Ben has a feel for wood. If it had been left up to me, it’s quite possible that the first I would have known about our wood rotting would have been when something fell down. But Ben has been going round the window frames, door frames and pillars and posts on our terrace, sticking his nail into things and muttering to himself, for some time now. Now that I’m sanding and preparing the frames, I am beginning to understand what he means. Some of the wood, where it is most exposed, has been weathered to a soft, dry texture, which turns into ‘kapok’ when I use the rough sandpaper on it. Other parts of the same frames, which are more protected from the elements, remain tough and strong. We aren’t crazy about this wood colour, by the way, but we can’t really change such a large detail on our house without more time and money than we currently have! So, I am beginning to get a feel for wood, and today I felt for some of the more battered pieces as if they had character of their own.
Ben doesn’t have a feel for everything, of course. There was the famous occasion, early on in our marriage, where he couldn’t work out why that washing setting had turned my new bras grey! He has also asked recently why I can’t keep my fabric stash in the shed…
But he and I share a feel for cooking, and eating, and also for plants. I can track the development of my own feeling for house plants. I killed a number through sheer ignorance and neglect at university, and I can remember a time when the boys were little when I could see that the house plants needed me but I just didn’t have emotional strength to do anything for them. Now I’m lucky enough to have time and energy to pay attention to them. What do you have a ‘feel’ for?
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