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Friday, August 24, 2007

Alistair Cooke v The Archers: most soporific?

Since Alistair's demise in 2004, me and Mrs. RW have been unable to reach that deep REM sleep. We have this awful habit of sleeping with the radio on – much to the annoyance of the daughterous one (Emma) – who has been known to sneak in and switch the thing off thus waking her parents!!!! I cannot remember a single word that Alistair Cooke delivered. As soon as his programme came on, early Sunday morning, no matter how interesting it was or how concentration demanding his tangential excursions, we would be in REM in less than 60 seconds. Only waking when some damn organ music struck up a little later in the morning. It was wonderful sleep. The best you can get.

We tried 'Something Understood' with Mark Tully…. more like 'Misunderstood'. The rage of not understanding what the hell is going on even kept the dog awake. *1

On Wednesday, just gone, Mrs. RW and I were having a lie down early evening after a grueling day. Look - when you get to our age it makes sense to get some daytime sleep in when you can. We slumped into the new bed and put on Radio 4 to get the end of the 6.30 comedy slot and the News and The Archers. I remember The News but .. then.... not a thing until Mark Lawson's adenoidal smart-artsed ramblings were heard. Ok he's smart but at least he has a face for radio so he shouldn't sound that smug … sorry…… I went off piste again. Yerh - there you have it - The Archers. I can't think of a pun or witty aphorism to finish. Even the thought of St. Jennifer Darling of Ambridge is enough to get me slapping the face and doing pull-ups on the steering wheel.

*1 - post post: I looked up Something Understood and got this: 'Something Understood has been broadcasting contemplative programmes to insomniacs, early risers and night owls since 1995. Its original and principal presenter is Sir Mark Tully, former BBC correspondent and author of a number of books about India. Other presenters have included Fergal Keane, Sheena Macdonald, Bonnie Greer and Joan Bakewell. ....... Presenters choose a theme that interests them and then pick pieces of music, poetry and prose. Often the starting point is something in life that is puzzling or doesn't seem to fit: an unexplained gesture, an angry thought. Small themes often work better than grand thoughts. The presenter then circles around the grit until the end of the programme, when they may or may not have an answer. Spiritual rather than religious, Something Understood is about the thoughtful moments in life.' -
Well that's alright then!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Waiting for Gary -The South African concept of ‘now’ - I feel a play coming on

As the NFBTNW Southern Africa correspondent I am coming to the end of a 2 weeks posting in the other WC (Western Cape). Most of it has been spent waiting for Gary. Gary is the electrician I have employed to sort out the wiring on the Southern outpost of the Renfamily. Gary is a decent sort and a reasonable sparky however he just doesn't turn up. But then neither does Paul Van Internet - the bloke charged with installing BroadBand, and neither did Kevin the generator commissioning engineer. I've had 2 whole weeks of being put off. For the last 30 years Sarth Efricans of every race, colour, gender have found it impossible to tell me that they cannot do something.

I've now realized that it is because they (yer Sarth Efricans) have been genetically engineered to be optimistic about the future. They also don't want to let anybody down, so, rather than tell the truth they elect to tell me- for instance that they 'can do' the external lights installation and they will be with me 'now'.

'Does this mean that you are standing at the front door Gary?'

'Hahah' says Gary 'No - I'll be with you in about an hour'.

Hours come and hours go – still no sign. Gary has been known to turn up and tell me that he's just going again. PVI told me that he could install BroadBand 10 days ago. It is now 10 days later and 5 promises of doing it tomorrow. To be fair he did turn up yesterday and rub his temples for 6hours, then said he would need to come back today to put up a mast. He hasn't showed.

The charming optimists that inhabit SA use the word 'now' to mean sometime in the future. 'Just Now' as in 'Ah'll be wuth yoo just nar' means maybe in the next 24 hours (providing not too near the weekend). 'Now Now' means that they intend to set off to meet me in the next 4 hours. 'Tuesday' means they have no idea at all when they may do the thing they have been asked to do. Only once in the last 2 weeks has anybody 'phoned me back before I have weakened and 'phoned them.

I am back in the UK. PVI has installed Broadband. He arrived unannounced and had me on-line 4 hours before my departure. Gary did arrive to help me out of an emergency and for this I thank him. Reaction not proaction seems to be what he does best. They'd make bloody good ambulance drivers. Yer Sarth Efrican boere or coloured chap loves to 'makaplan', BUT after doing so always ignores it awaiting something to react to. A bit like the French.

Oh dear .. I may have upset 2 nations, a few ethnic groupings and various tradsemen and technicians.

Still waiting for Kevin though.