Saturday, January 14, 2012
SCRIBBLING ON A WINTER'S DAY
This time my present to you, dear readers, is more of a
‘blogette’ than a real, fully grown blog.
This is because Grandma is really and seriously UNPLUGGED today. The damp, or the weevils, maybe just the post-holiday blues have invaded my computer and rendered it hors de combat as they say.
Now, if you live in Corfu you will know that your friendly computer technician will often tell you to unplug it and then plug it in again and – hey! Guess what? That advice works surprisingly often. It works for other electrical and electronic appliances too, but in this case the advice was non-productive, and I am bereft, computerless, well and truly unplugged.
Luckily I have access to another one but it has a black keyboard and I am not a touch-typist so it is rather like typing under the bedclothes or down an old coal mine.
You might advise me to be patient and wait for the computer to (one hopes) make a re-appearance, but I am as addicted to writing as anyone else might be to nicotine or cocaine or Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, so that’s a waste of your breath.
I had some interesting ideas for the next blog, but they are still in that sick computer, so I hope you don’t mind a few random scribblings.
All the best people do it, after all.
The word ‘scribbling’ comes from the Latin scrivere meaning, of course, to write, and it actually means to write in a hurried and illegible way. A fair description of what my own handwriting has become over the years and why I depend on my computer now. (Before anyone accuses me of sounding like Mr Portokalis in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ I will move on.)
Yes I know he isn't a real scribe but he is so much better looking than the real thing
We get the word ‘scribe’ from the same Latin source, and somehow thinking about scribes always makes me think of Ancient Egypt and that thought brings me very nicely to Joanna Lumley’s TV search for the source of the River Nile.
I watched the whole 4-part series last night and was enthralled. It left me with a sense of the unthinkable size and diversity of Africa, as nothing else I have ever seen has done, except perhaps for the film ‘Óut of Africa’ and the scenes of Robert Redford flying a small aircraft over the veldt – well, you know what I mean.
I know a lot of people who watched Joanna’s Nile adventures will remember it chiefly for her comment about an immense rhino fart and for her rather unexpected insistence on the fact that rhino horn does not work as an aphrodisiac – but if such trivia save even one rhino from poachers, then I am all in favour.. But seriously. I wonder, does the sound of a rhino fart in the immensity of Africa have the same impact as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in a South American jungle? Could it be the cause of climate change?
You may think I am being facetious, but there has been a lot of very learned discussion on this topic. If you are unfamiliar with this theory about butterflies and chain reactions, Google it; it makes fascinating reading. Quote "I was reading in the paper the other day that the beating of a butterfly's wings in a South American jungle can cause a hurricane thousands of miles away"
Incidentally, you might think that there is little a two-ton rhino and a fragile blue butterfly could have in common, but we have to remember that both have been hunted to the brink of extinction by Man for reasons not unconnected with sex. In Victorian times, the glorious blue butterflies of the Amazonian jungle were ruthlessly captured and killed and their delicate, shimmering wings taken to Britain to be used in the creation of jewellery and small trinkets beloved of women - an ideal gift from a hopeful suitor. Thanks to Joanna, we all know now, if we didn't before, that rhino horn is believed to increase male potency.
Let’s go back for a moment to another interesting theory – the one I mentioned earlier about dealing with a reluctant computer (or DVD player, or toaster even) by unplugging it and plugging it in again.
As everyone knows, strange things happen in Corfu. (It has always had very strong connections with magic, myth and the occult). When you live in Corfu, nothing should ever surprise you. Locals and experienced foreign residents deal with Corfu blips by shrugging their shoulders. There is not much else you can do.
However, some years ago I did see a Corfiot electronician (as I think they should be called) quite taken aback. It was in the days of telex machines (remember them?) and I had just re-opened my office out at Nissaki after a long damp winter. It was not really a surprise to find all our files eaten by rats or dissolved by flood water, but we had carefully put the telex machine away and it was something of a shock to find it didn’t work when we plugged it in. The bills had been paid, the phone worked, so what was wrong with the telex? An OTE techie came to investigate and started to take the machine to bits. Suddenly he sprang back, swore and said: ‘You should have called a vet, not me!’
Curled up inside the telex machine was an entire family of geckoes!
Before I close, I would just like to say how much I appreciate all the kind comments that you have left about this blog. You have given me the blessing of your encouragement and interest.
Just a small request – many comments appear as Ánonymous’ and while I respect the wish for anonymity that some of you may prefer, I would love to know who you are! So please add your name to the end of your message.
Till the next time!