Monday, April 26, 2004

I have spam with a social life. In hotmail the title of one junk email was "do you have what it takes?" and the next one down had a title of "yes I do". It's nice to know the spam [1] are making themselves at home, and quietly talking amongst themselves.

[1] Hmm, is the pural of spam spam? A bit like sheep and fish. I suppose as it derives from spam the luncheon meat, which you can't really have a spam (like one could have a ham or a leg of lamb), as it's an endless homogenous product, you just have spam. So if you have a lot of spam, you don't have spams, you simply have more spam.

Checking out, and none of the listings give the plural for spam. The only one to use "spams" uses it as a verb (he spams, she spams).

Oooh, it's like having scabs. Except they're green. I'm still trying to pick the bits of paint of me after yesterday's garden furniture incident. Which isn't as interesting as it sounds. It consists of buying a kit to make up a pub-style picnic bench (but a cheap one, so it's much less sturdy than a pub one), and then buying some woodstain to protect the wood (which after much wrangling we got - I wouldn't have chosen that colour, but it was better than some of the other options).

So we go back to the house. Tarpaulin down, newspaper as well, and we decide to start. And then remembering the barbecue incident (it involved taking a half made barbecue back to Homebase as the other half was missing, and cobbling one together out of two sets [strangely they didn't mark the one pilfered for spares as incomplete]). So I sat and checked all the bits were there. Which they were, sort of (in a "the 4cm screws are half the length of the 6cm screws" way). By the way, wood-screws can be sharp. You'd think I would have learnt that by the time I'd counted out 40 of them.

So everything is there. So I stick all the little bits of metal back in the box, and decide to start painting the wood before it's put together. And then realise that the combination of lawn, folded tarpaulin and layers of newspaper would envelope anything you put down to dry, and so every bit of wood would have someone's obituary stuck to it. So that means I have to find something to prop things up on. The bits of wood themselves are too shallow to hold others up. In the end I raid the greenhouse, and set up a couple of benches using flowerpots as legs, and the crossbars of the table across the top. And then between these I can put the drying bits of wood.

So I open the tin. It's not the same colour as the patch on the outside. The outside is yellowy green (apparently Willow, but as the same brand's Sage looked like Spruce, I think they make it up as they go along), and the content is much paler and greyer.

I start painting, and it is like paint rather than stain. I also remember the last time I painted I used my hands in places. Admittedly I was visiting a friend in Oxford, and somehow got roped into repainting one of the housemate's rooms [2]. Which was quite a lilac-fest as she'd bought a big tub of paint cheap, and so was repainting the furniture. When she realised she didn't want all the walls purple as well, she got everyone to put hand prints on them instead. So of course plain handprints evolved into footprints, and those mini footprints you can make with your fist and a finger. It actually didn't look that bad in the end - although I never heard what the landlord made of it.

The last time I painted before that, I got told off for painting the light-switch. I dropped paint on it, and was trying to get it off with the paintbrush when someone walked in.

[2] Eek! Where does the apostrophe go in that? Hmm, it probably should be "one of the housemates' room", but not having the 's' on the end of 'room' sounds strange with 'one of...'. Anyway, the room of one of the housemates of my friend. (MS Word cannot figure it out either).

So, I start painting. Pine is very absorbent wood. You paint, and seconds later the yellow streaks reappear, as the paint disappears through the xylem. It dries quite quickly though, but I'm guessing the summery sun helped. And fortunately, wearing shorts because it's summery, and having bear feet for the same reason, meant I didn't have to spend yesterday trying for get paint out of clothes and shoes. But it does mean I have patches of what looks like verdegris on me (should be interesting when I go swimming). Either that or I've been standing still long enough that I'm being enveloped by lichen (but not quite on the same scale as that Radiohead video).

Anyway, so paint stuff, and find that I haven't done the crossbars, which are underneath the drying bits of wood. So taking the driest bits, I insert them underneath, lift one next one of the cross bars, take out the cross bar, rotate the painted bit underneath the others (as sliding would mean the other trestle would fall over), and lower gently on top of the flowerpots. Except the further one skitters out of the way. Oh, um, can someone help me? Contingency planning hadn't quite entered into my thoughts. But fortunately a little help was available. And then repeat (except the escaped pot) at the other end.

As I start on the remaining bits of wood, there's something that feels like rain. I would not be happy if it decided to, especially as that would mean a large delay in getting the bench painted and together, and there's a lot of washing out, and I've got paint on my hands. Happily the weather knows me, and wisely decides incurring my wrath is not really a Sunday afternoon activity.

So I paint, and paint and paint, and repaint, and touch up, and realise my legs are going numb and my back hurts. Alternating between siting cross-legged and kneeling is not a good idea if you haven't really done that since primary school.

So I pack up what I can, leaving the wood outside, and go and eat (bolgonaise made according to the ancient jar of Sainsbury's own brand sauce, that tastes exactly like Jackpot Casserole, which was the name given by the caterers in Duryard [3] to a mix of leftovers reheated beneath a thick layer of all-disguising cheese. Strangely it often was the best option.

[3] Halls of Residence in Exeter. I was in Hetherington, which was the oldest and tattiest, and is rumoured to have been demolished, but that rumour went round every year, as the council commended them, but didn't what more students in the city, but neither did it want to approve planning permission for building anywhere else on campus [Catch 22?].

And then I discover that there's not really very much on television, so it must be summer.

And I've still got to put the thing together. I don't even know how the wood's turned out, as I haven't had a chance to check it yet.

To be continued...[oooh, it's not often I get to say that],


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