Sunday 5 July 2015

From top to bottom, from bed to hilltop

I have not been posting often for a few reasons. My depression resurfaced for a while. Work became busier, and my ability to deal with that properly was impacted by the depression. I have also been working on a colossal project. When I work on large projects I have a great tendency to get them half done, then abandon them. Things are always more interesting in my head than they turn out to be in reality. I have also experienced that loss of interest in wargaming I had hitherto only read of, and regarded as inexplicable. So what you are about to see has dragged on since at least midway through May.

The one thing I do not blame is the weather. It has only recently taken a turn for the worse. The kitchen has an aga. Agas put out heat all the time. Heat rises. My bedroom is situated above the kitchen. Since many readers are American, I should explain that not only are traditional British houses not designed to be cool, nor do they have air conditioning. Even when I was thin, I burned hot, so to speak, and now I am fat, and my workspace is warmer still, lethargy is almost inevitable.

To business. I had slept for decades on the same mattress, a simple foam affair. For many months sleep was possible only in bursts of a few hours at a time, and waking up meant attempting to dislodge my shoulder from its odd desire to implant itself in my neck. I saved money. I bought a new mattress. The shoulder is less naughty now, though I suspect the only true solution is to lose a few stone (fourteen pounds to the stone, Americans. 454g to the pound, Metric-users). Some would suggest lying on my back, not my side, but I had to do that in 2011 after my appendix was removed, and I assure such attentive people that it is impractical advice. This left me with a piece of foam sufficient to cover a Kingsize bed.

On  its own, the foam is far too soft for any purposes. So I affixed it to a 4' by 2' by 18mm piece of chipboard, adding multiple layers, each about 5" thick, until I had a towering monstrosity, which I am only able to move with difficulty. It is not the weight, but the bulk and my desire not to bash it as I move it, that makes me concerned for its mobility. I tracked a marker across the beast to remind myself where to cut, then with Stanley knife and carving knife set to work. I applied a layer of papier-mâché to the foam, and allowed it to dry. I then hacked out a few more areas to make the surfaces less regular. I did this after applying the papery cover as it was - perversely - easier to cut through that and the foam rather than just the foam. I replaced the missing papery bits, then applied sand. There followed a layer of filler.

Then came a brown undercoat. I went over some missing areas a few days later, and I have just now applied two successively lighter drybrushes of creamy-brown and cream to the edifice. A lot of little things are still to come, but perhaps they may come more quickly if I write and post this now.

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