Relics for sale (not)

Televisual gardener Alan Titchmarsh has emerged from his potting shed to help sell Biros made from lumps of old wood found on the sea-bed where once the shipwreck of the Mary Rose lay.

The idea is to raise money to build another, much-bigger kind of shed in which to install the remains of Henry VIII’s salvaged warship.

But with the contemporary sensitivities which surround the artefacts of yesteryear, the Mary Rose Trust, which is selling the £250 pens is careful to state that although they have been made from oak, beech, elm, boxwood and poplar timber, ‘the wood is not believed to be from the ship or any of her artefacts.’

Which is a bit like selling triangular money-boxes made from stone, rock, and bricks found at Giza, but which are not believed to have come from the pyramids. Or paperweights which are made from bits of old rubble collected in and around the Parthenon, which are not believed to be from the Acropolis.

Surely if these chunks of old lumber, which are marked MR, AREN’T from the Mary Rose why would anyone want to shell out £250 for a piece, even though as Deputy Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, Robert Lapraik, says:’We hope people will take this opportunity to buy a truly unique Christmas gift for a loved one and help the Mary Rose secure her rightful place in British heritage.’

If the wormy old timbers are not from the Mary Rose then they are not unique, surely?

I might as well start dragging shopping trollies out of the ooze in Bugsby’s Reach, paint them black and mark them GB and sell them as chunks of metal found near the site that the SS Great Britain was fitted out, ‘but which are not believed to be part of Brunel’s large vessel’.