10 September 2023

things are not always what they seem

It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars, and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.

Douglas Adams

Last night we went to the open-air rooftop cinema and watched Oppenheimer, all three-and-a-thousand hours of it. There are three female characters in it, none of them likeable, all strongly displaying the bad and sad characteristics of my mother. I shrugged them off. In my opinion, the film could have been done without them in it. Also, there was a slightly tedious lengthy section in the middle with guys getting in and out of jeeps, hammering and undoing big nails from/on wooden boxes, putting on googles and taking them off as the music reached more and more dramatic levels and then, boom, the explosion and a bit of an action movie momentum. Who could have seen that coming? Me, seriously. But those were the days, scientists, career politicians, the survival of the world depending on some of them being good guys while their women took to drink and went downhill. We cycled home through the dark talking about the war in Ukraine and options and the nuclear threat and that mad man in Russia meeting the other mad one from North Korea so that by the time we got home, we were exhausted, mentally and also physically because earlier that day I had been power cleaning the patio and R had been picking most of the grapes and it was very hot, much hotter than we think September should be.

Also last weekend, we went hill walking. Here.


The hills weren't very high but beautiful nevertheless. We had a specific route in mind but somehow got lost because R said he trusts me (i.e. the walking app on my phone) and while he pointed out the the sun was in the south and west is this way, I mixed up east and west the way I usually do - same with left and right, don't ask, I have been living with this all my life - and we ended up crawling down a steep pathless slope through dense forest to find a proper path. Or rather, I crawled while R skipped ahead like a young stag, bless him. I should mention that I started a fight there and then but he refused to participate as usual. It is so frustrating at times. I had my arguments ready in my mind but all he could say was, shh, hear this? Look up, a hawk! (and yes, there was one, yeah!). We stuck to the forest and when we got out of it, found a pub, well, we knew it was there, and inquired about the cottage even deeper in the forest which we had heard about and decided to rent sometime in maybe January or so, for more walking and dark evenings away from civilisation, and R is getting very excited already.

Anyway, I am really good at reading actual maps.

The next day I spent most of the afternoon on a call to the pension hotline listening to four different songs on repeat and some unusual recorded pep talk (We are giving it all we got!  You are almost there! Hold out! Whoah, we are getting ready to take your call soon!) and remained moderately cheerful and polite with my list of questions when I actually got a live human on the line who cheerfully and politely sorted all some of my concerns, incl. me being able to take time out sometime maybe January or so to do hill walking and spend dark evenings in a cottage in the forest away from civilisation.




  1. I think I'll pass on Oppenheimer, I know how it ends. I'm glad you two will get away for some dark skies and peace and quiet. I'm starting to fill out the forms for my CPP and see how that goes. I need to be able to cover the mortgage and pay it down as quickly as possible. I'm looking forward to retirement.

  2. Besides being an ardent admirer of Douglas Adams, I admit to loving dolphins. I was planning to come back as a cat (if I should reincarnate) but, mmm, dolphins do have a lot of good times! Hope you get your time in the woods in January and enjoy the walks. Today I'm focusing on trees...and all the wood in my home environment. Just an awareness to share...

  3. I think it is probably common for people to confuse west and east and left and right. Have you ever used the forefinger and thumb thing to identify left from right? Hold up your hands. Extend thumbs and forefingers. The left hand will make an "L" while the right hand will make a backwards "L". The real L is on the left hand. You probably know this already.
    I think that the cottage sounds lovely.
    Your husband is wise but god, that must be frustrating.

  4. I'm with Pixie. I have no desire to see Oppenheimer, watch a bunch of insane men create a bomb that big and that destructive and then the US actually used it...twice. and then went on to create bigger and bigger bombs, enough to annihilate life on earth. I admit to being fascinated by the explosion and rising mushroom cloud though. such awesome power.

    as for taking time off in January for the remote cabin in the woods, won't you be retired by then?

    I love that quote by Doug Adams. seriously, the arrogance of humans.

  5. I love that Douglas Adams quote. I am a big fan of dolphins, We used to watch them in Monterey Bay. So often a pod of dolphins would swim by, leaping around and playing in the water. Such beautiful sea life, and one of my favorite mammals.
    I was so surprised to read about your time on hold on the phone and the songs and recording that they played. That crap happens here too. I didn't realize it probably happens everywhere. Take care there. I hope all goes well.

  6. Beautiful landscape. Forests are more intelligent than humans. They are good company.

  7. I have the same issue with left and right. I've trained myself to pick up my right arm (my dominant arm) and shake it until the word "right" comes to mind. At this point, it will come to me fairly quickly.

  8. Your dark evenings in a forest cottage sound like our planned dark evenings in a beach cottage in December! I love the sound of a winter getaway.

    I can handle left and right -- it's east and west that screw me up!

  9. All I have to say is that I love how you write....

  10. Too fast with the fingers! That last (anonymous) comment was me.

  11. I rather hoped you'd intellectualise your inability to distinguish right from left. Come up with some argument that proved it was advantageous to be like that. You know you could breeze through it if you felt inclined. A missed opportunity, then. East and west would be harder for you. Unlike us your Heimat doesn't have the goitrous bulge (ie, East Anglia) jutting out into the North Sea with a give-away name that certainly helps. I was almost on the verge of providing a mnemonic (East is Putin so East's bad) but then I realised the outcome would be the equivalent of my stepping into a cowpat. I mean this as a compliment; you aren't the mnemonic type. You can think yourself lucky you encountered Oppenheimer in movie form; the definitive biography is 700 pages long. I'm frequently foolish but not so much as to tell you whether I liked it or not. I could lend it you, of course. But that would probably seem like patronising. Gosh, isn't it difficult to get on with the human race.

  12. Oppenheimer has a terrible ending, which we all know so sitting through the film was akin to cringing for a few hours waiting for radioactive ash to land on us.

    In other news, I am lucky to live between two bodies of water and two mountain ranges with a high peak in the north (Baker) and a southern one (Rainier). Very easy to know which way to go. My father used to say go north on 81 which meant ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to me as there were no landmarks of any kind. It's a relief to live here. It is very easy to get lost in the woods, have done it more than once.