Friday 20 November 2020

Bucket List

I'm very much with Louis "glaciers & Harvard" Agassiz on celebrating the ordinary. One of the benefits of lockdown is that I have a copper-bottomed excuse for not travelling to Rose Red Petra or Valparaíso de Chile "before I die" so that I can tick these venues off my Bucket List. If I ever had a bucket list, I've long ago ceased lugging it about. Because . . . what do I do with the fact that I've been  to Vienna and eaten cream-cakes Brattleboro, New Hampshire where I've never dined finer? For example I am one of a very few people who have witnessed the Petitcodiac Bore - a tidal event at the head of the Bay of Fundy [multiprev]. Pat the Salt (b. 1925) avers any day you wake up alive, is a good day. True Dat! We are all allotted about 30,000 of them: if we achieve something useful and something kind on most of those days, why, that's a bucketful of blessings.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, no piña coladas or  sea-otters (*)but I did tick a couple of items off my TTD [things to do] list. I put my 14 y.o. Red Yaris in for the NCT. I believe in the NCT, it has had a demonstrable positive effect on road safety since it was started 20 years ago. But it's still stressful getting the old bus through its exams. New rules this year: 

  1. by government fiat NCTs were pushed forward by 4 months to accommodate Covid back-log and reduced capacity as NCT engineers got sick
  2. Nobody can sit in the waiting room while their car is being processed. You are advised to dress appropriately for outdoors. For about a third of the days in Winter that will be Sou'-wester and real greasy Aran sweater. Not yesterday, It was sunny but chill without a whippy wind, so all you need is a good talking book on your phone. Borrowbox rocks!
We didn't pass - one pesky broken brake-light - but I know that the car is good to go for another year. So that's a relief. Me, I don't need a car since I R Retire but I know a Returning Native who is coming home in January and will need wheels to function in an impossibly rural location up the Déise.

Back in February a medium-sized Scot's pine Pinus sylverstris [example, not ours, R] developed a green-stick twisting fracture in the main trunk and pitched over the boundary into the neighbour's field. I went up the next weekend to tidy up the raffle. I cut the smaller branches into heavable chunks and pitched them back on to our side of the line. That left two limbs driven into the ground supporting the "top" of the tree while the other end hung from the trunk by a complex of twisted fibres. Since then it has been g r a d u a l l y collapsing like a drunken diva towards her chaise longue.  The lines of tension and compression in a fallen or leaning tree are not obvious to all thinking people; so these cases are known in the trade as widow-makers. On Tuesday last, she slumped down to rest heavily on the top strand of the fence.

My risk analysis had to juggle a) replacing a section of fence to keep the cattle out of the garden vs b) getting the saw jammed in a settling cut and having to borrow a front-loader to take the weight off and retrieve my saw-blade. The 13in blade of the saw was just long enough to go through the fattest part of the trunk; I correctly gauged whether to cut up or down; and in about 20 minutes we'd cleared the field but for the saw-dust. Win! I can lose a lot of sleep not doing things, so I am working on myself to face up to tasks and just make a start . . . like Javi.

(*) Satire supplement Groundhog Day for black man.

 “Political satire became obsolete when Henry 
Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” 
Tom Lehrer.

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