Monday, 23 June 2014

Bits of beauty, bits of madness!

Here's a definition of Skype, culled from my weekend newspaper reading: "It's like two yoghurt pots joined together with string but using webcams instead of yoghurt pots and witchcraft instead of string." Delightful! We used tin cans when I was a kid, probably because there were no yoghurt pots then. Come to that, I don't actually remember when I first ate yoghurt! But I agree with the witchcraft bit. There is definitely something of the dark arts in the way all things computer and mobile phone related work. I mean, they even get their own back sometimes, "accidentally" sending emails to the wrong people, the very people who were NOT meant to receive them. And the same can happen with text messages. 

Don't get me wrong; I almost never go anywhere without my mobile phone and I am well known for posting photos of wherever I happen to be onto Facebook. That, of course, is in line with the principle that there are bits of beauty everywhere and usually they are worth sharing. 

Out jogging one morning last week, I had reached the point where I go off the bridle path, do a short stretch on a side road and then get back onto the bridle path to head for home. Just as I came out onto the road section, I heard a voice cry out, "Run faster!" Not the usual sort of thing you expect to hear as you run along. Then I spotted the culprit: an old friend in his van. He must have spotted me and slowed down to shout his message of "encouragement". Maybe I could charge him with sexual harassment, well, just plain harassment anyway! 

The harassment thing is very odd. I keep listening to reports of supposed harassment that just sound like casual complements. At what point does telling a woman she looks good in a particular outfit turn into harassment? Maybe it won't be resolved until it becomes the norm for women also to pass casual comments about men's appearance, looks, outfits and general attractiveness as they walk along the street! Gender equality! 

We had some of that gender equality in our garden this weekend. The grandchildren were around again and at one point our grandson, who had been kicking his football around for some time, made a wrong move and kicked the ball over the wall. This might not be a problem for some people but in our case there is a fairly deep drop on the other side of the wall. Our children grew quite skilled at climbing down to retrieve lost objects and now we had to introduce the grandson to this noble art. So, with Grandad's help he scaled the wall and came back with his football ... and the branch of a tree, a rather slender branch but a branch nonetheless. 

Grandad proceeded to show him how to strip off the twiggy bits and whittle the branch down to a smooth piece. This then became a longbow and suddenly the girls were there as well, wanting to join in the activity. A neighbour provided some better string for the bow and, best of all, a proper arrow, with flights and everything. 

This continued into Sunday with further whittling of branches to produce staves and spears, or just whittling for whittling's sake. 

Amazing! Busy children in the open air and not an electronic toy in sight ... apart, that is, from the teenager's mobile phone. 

So, Saturday was archery day in our Delph garden. In the Philippines it was apparently “Go Skateboarding Day” and hundreds of people took to the streets on skateboard. 

Bits of madness everywhere! 

This was confirmed for me when I read this morning about "El Salto del Colacho"' which means the devil's leap. This is the annual baby jumping festival held in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos in the north of Spain. Babies are laid on mattresses in the street, blessed by the priest and sprinkled with rose petals. Then people jump over them. This is apparently a way of Celebrating Corpus Christi!!! Whose idea was it? And which mothers are crazy enough to let people leap over their babies, risking having some clumsy fool trip and squash the child? 

The world is an amazing place!

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