Thursday, 8 October 2009

Thoughts from the Human Outpost

Elsewhere moon-orientated scientists are preparing to blast the lunar top soil in search of evidence of water in view of a possible "human outpost". I, in the meantime from within our own human outpost am tuned into Radio 4 on our computer having just flashed a few pilates moves to counteract a few days worth of indulgence and settling down to ponder our day. Our new friends found us as promised down at the old Billings Forge Farmers market. I had braced myself for a chaotic herd of scrupulous city dwellers frantically stocking up on their organic produce for the week (I am always struck by the mild neurosis in the air of such events back in London, or, for hard core foodie fanatics, its Manhattan counterpart at christmas, as people brush past one another dodging pesticides and GM ingredients whilst plugged into their blue tooth wotsit in their ears and flinching silently at the prices) what I found however was a handful of laid back sellers collected around a community green of a restored red brick forge basking in the warm october sunshine without fuss, or fear or fecklessness. Fabulous. It took us all of 15 minutes to glance over everybody's products. Just enough to smell and touch everything and buy one of most of everything, amongst which were a pumpkin and raisin loaf (inhaled by son) and just the right amount of pumpkin curry to tide us over till dinner (we have been over indulging somewhat, best not send message to brain that this is a daily ritual). Halloween anyone? One lady-shopper we spotted was most prepared for it sporting proudly as she was a rainbow coloured cardigan with all manner of cross stitch style motifs emblazoned. Sam proudly, and loudly, picked out the pumpkin on her left hand pocket but the witch flying across the full moon on her back lost her audience. Monsters are somewhat on the brain I fear. Ones of the green, Frankenstein sort being at the forefront of most conversations. I was explaining that we would be flying to Cleveland Ohio on Monday with everyone from the show, Sam quickly insisting, "Not the monster though." He has met Schuler, the artful actor who brings him so sensitively to life but the whole green thing has touched that terrible hulk part of Sam's brain and it is going to take several months for him to really feel that he is not scared of him. At the moment he is still in the feigning ambivalence phase. He seems to do that for most things that he clearly is unsettled by; loud toilet flushes (the ones we have encountered here have been on turbo boost, one in particular almost sucked both he and I down the drain, it was one of those fandangled automatic ones. One unexpected breath or shift of weight and you and your excretions are done for) thunder, lightning, Grandad's china man outside their house and the like. The last is a dodgy ode to the Terracotta army. Not sure if he fears the poor quality of it in terms of accurate replica or the 5ft 5-ness of it looming in the shadows as you approach the door of a dark night. It is painted a moody shade of slate with surprising copper coloured highlights (a DIY addition) to hide the cracks. Turns out it wasn't made to the high quality the market seller down in Xian promised Dad it was. My father's love affair with all things China deserves a blog in itself, this is but way of introduction you understand. Picture Del Boy strutting down a midnight market in Shanghai and you are half way there. This might be the right time to report some criticism on my blogged thoughts from said Del-Boy. According to my father I would do well to be "less slick and educated" in my daily reportings. Less "mental" and more about what we are actually "doing". Apparently "every day people don't want an excercise in dissitation". Apologies Dad. Please excuse me for one moment whilst I dedicate the following list of actions for his benefit before I make a sunday dinner's worth of musings of essentially quite a peaceful sociable little day in a new town with very warm welcoming new friends. When push comes to shove this is what our day actually was:
1. FABULOUS coffee at Jo-Jos on Pratt Street (see yesterday's post)
2. Walk through Bushnell park and under big important historical civic building. One carving on which was labelled Hooker's March but judging by the pointy pilgrim hatted figure in it, not an allusion to the nightlife sort. Childish I know but you would have thought the same.
3. Market with friends and food.
4. Bus ride to friends house. $1.25. Children free.
5. Playing with friends at said house.
6. Bus ride back. Brazilian flag in hand. (a keepsake of Sam's young love)
7. Light but lovely dinner.
8. Blogging
9. Listing items for blog.
10. Hopefully proving that a list is not as much fun as a moderately structured stream of consciousness.
11. Stopping the list thing before anyone believes I am taking it the suggestions too seriously.
12. Looking forward to tomorrow's Skyped review.

Now I'll get on with the over-wordy bit.
The afore moentioned flag now lies scrumpled on the desk. They say history repeats itself. It seems fitting that one of our little fella's first female friendships is with a young Brazilera. His father some ten years back was involved for almost a decade with one such also. I know the presentation of the gift certainly brought a wry smile to his Dad's face. The two tykes (Talita and Sam not Sam and his Dad) tired themselves out good and proper and shrieked, skipped, ran, jumped and argued their way through the minefield that is three. By the end of the afternoon they were hugging desperately. Sammy slightly weepy, waved goodbye at the bus stop (I like nothing better to ride local buses in new places especially when it allows you a glimpse of another reality aside from the carefully manicured centre of town. I spied some authentic looking mexican ma and pa places and a cluster of chapels in apartment blocks with hand painted signs written in Spanish most of whose pastora's were women) but nevertheless managed a "Have a good swim!" before the flood gates really opened in earnest (she was off to a swim class, it wasn't just one of his metaphysical salutations). A good day had by all. We are set to hit the Mother Goose session at the library tomorrow morning. I pray we encounter the sort of librarian who doesn't take the view that stories must be shrieked in that hyper talking-to-under-5's voice, or, like some parents I meet, the what I like to call the piercing parenting voice. I believe it is a phallacy that decibel level will determine attention level from young ears. I usually find the opposite is true for our boy. Hey-ho. Room for everyone I spose. As long as some golden eggs are laid, we'll all be happy.

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