Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Scagliola test number 99 (the original is the bit on the left). Conclusions: The colour is still wrong, the chips are a micron or two too large and the proportion of black ones is a fraction too great. This is a real drag, because I have already mixed them with the white, so I will have to make some more white ones. At least the mix is now polishable, thanks to the addition of Rabbit Size.
"Rabbit's eyes?" asks a horrified vegetarian friend.
"No. Rabbit glue". "Rabbit-poo?"
I give up.
The 'silly-season' is almost over, so there is a final flurry of incredible stories in the news to sell a few more papers before we get back to the boring, post-Olympic business of running the country, and the fact-checkers get back to the office after a long holiday.
That Essex lion turned out to be a ginger tabby-cat and, yesterday evening, a massive meteor (the size of a golf-ball) exploded over Wales, waking up a baby and rattling a few of the china ornaments that the Welsh are so fond of dusting on their mantle-pieces. In other news, New Orleans braces itself for a test of it's levy defences - again - as a hurricane hurtles toward it on the exact 7th anniversary of Katrina.
Can it really be 7 years? When Katrina hit, we were in Siena, Italy, watching a load of people dressed in medieval clothing, chucking flags into the air and catching them again. At least if the levies break this time, Obama is not likely to sit on his hands and do nothing for three weeks as hundreds of black people drown, starve and loot in a distant part of his own country.
Some years ago, we watched the progress of a huge hurricane on satellite TV from the safety of the National Hotel, Havana, as it tore up parts of Southern Texas and headed toward us in Cuba.
I say 'us', but in reality, it was 'them', and by 'them' I mean the Cubans down there in the street below our hotel room, walking around in T-shirts as if the rain and wind was not blowing at about 80 miles per hour and the palm trees were not threatening to uproot and take them away.
The hurricane veered away from us at the last moment, so I cannot imagine what it would have been like to receive the full force, especially if you were cowering in a crumbling, old Colonial building, set right on the sea-front.
The specialist shop where I buy most of the ingredients for the Scagliola was built in another dimension from the three that we have become accustomed to here on Earth. It is a shape-shifter, and exists on the margins of reality, rather like Wand Shop in Diagon Alley.
Rather like the Wand Shop, it's stock chooses the buyer, rather than the other way round as in most shops. I suppose this is only to be expected of a place which sells all you need to buy for a technique so mysterious and arcane as Scagliola, but setting out with your shopping list can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience.
I have given up trying to find it after driving around a one square-mile area more times than I have actually stepped over it's threshold, and yesterday was yet another time when I turned around and headed back for home.
Considering 'home' is only about 5 miles from the shop, and that my sense of direction was good enough to have never lost a hot-air balloon in about two years of retrieval, you will begin to believe me when I describe the shop as mysterious, to say the least.
I will set out again today, but this time in a more receptive state of mind. I'll get there - one way or another.