Saturday, March 21, 2009

Neither a Lenter nor a Borrower be

You know how there's some stuff in life that we all just 'Know'?

Yet we don’t really know why?
It’s like we know that February follows January; that happiness follows heartbreak. I'm sure someone out there knows exactly why that is but for the rest of us it just is.
In a way I guess that’s why board games like Trivial Pursuit and TV shows like the Leakest Wink are so popular. That reminds me: A good friend of mine was once a contestant. How exciting is it to actually know someone on the show!! She did very well; should actually have won!
Come to think of it, it would also have been nice if that other individual who I thought was my friend hadn’t “permanently borrowed” my Trivial Pursuit….Hrrrmph!!

ANYway, the other day whilst out shopping in the city I noticed there were a lot of strangely dressed children; strange as in “fancy dress”.

Being a relative newcomer to life on this little island I just assumed that there was some fiesta being celebrated in the vicinity. On returning to the village I popped into the local spot for a coffee - it’s
de rigueur to go there every day. It’s like “Cheers” – everybody there knows your name along with everybody else’s business. It was there that I found out that we were actually in the midst of “Carnival” ergo the fancy dressed folk I’d seen.
But…hold the phone…isn’t that what happens in Rio?
Yes. But not only there, I discover.

In fact there are two Carnival parades on the island, which are very different from each other. The most important one takes place always on the Saturday of the Carnival weekend. It’s the more sophisticated one with thousands of participants in magnificent and colourful costumes dancing through the streets, spreading an ambiance evoking the Carnival of Rio. This is always followed by the more relaxed and fun ‘peoples’ parade, whereby locals and tourists can dress up in anything they want and show off their creations to the public in a more ‘party’ and less formal atmosphere.
So now I know exactly why folk were in their fancy dress.

I also know exactly why my home made tomato sauce tastes like I was taught to cook by an Italian grandmother! And I aint telling! And she wasn’t Italian!
ANYway, there I was busy preparing a pot of said scrumptious sauce; one ear tuned into SKY news, the other eagerly awaiting the Postman who should be arriving bearing the fruits of an online purchasing expedition – n’other whole story there; n’other day.
But then I hear some news that brings my onion paring to an abrupt halt. According to SKY it seems the Pope has had an epiphany. His bright spark suggestion is that the youth of today should give up Mobile phone texting.
For a bit.
For Lent in fact.
Sweet Mother on a pogo stick!! What next!!
Clearly the world wide economic recession has not touched base in The Vatican.

Does the dude not realize what financial ramifications would be stirred up if texting was put on pause?
Does he not get the power of the thumb on a keypad?

But that got me thinking about Lent.
I’ve always religiously missed the beginning of Lent. The first I know of it is through other people.
Possum - “Have a chocolate?”
Lentil 1 - “No thanks; I’ve given it up for Lent.”

Possum - “Let’s go out and have a glass of wine”
Lentil 2 - “Aw I can’t; I’ve given up alcohol for Lent.”

I’ve always known about Lent; that it’s a Christian festival; a forty-day period before Easter when people give up rich foods.
Rich food Mr Pope; not mobile phone texting!
But why is it that it’s always other people who know exactly when it happens?
Yes I know I could text the Pope and ask him for the date once Christmas festivities are over, of course. And I know I could be less of a heathen and go to Church more regularly, but thats another whole kettle of fish.
What I have learned though is that if I lived in the UK I would definitely be forewarned of the onset of Lent. There, Shrove Tuesday (the day before Lent) is also known as Pancake Day (or Pancake Tuesday to some people) and it is the one day of the year when almost everyone eats a pancake.

That works for me! And I’m not going to even think to ask “why pancakes? Why not choclate cake?”

But get this!
In the Latin countries this Tuesday is the last day of carnival.
Mental light bulb starts to flicker

The French call this Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras

Omigod! M.A.R.D.I. G.R.A.S

Now THAT I never knew. I never knew that Lent and Mardi Gras were so intricately relevant to one another.

So that’s why there are Carnivals all over the world and not just in Rio. And that’s exactly why the children were wearing fancy dress that day, that Tuesday. It wasn’t just the People’s Parade! It was Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day without the pancakes, dammit!

And I would never have found this out had the Pope not suggested giving up texting.
Just don’t get me started on his latest suggestion regarding condom use!
Come to think of it. It might not be such a bad idea introducing non-rich-food items into the abstinence list. Things like swearing or being disparaging, biting ones toe nails or wearing ugly shoes, actually going to gym or recycling the trash. Just think, whilst quaffing a glass of wine or nibbling on a chocolate we could be feeling perfectly penitent and maybe, just maybe at the end of those 40 days the new behaviour pattern might be so deeply entrenched that it would have become a habit! Now there's an epiphany for you!

Caffè Americano for me please; sans sugar, I’m sweet enough.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Days of our Lives

The other day was the perfect day for catching up on my reading; it rained ALL day.
In fact at one stage I was forced to acknowledge that what I thought was going to be a drop or two was actually going to be a deluge. It was this particular stage that had me throwing my persona into an old sweatshirt and my feet into flip flops; thereafter rushing around outside doing an award winning impersonation of a mother hen - or would that be an im-hen-ation?
ANYway my precious newly shooting rose cuttings were on the point of drowning and needed saving!

(memo to self - refrain from uttering "my precious" in that newly found husky voice; short little men wearing funny looking rings might come to take you away)

Okay, so once I'd gotten the little ones under cover and myself into a fluffy towel I popped over to see what mushypeas was serving up - well it was more like Spuds on toast; brilliant!

It did touch a chord.

You see, a coupla weeks ago I was prowling around looking for an old school mate whose path I'm hoping to cross later this year when I set off on a particular road trip. Natch the first port of call when looking for an old school mate is that wonderful social search engine we fondly abbreviate to FB.
Bingo! there she was!
Double Bingo! there was the link- umbilical cord - to the FB page set up in honour of the School we'd both attended. A long time ago.
Cha-ching! Jackpot! Photographs!! Lots of them.
Luckily I was never swift enough off the starting blocks to have qualified for any of those Team Photo shoots but I made sure my friends were all fleet of foot. And there they were; just as I remembered them.
(the chords of John Denver's "Country Roads" are starting to run through my brain like a backing track)
Not only that, FB has that sneaky little option called "view friends".

A true Pandora's Box moment preceded my reaching for my mouse.
But then, just like that, with one click of said mouse, my sound track squealed to a halt with that needle-scratching-on-vinyl sound made famous by Ally McBeal.
Bugger! Why are those little pictures SO well...little?
Reach for spectacles.
Bit better.
Some are immediately recognizable others not. In fact it would really help if the girls had included the "nee" part of their sur-names and the boys had refrained from growing facial hair and/or balding.
Most folk have fairly clear mental pictures and up-to-date memories of their high school buddies. Heck, some still invite each other to dinner parties! I am not ‘most folk’ however; never have been. For one thing I was moved to another country during The Early Years and never had the privilege of becoming a school leaver - well not of that particular school! Hence my memories of this particular stage of my life had remained in a holding pattern; one that precluded me from knowing who had gone where, when, with whom and how.

But here we all are. Again. Scattered all over the world yet touching base. Giving new meaning to being on the same page.
So yes, times have changed. Catching up on reading these days can have one turning the pages or clicking on links. But how pleasing that the most up-to-date methods can have us pondering our early memories; our roots.
To remember. To be remembered.
Glory Days!
Hit pause button for warm fuzzy feelings and cue in soundtrack