Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Fifth anniversary: Time for some maintenance

Showing the before and after scrubbing the bench with wire wool.
Contrast between the scrubbed wood
and the yet to be done slats.
The bench has been in place for just over five years now. I've given it a few scrubs with yard brushes and soap and water but this time I decided to do some proper maintenance.

I bought a large packet of coarse wire wool and some linseed oil.

Possessions versus Experiences

It took me about 6 hours to scrub and oil the bench! As I was doing it I had unlovely thoughts about how buying and owning stuff makes us slaves to them. There are more people with similar thoughts here and here.

The inspiration for buying this bench was to enable myself and others to have better experiences, sitting, staring and enjoying the view and having contemplative thoughts.

Maybe I should have just bought a water proof rug and carried it around with me and left a laminated note advising others to do that. After all what did Buddha sit on under his Bodhi Tree?

Starting the oiling of the bench.
Just starting to apply the oil.
Perhaps I should have used a larger brush

The Maintenance

It was a lot harder to scrub than I thought.

Some parts cleaned easily. The back of the upgright panels were covered in a dry green mold that rubbed off quickly in a big cloud of mold. I kept upwind of this.

The rest of the bench - especially the seating slats - seemed to have lichen-like patches of dull green or grey that were very hard to remove. Lots of scrubbing!

And I had forgotten to buy a proper brush, just using a child's water colouring brush, only about 2cm across. So the application of the linseed oil was very accurate, but a little slow.

The finished thing

And here is the cleaned, scrubbed and newly oiled bench.

I am glad I did it now - despite the grouching earlier - I noticed that some of the thicker timbers had developed cracks that were only going to get worse. Also the recesses of the carved lettering was particularly thick with lichen.

Later in the year, when the oil has dried properly I will apply some mold killer to the hidden parts of the bench. I hope that will prevent some of the mold and lichen re-growth.

Newly oiled bench

Monday, 31 July 2017

A quick cuppa before the rain showers

Taking the table, tea tray and the necessary dog for tea on the bench.
Had a cup of tea of the bench today with my daughter and my mother. It's now five years since I unveiled it for my 50th birthday.

It was a lovely day for it, lots of sunshine and clouds and the occasional rain shower. We thought we had timed it well, but a shower came after 15 minutes.

I have realised that I have sited the bench so that it is always in shade except for very late in the evenings or during the winter. This suits me fine. I prefer a shady place to have a little sit down in the summer.

I intend to give the bench a good clean and scrub and then to spruce it up with some linseed oil I bought recently.

The view of the rainshower coming
towards us from the hills north of Alton.

Tea time at the bench.