Sunday 26 April 2020

A Walk to a Pond

Not the pond.
What a glorious sunny weekend! Peter Hitchens wrote a column saying he's hating the unusually beautiful weather because it masks tragedies to come. My thought is that God is sending the sunshine to help us make enough Vitamin D.  I'm taking a break from my habitual warnings against wrinkles and skin cancer. With the usual warning that I'm not a doctor and you should consult one before doing anything new, everyone must go outside and get a lot of sun. If there's skin cancer in your family, wear a hat.

Yesterday I taught my students via Skype, worked on the lawn, and went for a long walk with B.A.
The Scottish Med.

My students were full of rancour. One was outraged that I had identified her hero (based on a locally important historical figure) as a Norman (and therefore fluent in French) when she wrote that he was SCOTTISH. She was also annoyed that I had suggested she spell the name of the hero's beloved "Cecelia" instead of "Cicelia" when apparently "Cicelia" is an authentic 13th century spelling. The other objected to my describing a cottage as Tibetan when the story is set in NEPAL.

Although not particularly respectful of their Writing Yoda, it was a lot milder than what I have to say when editors mess with my stuff. Even better, they were somewhat in the wrong.

The hero was most definitely an French-speaking Anglo-Norman, and his great-grandfather came over with William the Conquerer in 1066. The hero was also born on the family estates in England. That said, he did have a Scottish mum, who herself seems to have been culturally Norman, but it's very likely she also spoke Gaelic or Early Scots, or both. Thus, the hero could be described as a Scoto-Norman. But he absolutely spoke Norman French fluently, end of.
This is the pond.

As for "Cicelia", I think the odd spelling is too distracting for the reader. It is more likely lead them to wonder if it's a typo than to appreciate its 13th century quality. As for "Tibetan" vs "Nepal," the only hint of the geographical location was that the hero went by donkey to the Himalayas.

However, they were right to speak up rather than to stew in anti-Yoda resentment, and I learned a lot of interesting things.

The lesson afterwards was on the Six Plots of Literature: steady rise; steady fall; rise and fall; fall and rise; rise, fall, rise; etc. My students have rivers of imagination; I'm trying to direct them into tributaries so they can water the fields of literature.

Afterwards I went out to the garden, finished trimming the edges of the mown lawn, plucked out a few stray dandelions and encouraged B.A., who had come outside, to try attaching the garden hose to one of our faucets (i.e. taps). B.A. was surprised that we had a garden hose but upon seeing it for himself, he gamely carried one end up the stairs to the bathroom to experiment. The hose couldn't be attached the sink, but it could be stuffed up the bathtub faucet. Thus, after I raked and seeded the lawn, B.A. was able to water it.

The lawn, by the way, is 33 feet by 11.5 feet, which is more than half the size of our actual flat, and does not even encompass the entire garden. It is therefore possible that we own almost as much outdoor land as we own indoor space, an agreeable hypothesis.

Now the challenge is to not walk on the lawn while the seeds germinate and, I very much hope, sprout.

The walk was along the Firth of Forth and through a nature reserve to a pond. B.A., naturally, skimmed stones on the Forth and on the pond, and when skimming was not feasible, he just threw in stones to hear the splash. It's a bit like living in the One Hundred Acre Wood. Apparently I'm Tigger because I'm impetuous and bounce. B.A. says he's not sure who he is, but he is definitely whoever throws rocks in the water to hear the splash. At his worst, he's Owl.  This is admitted better than Eeyore. (When not Tigger, I'm tend towards Eeyore.)

The Firth of Forth was also being followed by a number of bicycles and the nature reserve wasn't empty, either, although I wouldn't call it crowded. So far everywhere we go, couples and families seem to be keeping 2 metres apart from other couples and families---except for youths bicycling together, as I do not believe they are all siblings. There is occasional sitting.  A  middle-aged Polish couple radiated happiness as they basked in the sun by the lake, topping up their Vitamin D.

Apparently the weather will cease to be so sunny by Tuesday, which will be good for our lawn and vegetable seedlings, but less good for us. We shall buy Vitamin D in Tesco and perhaps order new Wellies for me. And now to publish some photographs so I can go out and finish planting sweet peas.

Local humour.
By the way, the Warrington FSSP Sunday homily was a real barnstormer today. I will write about it tomorrow, but in the meantime, have a listen when the recording is uploaded onto livemass.

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