Monday, 20 July 2015

An example of how my mind strays (long)

- 'mounds of wheat and corn, and olives and oranges from the hill orchards, and complaining oxen and fat-tailed sheep.' 

We have wheat and corn here, but have to import olives and oranges. In fact so much is imported, our native grown diet would be entirely different from the one we usually have. Nettle omelettes, leek and broccoli soup, lamb with new potatoes, carrot, kohlrabi and bean salad, Scottish cheeses, Welsh something delicious, raspberry jam, wholemeal bread, I am now wondering if I could eat UK for a while to explore what comes along from around here, all in season. Edible flowers like nasturtium and borage. 

- '..February 1982, the time of the Muslim Brothers' uprising and of the government's response..' (Hama in Syria, 20,000-30,000 killed.)

So, can I remember anything of that at all? No, I was thinking of other things entirely, plus my first round of A levels. All completely natural. Always this parallel set of lives, my own and whichever one is presented in a book. 

When will North Korea come out of its misery? All my life that has been going on. I have one book by a man who escaped, but I haven't been brave enough to read beyond the introduction. 

I wonder about the many Uprisings and how fated they are to fail. Why not plan carefully from inside the system, be canny, wait, succeed slowly, develop processes which work reliably? Why be so foolhardy and wasteful of lives?

- 'They'd sent him a bearded, turbaned Egyptian to offer stale words and verses.' 

When my Grandfather was ill he had wanted communion in hospital, but had specifically requested a male priest. That deliberate dismissal of women priests shocked me after a lifetime of kindness from him. I guess it was because I hadn't ever challenged the male place in the current set up. 

If I had challenged the male succession for our family title, things might have become ugly. As it is I decided to marry into a non-titled family to avoid it altogether, and I do not use my title at all. Even mentioning it here is counter-productive because I wish to bury and ignore its very existence, an honour imposed on the descendants with no get out.

- 'the past that would outlive him.'

English will live on, the shape of this country, the road network and names of villages, the illnesses we get, the ways that children play, the processes of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, all I have painstakingly learned will have to be re-learned by each person in turn, no short cuts. 

The Iraq + 100 years project concept was about asking people to write about their towns in 100 years' time. I considered life here in this village. All that would remain would be the old things, plus one or two modern elements. I found that a big surprise, but it made sense. 

Fashions would be recorded and the census information. The way the snow falls and melts, the catkins and daffodils, noises of the animals, smells of the animals and cut grass. Thunder, rain, dawn...Maths, languages, literature, the culture of music all around us, older people's ways, how wood burns, the winds.

How can I imagine the future children in my wider family? It is so extended already, I don't have a good way of keeping in touch with each one. I will put in a wish for the internet to come up with an extended family app which is just right :) Each person has a different version of family.

Too many words. The phrases are taken from 2 pages of a book I am reading. This straying is why I read, to remind me of my own life.

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