Saturday, 1 August 2015

Things to share.

Last night, so I have heard, there was a blue moon. I didn't see it. Having heard about it, I did a bit of research and discovered that it was not actually blue. Now, that would have been something to see. No, what happens is that they give this title to the second full moon of a calendar month, a rare occurrence. Hence the expression "once in a blue moon". The next one after last night's will be on January 13th 2018. There you go. To see an actual BLUE moon, you have to see the moon through volcanic ash, apparently. It's something to do with the particles of ash suspended in the air making the moon appear blue. I doubt if I have much chance of seeing one of those either. 

Something that does not happen only once is a blue moon is the feria that is currently going on at A Guía, the promontory with its lighthouse chapel on the top that we can see from our window. Every year at this time they a set up a fair and we are regaled with people trying to sing flamenco. Someone must like it, I suppose, but from here it just sounds rather mournful. There is other fair- related noise as well, of course. What is annoying is that the noise goes on well into the night, disturbing my rest, especially as it is a little warm to sleep with the windows wide open. 

Thinking about open windows last night as I tried to get sleep, I had one of those very physical memories that happen from time to time. We once had to spend a night in Oviedo because of our travel arrangements. Our evening meal had been strange, mainly because the white wine we had ordered was decidedly odd. Rather than white, it was a very strong yellow in colour and tasted strange too. We sent it back and they brought us another just the same! When we retired to our hotel for the night we found it so hot in the room, which had no air conditioning, that we had to open all the windows and blinds to let some air in. The street lights outside were unforgiving and it was that bright hot room that came back so vividly to my memory last night. Memory is an odd thing! Proust would understand this! 

I was reading something the other day about the modern tendency to "share" every aspect of life. I know people who do it all the time on Facebook, of course. You know the kind of thing: "just made a cake" or "been gardening all afternoon" or "tired now, off to bed". I enjoy seeing photos of what friends are up to but, really, inane comments about stuff are simply not interesting. 

Anyway, a survey reveals that the twentysomethings' appetite for sharing every aspect of their lives has made it onto the maternity ward, with eight family members or friends in attendance at each birth. They want to share their birth experience. My reaction was very much a strongly felt "ugh, no, thank you!" There are some things you do not need an audience for and giving birth is one. 

The article led to all sorts of comments including one from a fan of home birth - in her living room - why not the bedroom? This lady had about fifteen people in her house to celebrate her birth-giving moment but she banished them all to the stairs except for her husband, the midwife and her "doula". Just think, if she had given birth in the bedroom, all her celebrating friends and family could have sat in the living room. 

What is a "doula"? Good question. Someone called Dana Raphael introduced the term in 1969 in an anthropological study she completed. Her research led her to believe that it was a widespread practice that a female of the same species be part of childbirth, and in human societies this was traditionally a role occupied by a family member or friend whose presence contributed to successful long-term breastfeeding. There you go. She reckoned that the term came from the time of Aristotle when it meant simple "female slave" and somewhere along the way someone decided to use it to mean a person, not the midwife, giving labour support. It seems to me that "friend" is a perfectly good term but you can train to be a "doula" whereas nobody seems to think you need to train to be a friend. 

I just thought I should share that with everyone out there.

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