Television is the final resting place of the terminally bored. Shrouded in a bathrobe, one lies on the sofa, listening to cerebral cells die. Kuwait’s English Channel Two is sometimes quite educational, however. Today, during a programme called ‘How It Is Made’, I learned how to make what the Americans call ‘particle board’ and the English ‘chipboard’ which, as the programme told me helpfully, is a cheap alternative to natural wood and how it is turned into furniture. It was a tutorial in how IKEA production lines work, from the moment the tree is sacrificed to the moment the final product arrives in-store.
There was then a little potted history of ice-skating, and I learned that ice skates were used as early as 200CE. Fascinating. Furthermore, there are 145 separate pieces in a modern ice-skate and I now know how to make one, including alignment and balance, where the white plastic insole goes and why the sole of the boot is sanded for good adhesion. It’s riveting stuff. We then had a little intermission while the mullah reminded us all that it was prayer-time, just before the really interesting part when we got to find out how the blade was attached to the carbon composite sole.
I wonder why I didn’t turn over. Channel-hopping, I chanced upon Channel Two right in the middle of a detailed tutorial on industrial winemaking. It included how much yeast to use, how the grapes should be prepared and crushed, the fermentation temperature (17 degrees Celsius for white, 30 degrees for red), how long the fermentation process takes and how to remove particulate matter on completion. I learned how to test for sugar during the process, how to use a hygrometer to check for alcohol content plus the expected range, the benefits of corking and why green bottles are normally used.