15 May 2011

Committing bloggery and Google's skullduggery!


You might think I am having a childish tantrum because of Google's failure to restore the posts they removed. You might not feel quite the same if you knew how hard I work at finding exactly the right words to convey a thought or feeling.

I have always been accused of having too large a vocabulary. Going right back to childhood I used "long words" which irritated or intimidated others. To me, these "long words" were just better ways of expressing myself more clearly. Or more precisely. There was absolutely no ostentation intended. My extended vocabulary was a natural part of my everyday conversation. Sometimes leading to teasing or aggression. I never thought of it as a handicap. Nor even knew which words others would find challenging.

Therein lies another problem. Having a large toy box full of words only makes the choice more difficult. My wife constantly nags me about my poor decision making abilities. "Never give Chris a choice!", she says. Which is patently true. Though only up to a point.

Mr Higgins surveys the charming, rural calm of a higgledy-piggledy farm. Sheep are rather unusual in Denmark. The small flock sizes suggest pets rather than produce.

I loved writing (and reading) even as a kid. Much to my teacher's and tutor's chagrin with regards to the former. My handwriting remains and always has been dreadful. I blame the conversion from scratchy ink dip pens to poorly performing Biros while I was still at Junior school. I experimented endlessly with nibs and fountain pens in later years and was fascinated by calligraphy for a while. (as an art form which was completely denied to me) Though, by then, the damage was already done. My handwriting was beyond further help.

Quantity of words was never remotely my problem. With my vivid imagination I would produce ten sides (or many more) for a single English, homework essay. I almost literally inhabited the story on the written page. However, adding my disastrous handwriting to my appalling spelling and grammar were all too much for them to cope with in such quantities. I would often be marked down badly. Or told to learn the fine art of précis. Fat chance! That was like being asked to paint pictures using only magnolia emulsion! :-)

A peaceful rural scene. The oddly-leaning, farm buildings are probably unchanged in many years.The diagonal bracing is unusual. Normally these are only used at the corners of buildings in Denmark. In Britain this would be a sign of great wealth or early timber framing. Yet many of these traditional buildings date from the late, 19th century. Though the original steep thatch has usually given over to Eternit. Asbestos reinforced, corrugated, cement, roofing sheets.

The arrival of typewriters in my life was a godsend in improving my legibility. Though they still lacked any other spelling checker than the idiot at the keyboard. I had to wait literally decades for this handy tool to arrive. It also took me decades to learn to type both fairly accurately and fairly quickly with 3-4 fingers. Heaven knows how long I tried to learn to touch type with faultless inadequacy.

I wrote a few thousand pages of science fiction novels in my thirties. Though it all ended up being burnt on a garden bonfire. Which was probably the best fate for such full immersion drivel. I never planned  a book. Nor made notes. I would write a story which entertained me. The problem then was that I knew exactly what was happening with total clarity. So I would leave out large clues as to how the characters had actually arrived in their present situations. (or so I was told by an unwilling proof reader) :-)

An old shed groaning under the weight of a lilac hedge. This flower colour is typical of many hundreds of miles of roadside, lilac hedging. Gardeners tend to choose much more colourful, selected varieties. From snow white to deepest purple and stronger mixtures of reds and blues. Rather like the Welsh in their colour choice of Rhododendron to distance themselves from the infestation of R.ponticum.

My memory is appalling in many respects. Meaning that I cannot regurgitate my text of yesterday if it no longer exists in the material world. I often find myself riding along on my trike and a choice of words is bubbling away on the back burner. Until a perfect phrase, word or term pops into my head. To be saved and used later on my blog.

Twenty minutes later I cannot even recall the original theme let alone the perfect choice of words! Days may pass before the idea bobs to the surface again. But my original words are no longer available in their polished form.

This is why I am so cross with Google for removing my posts and not restoring them again. The words were vital to the moment of publishing. In that they conveyed my feelings and emotions of the time. More so because they had been polished to match my own expectations. The form of words is no more because the emotion of that particular moment is now, long gone.

To physically Publish a blog post is to commit oneself to very public exposure. This is not remotely the same thing as riding a trike in brightly coloured clothing. The latter to ensure high visibility, of course.

A racing trike is so unusual that it probably produces as much attention as riding an ordinary. (penny farthing) Even if I wore black from head to toe. Which seems odd in itself. Because a trike is simply a bicycle with an extra wheel. Why does it excite so much reaction and attention? I occasionally see real fear in the faces of some who glance briefly my way.

Do they fear the trike itself? Or does it signal that I might be mentally handicapped? And therefore not in full control of my actions? Do they fear embarrassment in the face of the unknown? A chap in a town I visit quite regularly  rides a typical  "disabled" trike. He makes loud, strange noises almost constantly. I pulled up just as he was leaving a supermarket. He became very agitated and incomprehensibly vociferous at the sight of my trike and my friendly greeting. 

Even the well-disciplined, tiny tots walking closely beside their kindergarten prams can sometimes spot me at 100 yards. They turn and stare with wide-eyed curiosity as I pass. Often their (usually) lumpen minders are blissfully unaware of my presence. I wave and grin gently to show that I am not uniquely dangerous as a rare species of road user.

I see it as my responsibility as an all-too-rare, tricycling diplomat to Denmark. To seem quietly friendly and reasonably normal is part of my personal transport choice. I hope I appear fairly normal as far as (keen) cyclists go. I try to give the impression of fitness and competence in both my speed and smooth riding style. Without ever making a great fuss about it. 

Sometimes the adults smile and wave back too. Though to many of them it seems the child minding is only a paid chore. To be over and done with. There is no endless commentary of the countless things of interest on their regular walks. To add to the children's vocabulary and broaden their knowledge of the world they share. A good, head's start on the road of life is invaluable. Even in a rural village. 



  1. I guess I can regurgitate my posting, word for word, but a couple of days after I've written it I'm no longer interested. But that Blogger thing on Thursday was irritating.

  2. You have the advantage of me because I can remember nothing of it now. Perhaps I should stop hoping that it will be restored? ;-)