Sunday, 11 March 2012


The sculptural object above, not the Co-Op matchbox, is already something of an antique. It was found some fortyfive years ago serving as a doorstop in one of the Harefield Cottages, 'The Buildings', at Lympstone and it is anyone's guess how many years it is since it was last in use.

It is one half of a mould for making the leads that were commonly used to sink mackerel lines. It is handmade from local stone and there is one hole to pour in the lead and another to let out the air and the gases. There is a tiny nick at the other end of the torpedo through which a copper wire could be passed to make fastenings. It was, no doubt, used by generations of Estuary fishermen who went 'out over' to take mackerel.

It speaks of the canny independence of the Estuary fisherman . The artisan who fashioned it did so with great care and the many, it was surely passed from neighbour to neighbour, users of it were not men to go to unnecessary expense. In addition it is a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.

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