5th August 2021

When I am feeling in need of reason, wanting for some belief beyond daily trouble and toil, I am inclined to retreat with much affection, to ‘The 13th Warrior’, directed by John Mctiernan and Michael Crichton, released in nineteen hundred and ninety-nine on the cusp of the new millennium. A retelling of Michel Crichton’s novel, ‘Eaters of the Dead’, a tale based upon the chronicles of Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an Arabian ambassador to the Volga Vikings. No full copy of Ibn Fadlan’s work exists but part references to the legend of Beowulf deliver the books main narrative.

A stirring tale by itself, but my true fascination comes from the two separate prayers that appear within the dialogue. Neither of the stirring renditions are accurate or indeed tied to the events. A Muslim would never ever address his God as Father in prayer, a blasphemy, and the Viking words are the murmurings of a brave Norse girl just before being burnt alive as a pagan.

That two incongruous religions texts are the soul of the tale is undeniably true, merging most aptly into one overwhelming life lesson.

4th August 2021

As you will have often heard me express we are blessed upon this island with a wonderous supply of all things edible, packaged, and fresh, with all manner of branded grocery goods, sufficient and of good enough quality to appease the most pernickety of persons. The same unfortunately cannot be said about attire, both clothing and footwear, general haberdashery, and quality culinary and electrical equipment. For these items we are obliged to either travel to the mainland to shop, transporting purchases back or rely on one of the companies who accept online purchasing and deliver by carrier.

I have no objection to mail order, having habitually ordered boots and suits from shoemakers and tailers for many a year. My one reservation is ever whether sellers adequately vet products before marketing them. Was a time such concerns were marginal, but recently with the down grading in quality of both manufacture and adequate and honest description, disappointment on receipt is regretfully a regular happenstance.  

3rd August 2021

I am occasionally recalled. Remembered by people past and to all intense and purposes departed from my circle. Their reasoning is simplistic, I am useful, capable of helping then in times of need, supportably, financially, with kind words and open pocket, such is the fate of confidents whom have travelled beyond the realm of instant recollection.

This new manifestation of value doesn’t cut me as much as perhaps it should, for being beneficial whilst not necessarily convenient is the accepted shelf for older relations, estranged parents, distanced but still in dire circumstances beneficial echoes that the medicant has found convenient to set aside in more temperate times. Such service calls arrive cyclically, for life itself revolves upon a discernable axis, plights occur at wholly predictable intervals, likely plainer to the consoler than those in need of comfort.

We should remain charitable in such circumstances, even when burdens yoke is quite plain and repelling. Good conscience demands our assent.

2nd August 2021

For the first time I many months I took laundry to the launderette today rather than struggling in my large but still problematic double sinks. The premises was thankfully quiet, a surprise midway through a busy season, but a blessing as the machine room was almost unbearably hot, the addition of a few sweating bodies would surely have made the experience horrific. The launderette itself was as usual well maintained, nicely vacuumed, surfaces wiped down, generally in an excellent condition. Staff may change but the management ever runs a tight ship.

As usual I sat outside overlooking Crescent beach road whilst my laundry chugged away. Sitting peaceably looking about I realized I had quite missed this portion of what was once a monthly ritual. The greenery was magnificently vert, the sky brilliant blue, the air clean and odor free cooled by a slight breeze from the sea.

Small pleasures, so often overlooked in our frantically paced existences, but worth their weight in gold to those ready to take note, relax, and just experience.

1st August 2021

I have but two remaining long-term friendships, both originating from approximately the same period, the nineteen nineties. My affection for both is extreme, one through a very personal relationship that had a lasting effect upon my tastes and opinions, and other which has graphically proved to me the heights that the human soul can achieve with a willingness to explore and grow outside of the obvious.

Other old acquaintances, chums, amigos, compadres, have become lost in the annals of time, obscured by the very same layers of dust and debris that have managed to hide, or at least somewhat camouflage mine own peculiar rise and eventual fall into happy obscurity.

I reflect upon their demeanors often, contemplating happenstances and emotions shared, but seldom wonder of their present whereabouts. A clear bit pleasantly amended recollection of the memorable moments shared is so much more the precious tiara without the cruel tarnishing that the toll of passing years can manifest.  

31st July 2021

Today, I had the unfortunate experience of watching a dear acquaintance stumble quite inadvertently into the cavernous depths of a verbal bear pit, innocently, and without any intent to denigrate in any manner whatsoever.  My sadness is multiplied not by my friends perhaps lack of politic foresight, but rather how quite so readily the great unsavoriness of this universe reacting gleefully to a quite innocent statement, appended views and sentiments that should be wholly unacceptable in any society not colored with the stains of fascist doctrine.

The world, the great melting pot of humanity, regretfully proves time after time to contain, even in the most seeming liberal locations, a worryingly percentile of persons with views so outdated and bigoted to cause honest apoplexy amongst the majority. That such thoughts are expressed in troubling enough, but the casual manner in which the bile is shared in public forums, whence their words in this modern age can never be erased, no matter the effort made to do so. The culprits are obliged to own their remarks for eternity.

30th July 2021

A further adventure in town today. Firstly a wonderful cup of coffee at Enzo’s, still on balance my favorite spot to sit, stare and pick over the happenstances of the last few days, with particular attention today to the very strange goings in the world of politics and the media. Seems we have reached a point beyond unbelievable and are beguiled with stories so bizarre and preposterous as to make even Pinocchio absolutely believable at his most   nasally elongated.

Has anyone else ever wondered about the political appropriateness of one of our favorite fairy stories being about a young male adolescent challenged by an over responsive wooden member? Nursery stories are so often moral lessons wrapped up as mystical conundrums.

After Enzos, the car wash and farm stand. My favorite companion has a thing about keeping the yellow monster as clean as is possible. I wholly understand the reasoning, Orcas is frighteningly awash with all kinds of detritus guaranteed to make a vehicle any look rather dowdy. The farm stand was empty of almost all produce, beets being the object of today’s search. We left the kiosk empty bagged but with change still jingling replete in our pockets.

A short stop at the market, I was out of flour tortillas and guacamole, two vital ingredients to have on hand at virtually any time of year.  In summer most refreshing with perhaps a nice fresh salad and a little piquant prepared meat, in wintertime wonderfully warming with refried beans and a spicy sauce. The market itself and the adjacent carpark were summer full of all manner of folks, touristy and local, but thankfully we made the excursion inwards and outwards fairly painlessly.

Many, many souls in town wandering about aimlessly, or so it seemed, far more intent on sightseeing than actually being safe and seen. The similarities between our streets and a recreational theme park always amazes me, individuals really so oft seem to lose all sense of propriety and sensibility when vacation inspired amnesia is upon them.

All in all a good day, ending with tasty home cooked Hispanic style victuals.

29th July 2021

Manners do indeed maketh man, at least according to William Horman, the late well-beloved headmaster of Eton college in the late 15th century. As  for myself I am inclined to consider than man unfortunately is more inclined to maketh manners in the design of his own worst instincts and behaviors. Horton is also well respected for his masterpiece of English language, ‘Vulgaria’, literally a collection of everyday sayings or proverbs common in the tongue at that time and previously. Mine own claim to any form of esteem or admiration rests on far more flimsy grounds, perhaps like Baldrick a cunning if somewhat course wit, or as in the Blackadder himself a more than nifty way with rather disemboweling phrases.  

My reasoning with both deportment and etiquette is that since Hortons time, some nigh on six hundred years, much in the manner of humankinds manners and sensibilities has changed quite extraordinarily,  on an avenue more akin to a rather intermittent travelator than any well controlled forward pathway. Mankind’s progress is replete with circumstances most regrettable, cruel, and inconsiderate, the very opposite to anything that might be considered the showing of good example. Each age has produced a set of rules for activity wholly different from the last, and certainly whilst definitely developing, not in any way that might be honestly considered a consistently enlightened way.

Manners, like morals and ethics have liberalized as the centuries roll along, public torture and execution is no longer considered polite in the civilized world, and unusual methods of private worship is not a blight upon the face of the majority of states. Liberalization is also inclined to dilute behaviors, the automatic expectation of mutual respect has flown from societies lips, to be replaced by a sort of mal-tempered ambivalence in many instances. Lack of the inane fear of repercussions for uncalled rudeness has most certainly proved a bane in most areas of social intercourse, whilst positively reducing the chance of mortal duel or damaging fist fight, the lack has increased overwhelmingly opportunities for bullying and discourteousness.

28th July 2021

These Items are inclined to make me particularly nostalgic for my roots, for a culture I exiled myself from some twenty plus years ago with not the slightest intention of ever returning. The most numerous are foodstuffs, tastes, smells, appearances, edibles, alien to American culture, never seen on most market shelves, needing special ordering from canny importers whom avoid the many difficulties placed upon them by customs and excise officials.

I speak nominally of Heinz baked beans of course, a foodstuff as basic to the British psyche as peanut butter is here. Eaten hot on toasted bread, as a side with eggs or bangers, a mighty constituent of the traditional English breakfast, a favorite with patrons from three to one hundred and three years of age.

Secondly must come offal, those delicious innards so pointedly excluded from the Yankee diet. Liver, lungs, kidneys, hearts, brains, all and any component of the carcass so often wasted or perhaps alternatively fed to the family pet as unworthy of human consumption.

Thirdly fat, lard, suet, those wonderful components of the beasts anatomy that allow the cooking, roasting, brazing, frying, of all manner of delicious dishes, chips but to mention the most important of all. Chips meaning chipped potatoes, not crisps, those slivers of King Edwards, flavored with all kinds of diverse additives, sold salted in small prettily decorated bags in convenience stores and gas stations.

Fourthly, savory puddings and pies, baked in the oven, or boiled upon the hob in bubbling cauldrons, wonderous concoctions of meat and gravy wrapped deliciously in a parcel of flour dough or flaked suet.

Quite noticeably all these delicacies sound incredibly fattening, yet strangely the average Britain is comparatively lean. Perhaps due to the exercise, we like to walk a lot, maybe the chill, not a warm climate, or the constant rinsing in water, the rain do fall quite consistently. But most likely of all due to the total lack of corn sugar in any Britains diet.

27th July 2021

Invasive, inconsiderate, belligerent, but three of the words I can so easily draw from my stockpile of negatives regarding the behaviors and attitude of visitors, this year particularly whish seems for some reason, the now dwindling pandemic I am supposing, has bred the most disrespectful and irritating bunch as yet to have blighted our little piece of perfection. My opinion is admittedly highly personal and comes from a rather outdated view of good manners and conduct, yet nevertheless that unfortunate summary shouts out the shame of a society that continuously produces and allows for such rascally miscreants.

The ‘tourist’ phenomenon is hardly new, I recall outrageous crowds of holiday makers in the 50’s and 60’s in mine own fair isles> What has fermented is the attitude of such participants, largely encouraged by commercial interests, and in direct response to that strange and wholly false maxim that the paying customer is always right, whereas in reality, as many a member of  the service industry will happily confirm, the customer is quite often very much incorrect and on occasion utterly and hopelessly wrong. The power of the almighty dollar does not stretch to the eradication of ethical and polite activity, such presentability should rise above all other considerations.

Any system of servility that relies upon a premise of favor for a vital ingredient in compensational income is ever prone to corrupt manipulation by both the consumer and management. Having to endure rudeness and incivility should never be a necessary part of any individuals employment. If we want exceptionalism in our employees we should ensure their salary presents a whole living wage without the necessity for grudgingly obliged gratuities in response to services that are probably not particularly exceptional.  

Visitors, for that is what tourists are, should be held to a standard of etiquette representing the epitome of human comportment, no matter gender or age. Anything less is unacceptable, inexcusable, perversely insulting to those persons fully domiciled withing the environment.