a fortune.) Anyway, I had a lovely afternoon with Mike in his shed, and then pretty much forgot all about it.
Until about a year later, when unexpectedly, he turned up with a gift for me… a beautiful hand crafted glory box made out of solid Tasmanian oak, and French polished to a beautiful sheen. It was an overwhelming gift… unexpected and generous beyond measure. I couldn’t believe that Mike had gone to all that trouble on my account, and I was truly overwhelmed by it. He waved it away and said it had cost little but his time… but I can’t tell you how much it meant to me… how much that box still means to me. It is probably one of the most treasured things I own, and most certainly, receiving it, is one of my fondest memories.
And now I have another friend, who is sharing their time and talents with me in an unexpected and uncommonly generous way…… and I want to thank him… and I don’t know how to …. yet. 🙂