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Letter to America On:2021-06-24 12:50:00

(with Apologies to Alistair Cooke)

Well, here we are: Georgia, Buddy the dog and I, more-or-less settled in the more-or-less United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (though I suddenly wonder. Shouldn't that be 'more-or-less United Queendom' rather than Kingdom nowadays?—Perhaps there is an official gender for them to go with their personal one, like their official birthday to go with their personal one: I mean what do you give to the person who has several whole countries?).

Anyway, I say more-or-less settled because we are revamping the Ole Faymly Raynch—I mean 'Home', blimey I have been in Texas too long—bringing it up to date, up to code and up to the standards we'd like to become accustomed to, so I am now up to my neck in renovation. And me the guy who for years has claimed that he doesn't do hardware, only software.
And I have to admit that a career in software development has not really prepared me for it. Not even slightly.
Of course the skill-requiring, technical, structural, not to mention potentially lethal bits are being done by the professionals and by my cousin-in-law Bob, our DIY sensei?
And I'm left with the hypothetically 'easier' bits: painting. Painting is apparently somewhat messy (especially with me doing it) and has to be proceeded by the ritual torture of STRIPPING! This, in spite of its provocative title, does not involve hot, dancing ladies with poles, though it does involve heat: heat provided by a heat gun. A bloody hot heat gun for the removal of the paint put on by an earlier unfortunate who, judging by the thickness of the aforesaid paint, had the good sense not to! Apparently following the dictates of all his paint removal avoiding predecessors right back to the late 19th Century.
All this requires, in addition to the skill that I don't have, suitable attire which I also don't have, since most of my clothing is lurking in a box in a container on a container ship, itself lurking somewhere between a Port of Loading in Charleston South Carolina and a Port of Discharging in Essex, UK (leaving me essentially living out of a suitcase). This was a problem.
Even however-er the Ole-Faymly-Raynch-or-Home being what it is, there is a whole bunch of stuff that is just waiting to be accepted or rejected and ejected from various cupboards and other hidey-holes. so...
So, I found an old pair of lady's trousers (you can't say "pants" over here because, as with "vests" and "suspenders", it is much too confusing in terms of proximity to the skin) that actually fitted (sort of) at least round my waist, at least if I breathe in and don't mind looking a little purple in the face, so that's a problem more-or-less solved.
But then, then I tried to (if you'll excuse me being forthright) ZIP UP THE FRONT.
Oh the horror! The blinding flash of Revelation! The sudden realisation that:
Women are built the wrong way round!! They are the mirror image of me....Or OMG!! maybe I'M the mirror image? Oh! Oh! The very thought of me being the wrong way round!
...Though that would explain me being left handed, and anyway whichever is the right way round, whichever is the particle or the antiparticle, whichever was born on opposites day, it does explain absolutely everything about existence: from those trousers to most of my love-life to date, plus the fact that even though I am a leftie, the effort required in trying to zip up that wrong-way-round fly was so exhausting. I had to go and lie down for a bit, and not just because I was turning a little purple in the face.
Then lying there, whimpering slightly, I had and even blinding-er flash of New Improved Revelation when remembered how I had wanted to dress for the flight over here a hazmat suit, but spoil-sport Georgia wouldn't let me! So to make up for lost hazmat hazing opportunities I got one and, wearing only my pants under it, wore it to my extreme delight, moderate protection and noticeable sweatiness.
Well I have to arise and go now and do the remaining heat gunnery and a lot of sanding of now-or-soon-to-be naked wood and stuff followed by the traditional Removing of the Wallpaper from the next Room-to-be-Done, so, as they tend end letters over here,
Kindest regards,
Richard Howland-Bolton
and, of course,
Cheerio for now
from me.

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