Monday, 8 July 2019

Shaking things up a bit. And some tennis-inspired thoughts.

While we were in Sicily at the end of May / beginning of June Etna was erupting. Okay, it was not enough to worry us but still ... an eruption is an eruption. And almost every day, as we visited baroque churches and other buildings beautifully preserved or restored, we were reminded of the earthquake on 1693.

Not long after that we heard reports of an earthquake in France.

“June 21: A moderate earthquake has hit western France, felt as far as Bordeaux in the south and Normandy in the north. No damage has been reported so far, according to Col. Michael Bernier, spokesman for the national civil security service. He said it prompted concern in several regions because "so many people felt it."”

Just the other day the volcano erupted on Stromboli:-

 “Rescue services said Wednesday’s eruption on Mount Stromboli had started fires on the western side of the small Mediterranean island north of Sicily. Fire crews were being called in from nearby locations and a Canadair firefighting plane was already in action. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Ficogrande, on the east side of the island, said: “We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar. “We plugged our ears and after this a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,” she said.

Tourists often climb to the 924-metre (3,000ft) summit of the volcano and peer into its crater, from which small lumps of molten rock are regularly blasted into the sky. It was not clear if anyone was near the crater at the time of the blast.”

And on Friday and Saturday there were earthquakes in California. Some joker suggested that California trying to escape!

There seems to have been a lot of seismic activity in the last few weeks. Has the planet got indigestion? Is it trying to protest at the way we have been treating it? Or is this just part of the normal cycle of things?

Meanwhile, life goes on. We go out for walks in the sunshine. We get together for family birthday celebrations.

We watch sport on television. Which promots my next comments.

The oddness of our attitude to age strikes me. It’s all relative of course. We regard our offspring as quite young (39 and 41) until we remember how experienced and worldly-wise we felt at that age. Wimbledon commentators admire how fit Roger Federer manages to remain at the great age of 37, almost 38. Personally I would expect him to be fit and healthy. After all, he must spend a good deal of time training!

That said, I have been known to wonder if the training that starts at a really young age might not contribute to such things as Nadal’s recurrent knee problems and similar problems other players have.

Old(er) tennis players, like old football players, get to commentate their sport’s coverage on television. I have been impressed by Boris Becker’s wonderfully idiomatic Englishm; expressions such as “not to lose track of the match”. and “the signature Federer style” abound. But all of these expressions are delivered with a strong German accent. What an odd mixture!

Then there are the tennis-player tics- Rafa Nadal always does a quick adjustment to each shoulder of his shirt, and then a rub of the nose and ears before serving.

Even idols are not perfect.

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