Published: June 24th 2012
June 24th 2012
Did the Vikings discover St Helena?
Your correspondent from the South Atlantic has had to buckle down to some serious work and energy levels have prevented me from undertaking any adventurous activities this week.
First, to answer some questions that will have been at the front of your collective minds:
The disappearing cat
was sighted once again (I think) as a Wahoo-coloured creature paced past the patio window again. No sign that the animal recognized ‘chez-nous’ as his second home. If, as I think it is, it is Wahoo then he has clearly either gone feral and is using the grounds as part of his hunting ground or, perhaps, someone else has fallen for his neutered but still masculine charms and is being fed elsewhere.
Despite some robust responses from some of this blog’s female readership, I have yet to be persuaded that a top 3
approach isn’t a more masculine way of spending one’s life but I am pleased that the idea isn’t entirely lost on some of the other half of the population.
So, what of interest? Well of course the skittles season has restarted, in its 9 a-side approach. I am sure that there must be some subtle differences from the 6 a-side format but I for one am at a loss to identify them. Apart from the fact that each player has 8 ends to play (thus, 24 shots with the ball) rather than 9 – much is the same. So, top 3 similarities:
1. It starts late (9.30) and finishes late – 11.30. I bet those pampered prima donnas playing Euro football would seriously object of they had to play a match at that time. Sir Alec would surely have a hissy fit!
2. Your correspondent still manages to understand only 10% of conversation as accents are very strong and hearing is still a little frail.
3. ‘Alcometers’ continues its losing run. Next week it’s the ‘Woodpeckers’, followed by the ‘Bandits’ and the even tougher challenge of the ‘Roller Belles’. Some strict training and greater use of the spin technique required!
Now, an interesting story about the airport that is being developed. I had a look at the site for the planned construction – Deadwood Plain is much as its name suggests, very barren and rather lunar in look. At a site visit for government folk (not yours truly) it was stated that the company in charge of construction would be using 6 million tons (or tonnes – I don’t understand the difference) of explosives to shift the required rock. 6 million (yes, 6,000,000) tons – doesn’t that sound an enormous amount? Thinking back to those bleak days of the 1960s when the USA and the USSR were arm-wrestling with nuclear testing, I’m sure that figures like this were being used then. 6,000,000 tons – strewth! Perhaps I should be spending my leisure time constructing a fallout shelter in the building site that is my garden. However, I have another theory. Amongst the very many fine qualities demonstrated by the people of St Helena, a facility with maths is definitely not one of them (the absence of any maths teachers at the secondary school – a current big issue of the island – does not help, but that is another story). I wonder whether someone saw what looked like a big number on the project sheets, didn’t count the noughts and thought that it might be called six million. However, if the figure is true, listen out for the explosion!
Now for my second theory – that the Vikings got here first! I shall speculate this week and it will probably be reported in the newspapers next week as verifiable truth. You got it first!
I suppose you wish to read about the basis of this theory. Those of you with good memories and strong stamina will remember that I mentioned in one of last year’s blogs that the soundtrack of the island is country and western music. It’s on the radio almost all the time. Now it is important to stay non-judgmental about the musical tastes of other people (unless ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba strays into anyone’s top 3 when it would be quite appropriate to scoff at this peculiar lack of musical taste), but I have to say that if I never hear ‘barman, please don’t serve my daddy anymore beer’ again it will still be too soon. Anyway, until today I didn’t get it – if the musical culture was based on songs of fishermen or whalers of the 18th
century I would understand it. Or, with its very British connection, I could understand a reliance on the Dave Clarke Five or Thunderclap Newman from the sixties. But Country and Western music – how did that get here and how did it become so big?
You, kind readers are the first to hear my theory. This afternoon on Saints FM radio I heard – and I know it will be hard to believe – I heard a platter played called ‘I love Norwegian Country’ with the second verse sung in what I assume is Norwegian. Now, it is clear where this is going. Our simple and naïve view of the Vikings as being violent pillagers is, clearly, a quaint and incorrect one. For it has become clear to me that the Vikings followed the ‘whale road’ in their long boats with slide guitars and banjos in hand, not the spear and sword depicted in school text books. So forget all that you have learnt about Viking myths and we must start a re-translation of northern hieroglyphics – for they surely tell us of ‘I see my wife and family only once a month but I am visited by Woden every day’ and other tales of prison life. My theory is, then, that the musical backdrop of the island is not ‘C & W’ but ‘C & N’ that travelled from the far north across to what is now America on the musical longboats skippered by Eric the Red. I can already see that you are convinced. What other explanation can there be for the playing of that truly appalling song?