Hammocks and other lovely things.
As I was sitting in my hammock enjoying my lunch…
That`s a lovely line, isn`t it? I think it is worthy of being repeated. “As I was sitting in my hammock” earlier, I was just thinking about writing my next Blog spot. It is a pleasant warm day today but I noticed that the combination of low cloud and mist meant that I could not see the hills on the other side of the lake very well today. Should I write about the weather? That would be quite an English thing to do. Should I bother to write about anything today? I could just stay comfortably in the hammock after all.
What could I write about that would be of interest. Then a whole series of thoughts floated through my relaxed mind and it occurred to me that it really is quite wonderful that we are all totally unique. I can guarantee that nobody would have the same series of thoughts that I had as I swung gently to and fro. Some people might have thought of some of the same things, of course, but no-one has shared all of the same things as me, so it might be worth writing down my thoughts anyway. They included the following: – hammocks (ok, that one is easy) Uncle Junho and his hammock (that reduces the number to almost a handful) English tea (not in the least exclusive) sandwiches (same there) square meals (another big reduction factor) shaking a leg (I think that might have popped into my mind just before square meals) happiness versus happy moments (for the philosophers) And then several other things that I rejected from inclusion in today`s blog.
And then, as I sit in front of the computer, I should add, “qualifying or modifying absolutes”, which I just did, casually, above. Can anything be “quite wonderful”? Actually that is probably a good example of English understatement being used to overstate something, and `wonder` may have a range of states, so is perhaps not really an absolute. But, of course, the word `unique` is an absolute so I shouldn`t have modified that with “totally”. It is, however, one of those words that is frequently modified these days – and it irritates me when it is done, so rather than quietly deleting the offending word from my blog, I thought you may be amused that I was just irritated with myself!
Anyway, there I was, in my hammock, and a picture came into my mind of Fatima`s Uncle Junho, now sadly deceased, who had a hammock at his house in the country, in Macuco, about four hour`s drive from Rio. It was hung on a nice shady verandah and he had attached a rope to a vertical post of the verandah and the rope was draped over the hammock, so if he wished to rock gently he could just pull a little on the rope and his hammock would start to sway. I have thought of doing the same here, but the hammock on the terrace is just near enough to a wall, so that if one reaches out far enough, one can start a gentle rocking with one`s finger tips.
Then, as I said, I was having my lunch, two fresh bread rolls with ham, cheese and tomatoes in them, and a lovely cup of English tea, for which I have to thank Tricia and Brian, since they brought some Yorkshire teabags over from England when they came to visit some months ago. I was comfortable, enjoying my lunch, enjoying the weather and the visual aspects from my terrace, delighting in my English tea and reflecting that – as some philosopher said – even if one cannot always say one has a Happy Life, one does have a life wherein there are Happy Moments. I suppose the trick is to fully enjoy and remember those Happy Moments and make a conscious effort to have as many as possible to offset the inevitable Less-than-happy Moments that befall us all from time to time.
Thinking about hammocks as I was, I recalled a story with which you may be familiar, that, in days of yore when travel involved sailing ships, hammocks would be part and parcel of the experience for the sailors and, indeed, the women that sometimes accompanied them on the trips. So the expression “shake a leg” refers back to that time and is generally understood, these days, to mean “get up and get on”. In fact that is only part of the story. When the bosun, or whoever, said to a figure sleeping comfortably in a hammock “shake a leg”, the be-hammocked person would simply put a leg outside the hammock and, if it was a hairy male leg, the said person had to de-hammock and get up, whereas if it were a shapely feminine leg, the leg`s owner could curl up for a while longer, since the woman would not be part of the official ship`s labour force.
That flow of thoughts took me then to Sydney – see, I told you this was unique! – where on a visit there, back in 2009, I went on board the replica of Captain Cook`s ship, Endeavour, which was one of the tourist attraction in Sydney Harbour. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Bark_Endeavour_Replica
And one of the things I learnt from that visit was that English sailors of that time would eat their meals on large square wooden platters and, since the sailors were all meant to work hard, they would all need to eat plenty of calories during the day – hence they should “get a square meal inside them”.
There you are then, a “totally” unique set of ruminations for you from Brazil, which may even have made you smile a little and brought you a tiny “Happy Moment” to go with all the others that I hope you are having from time to time. Hey ho! Now I have to decide whether to do something useful or I might go back to the hammock and ruminate a little more.
Perhaps another cup of English tea and back to the hammock. Toodle-pip!