Thursday, 1 September 2011

It is just as well that I have a free day today (plenty of yesterday's casserole left for lunch, no appointments) because there is so much to read in today's Times that I want to just sit with a coffee and read it.

For a start there is the Eureka magazine, which is always full of scientific things explained in fairly easy language - a marvellous article about evolution by Richard Dawkin - he pitches it just about my level of understanding.

Matthew Parris writes every Thursday in the paper and he is one of my favourite writers as he always talks such a lot of sense. Today he has three topics and all three give massive food for thought.

He tells of an experiment in the 1870's, where they put five cattle on Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean. The experiment didn't work out but the cattle bred and are now totally wild and also very fierce - they will attack any human. One wonders how long our cattle would take to reach a similar state.

He also tells of hurting his knee while out walking on a walking holiday and of sitting in a cold stream for half an hour or so, soaking the painful knee. Next morning it had recovered. So next time you hurt your knee or your ankle - try it. I certainly shall - the beck is near enough for the experiment!

But the thing that really interested me and got me thinking on a wider scale was his piece about Gaddafi and the possibility of him hiding in the Sahara. If you look on the map you realise just how big a country Libya is and just how much of it is Sahara Desert. Wide, empty, barren, featureless, devoid of life - all these terms spring to mind but Parris says we are wrong to think this. He says there are 'eyes everywhere'. The Tuareg roam the desert and know every inch of it. He speaks of camping in a desolate part and going out of the tent in the morning to see a lone figure on the horizon, checking him out. Tuareg - splendidly adapted for living in such conditions. That set me thinking - aren't we all?

I was a country child and until I was in my mid twenties I had never lived in a town. I was introduced gently by then living for eight years in Lichfield - a quiet Cathedral city. Only then was I catapulted into a huge urban environment - Wolverhampton, with its large multi-racial population, heavy traffic, noise, shopping. It took a while to adapt but I must say I enjoyed my seventeen years there.

But oh the joy of now living deep in the country again - I have come back to my roots; back to quiet, wildlife, knowing my neighbours. Alright, there are things I miss - like the theatre, concerts, ease of shopping for clothes (but then in the country one hardly needs any). Yesterday, wandering around Sedbergh I got the same feeling. Everyone in the main street knew everyone else, so that people stopped to chat.

I have seen Toureg in Marrakesh, walking swiftly through the square, seemingly intent on their business. Do they feel like a fish out of water? If so then we are back to Richard Dawkin again, because that's where we all come from he says.

18 comments:

Maggi said...

An interesting post. I really enjoyed reading this.

John Gray said...

I love these kind of blog entries....
a little like PROUST...A STREAM OF IDEAS!!
LOVELY

George said...

Great post, Pat, one that is full of interesting information. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and I always love to hear you sing the praises of country life.

MorningAJ said...

Some people hate the countryside you know. They like the anonimity of city living. I don't get it personally. Why would you choose concrete over grass?

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lots of interesting ideas in there, thanks for sharing...

Peter Goulding said...

My wife hurt her foot badly walking down a mountain in Switzerland. The following day she bathed it in an alpine stream and it was practically perfect thereafter.

Elizabeth said...

You are quite right.
In Africa in the middle of nowhere people materialize with amazing speed.
We were in a minor bus mishap in the desert and before you knew it there were about 50 extra people.....

Loved the knee cure --and believe it may well work.

We really escaped the storm very lightly.
Many people all over the place still without electricity.

I'm enjoying living in the city but would be equally happy miles from anywhere so long as I had books and my computer.

Towanda said...

I also miss much about the City--the theaters, concerts, museums and parks. However, here in the country jeans and a T-shirt do quite well and I've found I need nothing that the closest Wal-Mart does not have. And, I do not miss at all, the crowding, the traffic, or the noise.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful interesting post today. I really enjoy when you write about something you have read that morning.

I rather like the country life too. Although I don't live in the country like you I live far enough outside the city proper that I like the much more quiet life.

cheers, parsnip

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

I wish I had time to read the Times which I think is still one of the best papers around. I don't buy them now (any of them) out of principle. I reckon if Libya's ex-leader (I can't spell his name) is in the Sahara, Google Maps will find him!
X

patteran said...

An enjoyable perambulation through topics, Pat, with a very neat closing line! Just what blogs are for.

Dartford Warbler said...

We only take a newspaper on Saturday and Sunday now, so it is a treat to read in depth and to consider some of the good journalists who can analyse current affairs.

I enjoy an occasional visit to a bigger town, but I wouldn`t swap country life now.

Heather said...

A fascinating post Pat giving much food for thought. I love the countryside but am lazy now and want the amenities that our little town provides, close at hand.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, a very good post, Pat, which made us all think.

Ice or ice-cold water - so good for sprains and bruises, isn't it?

Today they think Gaddafi may still be in Libya...

Gerry Snape said...

Keep giving us things to think about Pat. Thanks for this .

steven said...

weaver - you really are fortunate - and i know that you know that!!! steven

Dave King said...

Matthew Parish is one of my favourite writers also, for much the same reasons. I've also seen the Tuaregs in Marrakesh, and take your point. One disturbing aspect to the vastness of the Sahara was being aired on the radio the other morning - it was the possibility that Gaddafi had deep prisons hidden beneath the sands with thousands of prisoners incarcerated there and no one knowing where exactly.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the comments - yes, I agree with John, a post which gives a stream of ideas is enjoyable. Unfortunately it is not always easy to think of one!