“‘There’s no end to this tunnel,”‘ said Peter; ‘everything has an end, and you get to it if you only keep all on.’ Which is quite true, if you come to think of it, and a useful thing to remember in seasons of trouble – such as measles, arithmetic, impositions, and those times when you are in disgrace, and feel as though no one would ever love you again, and you could never – never again – love anybody.”
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
Having spent a glorious, somewhat truncated 3 and 3/4 months in in the beloved country, we sadly had to make a dash for the border on Friday.
BBC News had been ‘ranting’, for a few weeks, about the 77 cases (now 113) of South African COVID variant found in the UK. And then, about a week ago, the rant took an ugly turn. Suddenly there was talk of hotel quarantines, Biden closed US borders to South Africans, Emirates followed suit, KLM and Lufhansa also freaked out – and so did Hubby.
So we planned our escape via Doha on Qatar Airlines.
“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.” “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be: but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol
What a crazy just-over-a-week we’ve had!
Hubby and I went to the DRC (République démocratique du Congo) on business last week. We travelled there to attend a vessel christening ceremony for a Belgian-owned dredger based in Argentina, which we sold to the DRC. It’s been a long, difficult 3 year deal which I’ve alluded to in previous blogs. But, PRAISE GOD, it’s now sold and we’ve earned our commission. This is no small thing to celebrate.
The DRC is a country alive with colour, bustle, people, bananas, pot holes, palm trees and the big, beautiful Congo River running all the way through it.
It is also, as it transpires, heaving with COVID-19 – but that’s another story.
“It was two o’clock in the afternoon – impossible to see anything without a light. Villagers with lanterns were busy on the ice: great icebergs drifting near the coast were now imprisoned by the freeze; using an ice knife (a sort of chisel with a long wooden handle), they broke off big lumps which they loaded on their sledges to be melted down at home for drinking water.”
An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
6 weeks we have been in South Africa now.
Trying to work here remotely, has been a fight against the odds, but I think we are winning.
I have been reading Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s amazing journey from Togo to Greenland in the 1960’s and his account of living with the Eskimos, enduring the polar nights, melting icebergs for water and battling the elements.
Our battle, though different of course, has also been rather dramatic.
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
“The inescapable fact is that the brain is an unnerving place as well as a marvellous one. There seems to be an almost limitless number of curious or bizarre syndromes and conditions. Anton-Babinski syndrome, for instance, is a condition in which people are blind but refuse to believe it. Capgras syndrome is a condition in which sufferers become convinced that those they know well are imposters. Perhaps the most bizarre of all is Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes he is dead and cannot be convinced otherwise.”
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
No, it’s not an ABBA song and no I’m not Martin Luther King Jr … still … I had a dream. How are you at dream interpretation?
One night in December 2019…
My dream started with me standing at one of 3 turnstiles in a dilapidated building.
People came and went through the turnstiles on either side of me. I watched as a woman walked up to the turnstile on my left, picked up a rock and used it to ‘buzz’ herself through. She replaced it neatly on the opposite side for someone, leaving the building, to use on their way out. Similarly, a man walked up to the turnstile on my right, picked up a slightly different object (a fossil or a large shell?) and did the same.
“There was an old lady who swallowed a cow;
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a horse;
…She’s dead, of course!”
“I’m going to buy buns for tea,” said Peter. “I thought you were all so poor,” said the Station Master. “So we are,” said Peter, confidentially, “but we always have three pennyworth of halfpennies for tea whenever Mother sells a story or a poem or anything.”
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Last weekend we took our first road trip of the year – to visit my family in Kingston-upon-Hull (our 13-year-old-niece informed us that only a ‘southerner’ would call Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull – locals call it ‘ull.)
It was wonderful to see our nieces who have all grown up and changed considerably since we saw them last at Christmas. Even the littlest one has progressed from terror to just tenacious. And I’m pleased to report that my little northern family has flourished over the COVID lockdown. For all sorts of reasons it’s been good for them as a family and of course it’s been a long hot summer for the girls, and conducive to good veggie-growing on their allotment.
“It was a foggy, cloudy morning, and a dun-coloured veil hung over the house-tops, looking like the reflection of the mud-coloured streets beneath. My companion was in the best of spirits, and prattled away about Cremona fiddles, and the difference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. As for myself, I was silent, for the dull weather and the melancholy business upon which we were engaged, depressed my spirits.”
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
A couple of weeks ago, we sat on our terrace having a socially-distanced drink with a friend.
“Summer in England sometimes feels a little bit like living inside a Tupperware,” he said. “Days and days of muggy greyness, the air thick and still. Then all of a sudden a bit of sun peaks in, as though someone has briefly opened the Tupperware lid.” Continue reading Old Blighty
It was dark and warm inside the high ceilinged church. Hubby and I stood together. Up front, on a large screen, a worship band video played with the lyrics displayed on the side. Continue reading A bit of perspective