In the bright snow light, my hands looked even worse than usual, all ruddy and peeling from scouring the fat off cow gut with a pumice stone. When you live in Sydney, it's not the simplest thing in the world to get a meter of calf's intestine. [p.5]See, the calf's intestine is for using in the preparation of gold leaf - that is, if you're going to beat your own gold leaf the way a medieval bookbinder would have done it. Ah, well, conservation and archival work may not be the most glamorous undertaking I can think of, but I find it fascinating and always thought I'd missed my calling by not going into that field. But that bit about the cow gut is making me think I might not have been up to the task after all.
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