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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Parable of the Jigger’s Brick

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (from where we are now), two brothers sat around a campfire discussing souvenirs for ‘The Jigger’. The Jigger (thus named for his ‘jigging’ on the willoughby – a piece of sapphire fossicking equipment) and his wife had already left the Field of Gems for the greener pastures of home and dust free environment of work. His wife had a particular fondness for the clay slurry in the bottom of the willoughby, thinking it would make the perfect mud bricks for a pizza oven… and an idea was born.

The brothers carefully filled a sieve with the clay, patted it in firmly and left it to dry. Once dry enough to turn out of the sieve a motif was designed, complete with letters formed with small pieces of ironstone (the bane of fossickers).

After much discussion as to the necessary temperature for firing a jigger’s brick, a bed of coals was prepared in the campfire, the brick (sitting on a stiff mesh) was buried, and the all important final stage began. By morning the coals had turned to ash, and the brick was removed to cool completely.

At various times during the day passersby gently blew or brushed some of the ash off. A few pieces of ironstone were dislodged, but carefully replaced to be later glued in place. The Jigger’s Brick. A perfect gift for the Jigger and his clay-loving wife.

Transport home… in the trailer with the camping gear was definitely not a good option, lest it return to the dust from whence came. In a plastic bag in the car… should be easy, right? Unfortunately…

With plastic bag in one hand a brother picked up the brick to safely wrap it for travel. It cracked – not into a multitude of small pieces, but into enough to make it unsalvageable. The immediate verdict? Next year it will contain some chicken wire for reinforcing.

The brick looked great from the outside, and had even been through a strengthening process, but without the inner strength of a different form it was unable to sustain the simple pressures of life.