CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 9 March 2006

I said screen, not scream

Notwithstanding that neither we the people, nor they the boffins have the foggiest idea what will happen next in the ongoing avian flu saga, I still maintain we have an "above average" risk, given that my cats have open access to two flocks of assorted free-range poultry, within 20 yards of the front door.

For that and a number of other reasons, my plan is to make (hopefully) cat-proof screens for the windows and doors of this house. Once the grapes begin forming on the vines in the backyard, I will have no option but to keep the moggies in anyway, because my poor old Mico is allergic and comes out in a really nasty skin rash. The latest reason is to keep the bugs out.

We've had so much rain here lately that it looked like the fields would turn into rice paddies. Finally, when the sun came out and the air was warm enough to open windows, the rising humidity brought in great plagues of tiny flies, like fruit flies, carrying out bombing raids on my head and hovering around the computer. I can't work with that going on.

But how hard can it be to nail a frame together and tack some netting on it?

Probably not very, once I get the materials. IF I ever manage to get the materials! Before I can do that though, I need to know what the standard wood sizes are, so I can select the appropriate size and do all my accurate measurements.

Three of the windows have the slight complication of "double glazing". Well, not as you'd know it, but this house has old, wooden windows with cute little shutters. Once those got old and warped and would no longer properly close, they didn't remove them, they just put new sliding aluminium windows on the outside of them.

So, whatever screen I make has to fit between the two and be easily moved to open and shut the outer window. Since only half of that can be open at any one time, I intend to make the screens to precisely fit the open half, so they can slide in the gap, but fit snugly into the open space, using the window catch to lock them in place. For that, they will need to be a pretty exact fit.

Since I don't do a fat lot of DIY now, all I have to go on is a casual remark that one of the guys at the hardware store made one day, that wood sizes come in "pulgadas", that is INCHES - those Imperial English things, which makes absolute zero sense in a metric European country, but so long as I know.

So, today, I made the grave mistake of phoning the hardware store to ask them what the standard sizes are. All I got back was a lot of waffle and the usual Canarian diatribe about, "Can't you come down here?" We'll, I'd rather not, really. They are standard sizes, for heaven's sake. You'd think ...

This is typical. Nothing can ever be done here by phone, email, fax or anything other than several time wasting visits. This is when I get frustrated with the local ways, enough to make me want to scream, but it is a system they refuse to let you buck. They better cut to size and deliver once I have my carefully laid plans ready. Or, do you think I am asking too much?

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