Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Quinquireme of Nineveh

Test-driving my first Lexus I was directed down to Cardiff’s harbour, now overlooked by blocks of expensive flats. The older I get the more the thought of living in a flat terrifies me (I might be closeted next to a Carl Orff fan) but these were tempting. To look down on ships going about their business, a stirring yet comforting prospect. But why are ships so pleasing?

They move deliberately and this confers dignity. A bit like the Queen… no, no, what on earth am I saying? There may be a mathematical explanation. A 10,000-ton ship moving at a mere 2 mph is a formidable force. Watch when a mooring cable is slipped over a bollard and seemingly innocuous energy is dissipated in stretching the new umbilical cord. Most of us respond to power even when it’s only dimly perceived.

Close up ships are often disappointingly rusty; they start donning their make-up at half a mile distance. Many superstructures are still painted white and this is as it should be. At five miles even a container ship has good lines. One reason why those Cardiff flats are so expensive.

NOT ALWAYS FOR THE BETTER Blogger keeps changing. Installing an image now involves a slightly different procedure which is not as intuitive, not as handy. A few moments ago I discovered that my age is no longer listed in my profile. Perhaps Google is trying to protect me from ageism. If so I am denied a simple pleasure: having my span notch up another year on my birthday. Damn it, I need that confirmation.


Hattie said...

I like your observations here. Music, flats, ships, oh my. A Carl Orff fan. (His name sounds like his music, doesn't it. Orff orff orff orffity orff.)Or maybe someone who thinks "Bolero" is the most beautiful piece of music ever written and likes to play it at top volume. Try getting that one out of your head, ever.
As to flats: As a child, I lived in a flat upstairs from an old couple, and I was very noisy. My, they were grumpy. Wonder why.
And don't those big cruise ships look like hammerhead sharks when viewed from the front? Spending a week on one of them was quite an experience.

marja-leena said...

Ah, we've both been mulling about ships lately. And thoughts of flats too, for I dread the day we might have to 'downsize' into one, never ever having lived in one. Last night we were driving home from across the city, through a huge area of very tall highrises on the former lands of Expo '86 and it hit us again that we don't want to live in that kind of jungle. If needs be, I'd rather move to a little cottage in a remote village somewhere. I guess I've got hermit blood in me, except I'd still want my internet!

FigMince said...

Same age, same potential problem. But I may have it all worked out: Don't think of them as 'flats', but as 'spacious contemporary open-plan apartments'. Think of the buildings themselves as moored ships, and oneself as cargo. And make sure one's balcony is high enough for a definite resolution when one throws oneself from it a matter of days after moving in. As for the Carl Orff factor, at least it'll drown out the traffic noise from below. There - see how easy it all is?

Barrett Bonden said...

Hattie: Carmina Burana is one of the most insidiously horrible pieces of music I know, variously described as a "secular" or a "scenic" cantata. Someone invited us to a performance at the old Alexandra Palace and it was torture to listen to. The picture used with the post was culled from Google Images and I had intended choosing a working ship (for those are the ones that fascinate me) rather than a cruise ship. The latter are not a shared enthusiasm because we returned to the UK after six years in the USA via the SS France and the experience was far from pleasant. However the picture does show the relationship between the ship and the bollard.

M-L: As age creeps up on you I think the idea of a little cottage in a remote village will become less and less attractive. Age may, after all, interfere with your ability to drive a car; thus getting to the doctor may become a giant project. When my ex-employer held a seminar for those facing retirement (I was 55 at the time, for goodness sake!) the first recommendation was for a larger rather than a smaller house. When we moved from the London area to Hereford our overriding criterion was to be able to walk when picking up milk or a newspaper. This proved a good decision.

FigMince: You postulate a horrible future moment when I'm unable to distinguish between real prose and that disgorged by real-estate agents. Will I then care whether I'm hearing traffic noise or Carmina Burana? I know it's coming but until there's 100% proof I'll stagger on. I assume that land is cheaper in Oz once one moves away from the cities and bungalows predominate. This may at least ease the problem of those who find stairs hard to negotiate.

FigMince said...

Unfortunately, BB, here in Oz one gets what one pays for – and conversely one lacks what one doesn't pay for. In the case of my partner and me, we've had to trade-off spur-of-the-moment access to good cafés, theatre/opera, and regular face-to-face interaction with other people who think. And of course, as we dodder deeper into destiny, this will become even more of a problem. But we hope we never have to lower ourselves to a high-rise flat.

FigMince said...

Damn. On the subject of Carmina Burana, I meant to include the link below to what I can only describe as a 'take-Orff'.


Barrett Bonden said...

FigMince: Since it's Orff's music I find unbearable I had to grit my teeth for the tampered commercial. However it was worth the agony. Should I be down Oz way I'll remember not to drink Carlton, even if it's offered free.

Julia said...

If you're the curious type, apartment dwelling has its advantages! I almost miss our downstairs Ukrainian neighbor who liked to make comments at 2 in the morning out of his bedroom window. He unified the neighborhood so.

Carmina Burana brings the plague to mind when I hear it. Creeping, contagious and designed to raise a rash.