Dulltown, UK/Europe: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word univalve.
I’m not sure if I have a favourite Dulltown cafe; I generally spread myself out, but not in a quantum way of course, between four or five of them just as the mood takes me. Yesterday I was in the cafe in Waterstones bookshop in the town centre – they don’t do a green tea that is drinkable, but they do have Yorkshire Tea, and very nice sourdough bread cheese and onion toasted sandwiches. Here’s a photo I took in there; it’s not a very interesting picture is it?
That’s my keep-the-summer-sun-of-my-head hat by the way – it’s a Genuine Panama from Christies’ of London. I didn’t buy it, I was given it one hot day by the kindly householders when I was doing some outdoor woodwork for them, I was erecting copious amounts of trellis (isn’t ‘trellis’ a great sounding word?). That was back when I used to scrape along financially doing such mundane practical things. But, dear reader, this piece isn’t going to be about my hat, or even the erection of trellis for that matter, but yes, it does touch on the subject of woodwork.
That vertical board at the back of the cafe table is there to support a shelf, out of shot above, with some books on it – also there is a downlighter to illuminate the table fastened to the shelf’s under side. Ah, but what those three eye-catching horizontal slots cut into the plywood are, I have no idea; but I expect they are ‘decorative’ – which actually, I think is a good thing!
Since that bloody dreary Bauhaus movement many many years ago, people and companies, seem to be mortally afraid of adding anything decorative to their buildings or interiors – anyway, frivolities like that always add to the cost of the project – ‘plain and cheap’ has been the trend since then, and people seem to accept it and have been persuaded to think that blankness is really ‘cool’ and ‘stylish’.
Anyway… being a lifelong woodworking sort of chap, and spotting these decorative slots, my mind drifted to considering how these had been cut – obviously the people in the workshop used some sort of router set-up, but then I wondered if, after the slots had been routed out they bothered to sandpaper and smooth the inside edges of them, and especially those inside the rounded ends. If I’d been making these things I would have sanded the insides – especially after the thing had had a couple of coats of varnish applied. When varnish dries on wood it ‘raises the grain’, not so much on a flat surface, but particularly on the exposed end grain of the wood.
I’m sure any decent woodworker sitting at one of these tables, tucking into a beverage and a few buns, would sooner or later glance at these slots, and would possibly be curious – they’d feel the urge to reach out, extend a forefinger, and feel the inside surfaces of the slots to see how smooth they were. Yes, and that’s what I did yesterday.
‘Oh dear!…’ I said to myself, ‘They’re as rough as bear’s arse!’ – as my woodworking pal Dave would put it.
But that’s the sort of craftsmanship one should expect these days – making a ‘nice job’ of something just isn’t worth that little bit of extra time and money…