Saturday, 12 March 2011

Tsunamis, grammar, mayhem, mowers, migration

Yes, another week went by between blogposts.

I think I would prefer to have been less predictive of increased seismic activity, after the New Zealand earthquake only weeks ago. The latest 'quake/tsunami and its very major devastation to Japan is beyond anything we have seen since that Christmas Eve tsunami in 2004 which caused over 200,000 deaths. "Seen" is the operative word, because, through the mixed blessing of live aerial TV coverage, we the vicarious witnesses were watching (if we were watching) unbelievable sights of inundation sweeping inland carrying a jumble of buildings, vehicles, ships and ... everything. The forces of nature make our stupid human wars look even more ... stupid.

It's not possible to wallow in misery, for too long at least, because of  mayhem elsewhere, when our immediate patch is (touch wood) spared. Well, I can't manage it: sorry. I suppose we can make gestures; and I salute those who do more, like my former colleague Jim M., a medical doctor, who used to travel to trouble spots to be a volunteer medico with the International Red Cross for the disaster duration.

I was pre-occupied for four days this week with a long editing job helping one overseas author prepare his magnum opus for publication. English isn't that writer's first language (which is true for maybe 50% of my jobs). My software's automatic counter says there were close to five thousand editorial emendations or comments but that's a wild exaggeration (take too long to explain why). Lots, anyway. A friendly rapport developed, sufficient for me to play the grumpy schoolteacher and get away with it. I emailed the author: "You and English prepositions have a love-hate relationship." He pretended to laugh, showing he is polite and has a sense of humour - something he earlier accused me of having. But I only dared to be cheeky because the work was already paid for.

Brenton fixed my elderly Victa mower which I have owned since it was a baby. This morning, out of sheer bravado, I started it up. Fired first go! Hadn't meant to, but I got carried away and went on to cut the bit of couch grass between the plum tree and the older of the two pear trees.Been so long since it was last done that I had pretty much forgotten how it goes, and the grass got the shock of its rather long (30cm) life. Happily, the area is not large. I now envisage importing a tiny herd of wildebeeste to deal with it in future. I suppose they could adjust to a migration pattern taking them around the Yorke Peninsula over the course of each year, although I dunno what the barley farmers will say... but the wildebeeste will enjoy not having rivers with crocodiles to negotiate, like on those Nat Geo docos.

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