It's all about what, at work, we call "learning by doing". A few weeks ago Kate and I learned how to paint a wall without getting paint on the skirting board, and a skirting board without getting paint on a wall, how to repair cracks in plasterwork, and the difference between primer and undercoat. We also learned, after some trial and error, which paints are soluble in white spirit, and which ones are soluble in meths. It's easier if you just read the side of the tin.
This week we learned that palms need to be planted in plenty of gravel, that olive trees like bonemeal and seaweed extract (which is odd, because I've never seen an olive tree on a beach), that it is possible to get the council to turn the water off but they aren't interested in talking to us, only the plumber (and the plumber isn't keen on talking to them because dealing with the council is ... difficult) and that Morrisey considers "For your pleasure" by Roxy Music the one great British Album. We've also learned how to take bamboo cuttings.
The main question now, is do we paint the spare room like this, this or this? The futon is sort of this colour which is informing our decision. I feel magnolia is a little too timid.