First, I think you should know that we finally managed to find and buy a pirate ship door on ebay. You know the kind - galleon in full sail speeding across the etched glass waves, very delightfully piratey. It's fractionally too wide for the doorway, but this is the merest detail and will be easily rectified with one or more of the 1,649 tools I have recently purchased from Bunnings.
What is it like not to go to Bunnings every day. It would mean missing out on conversations like this:
Laura: I would like to buy a cat door, please, which aisle are they kept in?
Bunnings chap: Heh, heh! Heh! Cat door! Special door for cats! How many cats do you have? Three? Four? Ten? Probably got heaps!
L: Just the one, why do you ask?
Bc: (points to very small obviously handpainted porcelain badge pinned over L's bosom)I was wondering if that was a photo of your cat.
L: no, ha, no. It's not a photograph.
Bc: What about the one on your tshirt, is that one yours? The one that's smoking a cigarette.
Bc:What don't you have a photo of it? Aisle eleven.
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Or this one:
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Different Bunnings chap in a Different Bunnings: "Zulu Plain" - what sort of a name for a paint colour is that eh?
Laura: I was thinking myself it was a bit strange. It's whiter than I am. [N.B. it's kind of buff, alas.] I actually was wondering if it mightn't be a little bit - racist?
DBciaDB: (drops paint-can-sealing hammer on bench, takes two steps backwards, raises both hands) whoah there Sallyanne! Hang on a mo! I'm not getting into that and I'm not going there oooh nooo.
L: Oh, no, I don't mean - well, it is sort of a brown...
DBciaDB: Shhh. Shhhh! Shush now. They just mean like the ground in Africa. Where Zulus stand there, on the plain. Not like racist. Nah (shakes head disappointedly) And Zulus aren't brown, anyway, they're black.
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Even the conversations one only listens to are pleasant and instructive. I was paying for something at a checkout staffed by a tall young woman with abundant luxuriant burnished hair and breasts (and next to her was an older shorter woman also with yellow hair and boobs on display, but slightly less pneumatic.) A third Bunnings lady (shorter still, round, mousy, specs) walked out of the store, cheerfully calling out as she went:
"Bye, have a happy easter and don't eat too much chocolate!"
This greeting wasn't returned, instead the ladies rolled their eyes and smirked at one another. Mademoiselle said to Madame: "Is she even married?" Madame smirked broader and played with a lock of hair. Just then a man who was buying a ruler from Madame piped up: "Looks like she should eat less chocolate herself."
Smirks disappeared and the physiognomic shutters descended. The customer crossed a line there. In fact, he was a knob. But they were being knobettes, and they started it too.
You know the ads for Bunnings which feature narcotically glazed actors pretending to be employees giddily delighted to find themselves members of a brainwashed cult (saying things like, "I love working here because it's so amazing, like a dream come true, helping people build their dreams, every day I tell them where to find the gas bottles and they weep tears of gratitude, mate, nothing beats the satisfaction I get from that, every day, mate")? Those ads, they make me sick, sick, sick, they represent the very worst sort of corporate colonisation of the underling's mental privacy, and nothing would make me happier than to be able to report that in reality Bunnings staff are surly, taciturn, disgruntled and resentful. But I have to acknowledge that in both of the two different Bunningses I patronise, the people wandering about really seem happy, like they *do* want to help you find the vinyl adhesive or a box of wood screws with flat gunmetal heads or a 4mm adjustable shelf support.
Coles have this thoroughly objectionable branding which is all about Love. You'll Indiscriminatingly Love some bit of Coles merchandise, according to them. You'll Love Coles Diet Tonic Water, Soy Drink, Canned Roma Tomatoes, Cotton Wool, Unbleached Toilet Paper, everything. No longer will they be satisfied with us merely buying their stuff, now they also insist we must spend hours obsessively picturing ourselves alone with it, imagining how it would feel to caress it with our fingers, carry about photographs of it, stuff it's touched etc. This is all highly offensive. Along with everyone else in the world I was panic buying food on the day before Good Friday (You'll Love Good Friday, Because Coles is Shut) and I saw the checkout staff all had little paper tags pinned under their name badges, the tags read "I LOVE EASTER". I asked Rachel if she really did love Easter. She said she didn't.
I know you have only read this far because you want to know what Basil's been doing. Well, all right, a couple of nights ago I came upon him en couchant on the kitchen floor licking a piece of raw cauliflower. It must have been Coles cauliflower because he was licking it passionately, tenderly, sensually in a way that reminded me of Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy. Of course I took it away from him immediately. Other than the incident with the cauliflower he's been asleep.