Saturday, 24 July 2021

Being entitled. Being attacked by bears. Etna.m

hear that although Jeff Bezos and his companions have been up to the edge of space they can’t call themselves astronauts because of a technicality. To be recognised as an astronaut you have to have an assigned job to do during your space travel. (Richard Branson’s lot all had jobs to do when they went up in his rocket. So he’s an astronaut which must be annoying to Jeff Bezos.) Jeff Bezos and co went up in a fully automated rocket. All they had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride. As a result they cannot be considered to be true astronauts, just passengers. 

To call themselves astronauts would be like me calling myself an airline pilot just because I have flown in a plane.

Or like saying that eating good food makes you a cordon blue chef.

Or wearing fine clothes makes you a couturier.

Or even that taking medicine makes you a doctor - well, I suppose some people have been taking medicine for so long they know  almost as much as their physician. 

I could almost feel sorry for Mr Bezos and co … but not really. Just think of what the money could have been used for.

There’s a story in the news about a man who was rescued from a cabin in Alaska after being attacked over and over again by a grizzly bear. He was lucky to be spotted by the helicopter pilots who saved him. They almost didn’t fly over his camp. 

Whenever I read stories like this I wonder why a sensible grown up person decides to go and camp in a place where there are fierce wild animals, grizzly bears in this case. Seeking peace and quiet is one thing but bears and wolves and the like are to be avoided. It’s all very well the experts saying that bears rarely attack people. They only need to attack you once for that to be too much. And in this case the lone camper was attacked several times over. 

We were talking to my brother-in-law recently about power cuts. He’s an electrical engineer and so he knows about such things. He has no explanation for the fact that we have had remarkably few power cuts in recent years. We still have a stock of candles dating back to a time when power cuts were a regular feature of the winter time. This turns out to be a good thing as there are warnings that we are likely to face a winter of blackouts. As the economy wakes up again there will be more demands on the system, a system which is apparently past its use by date according to this article.

Still, life could have worse problems. In Sicily Etna keeps erupting from time to time. It’s been doing it quite a lot lately. Never enough to be life threatening but enough to generate a lot of volcanic ash. It seems that people have taken to walking around with umbrellas to prevent themselves from being covered in ash. The clean-up is costly. 

What do people about drying their washing? We’re talking about a place where washing is hung from lines outside balconies, or on rooftops. But it’s  not very sensible if your wet washing gets coated in dark grey ash. I’ve watched Etna erupt, from a safe distance, of course, and have been very impressed. But apparently small eruptions are happening quite frequently at the moment. People are getting a little fed up of it. 

You see, there are worse things in life than the weather being too hot or too cold - one of my nodding acquaintances commented this morning that it was “rather chilly”! It’s all relative. If we hadn’t had temperatures in the mid to high 20s in the last week she would find today’s 16 or 17 degrees perfectly fine. And at least don’t have volcanic ash to contend with, or mud slides or dirty flood water. Small mercies!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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