Sunday, October 26, 2008

DIY -- at your peril!

My first scrumptious mince-pie of the Christmas season (make that two, actually) in my tum and I'm just about ready to hit The Nap Zone - a critical time of day for me these days if I am to survive through an evening of dinner, some random television show(s) and my usual spot of pre-slumber reading!

This afternoon, B&Q was pumping! Their usual, weekly singular till-point was abuzz with uniformed cashiers whizzing away cash and credit cards from the lines and lines of waiting customers, all visibly itching to get back home to their DIY. Yes, 'tis the season to be merry, but also the season to be painting, stripping, sanding... Winter seems to be the time when the British are suddenly consumed by an unquenchable desire to redecorate - and so often incurring both decorating and first-aid disasters! High-powered tools zing and pound and churn through plaster and wood, and arms, legs and fingers... It reminds me of a fellow student at art school who took a university anglegrinder home with her to catch up on her lackadaisicality regarding our latest sculpture project: laminating layers of inch-thick Supawood into a grand, imposing block of it - and then carefully tearing into it with anglegrinders, saws and chisels that would look more at home in a butchery! A zol or three later, her laminated woodblock calling to her and she was ready to begin! With the anglegrinder tucked inbetween her thighs, she reached behind her to turn the machine on at the wall. ZZZZZZZWWWWWWWWWWWWWIIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The person who'd last used it had neglected to turn the actual anglegrinder off - and the monstrously sharp blades were churning and chunking ever deeper into the meat of her thighs! (She recounted this gorey tale, mascaraed lashes blinking through the acrid blue smoke of her cigarette, in a comically detached voice - lifting up her wide cotton Indian skirt to reveal two fat cotton pads taped to each thigh - oily Betadine seeping through the gauze...)

I didn't buy an anglegrinder at B&Q - my power-tool days are long over - but filled my basket with a slimmer, sharper steel paintscraper, some nastily cheap (and soon to be moulting) paintbrushes and a shockingly expensive tub of ultra-sophisticated paint stripper. 10quid as opposed to 5quid - but with needing to keep this baby inside me safe from fumes, 5quid was worth the extra expenditure! Paint stripper I've used in the past was lethal!! While you got high applying the stuff and waiting for the paint to bubble and ooze up from the wood beneath, you risked suffering searing chemical burns if some accidentally landed on your skin. THIS paint stripper is a thick gel which needs to be painted on in a 1mm thick layer - then left to dry overnight. (Great news for me - I can work super-duper fast in small sections at a time, then close the door behind me, having left the sash window wide open to breathe!) The layer of stripper absorbs the paint off from the wood into a crusty, crumbly layer which is easily scraped or brushed off. Voila! C'est trop facile, no?! But first, that nap I was going on about... zzzz...zzzzzzzzzzzz....

No comments: