Sunday, June 10, 2007

Distressed by my ignorance

McCall Smith has a lot of fun with the clothes one of his characters wears in the latest book in the 44 Scotland St series. (The book is called Love Over Scotland.) In particular he talks a lot about a sweater in some colour called 'distressed oatmeal', and in general the other characters think it's not only passe but does nothing for the character who wears it.
I'd never heard of distressed oatmeal as a colour until I read this book and assumed McCall Smith was playing with words. However, I've just discovered that distressed mahogany is quite a normal description for a certain kind of table finish, including poker tables (which is where I saw the description first). I don't normally have any great need to be investigating sites where they sell poker tables, but was struck by the coincidence. Even looking at the pictures of the tables I don't really have much idea what the 'distressed' part of the finish is, and asking Google, 'what is distressed mahogony' turned out not to be helpful. Usually descriptions of tables are fairly obvious, more so than the colours of clothing, in fact, but this one has got me beat. Maybe there's someone out there who can help!
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