Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Boots and nail varnish

Having retired at the age of 43, I'm regularly asked what do I do all day?

The answer to that today was easy - nothing. This is because today was the first "really nice day" of 2010 (it's been a shocking winter and spring, weather-wise on Flores) and it seemed rude after lunch not just to sit out all afternoon and enjoy it, reading books.

That was our garden at the back of lunchtime today and I hope you'd agree that the prospect of sitting in it reading was a very enticing propsect. However, there was a slight disappointment around 2.30pm when it came on rain. It was not heavy enough to force us inside but it was enough to make me change reading material. That's because I didn't want the pages of my book (about the British Fisheries Society 1786-1893, since you ask) to get crinkled in the rain so I swapped it for the Economist magazine.

We subscribe to the Economist, a British weekly news magazine which believes that democracy and an unrestrained free market will sort all the world's woes from mobile phone coverage in the Horn of Africa through climate change to volcanic ash clouds. But the book reviews are good - so good that they save you the trouble and expense of actually buying the book.

Anyway, I've digressed - where was I? Oh yes, reading about Yemeni politics rather than British fisheries in the rain to save pages being crinkled.

It later brightened up again but - after a wander with my camera during which our neighbour invited me into her back garden for the best view on Flores (above) - I decided to attempt to make a bit of a dent in the backlog of Economists with the result I'm at the end of January (2010) and am fully up to speed with the Haitian earthquake. (This reminds me of the moment in Blackadder when he's got to re-write Dr Johnson's dictionary in 24 hours and, having done "a", the indefinite article, says "Good. So we're well on the way.")

Anyway, after the sun goes down behind the hill behind our house, about 5pm in April (the current month, not the issue of the Economist I'm reading), it got a bit chilly so I repaired indoors for a spot of my other favourite leisure activity which crowds the hours of the day - making model aircraft.

I'm currently embarked on a 1950's Air France Super Constellation but have become bogged down in its "boots". To explain, the "boots" on 1950's airliners were devices along the leading edges of the wings and tail etc. to prevent ice build-up. They were rubber hoses which could be inflated periodically to cause the accreted ice to crack off. Anyway, Minicraft, the makers of the kit, have chosen to represent the boots by supplying black transfers you stick on and wrap round the leading edges. I could have told them this was impractical ... I'm losing you aren't I?

Long short, I felt a bit like the proverbial one-armed paper hanger asking Carol to bring me nail varnish as a last ditch attempt to apply something that might make these boots stick. But to no avail and I'm now embarked on a complicated masking job to apply the boots by paint - almost as egregious as sticking the broken propellor blades back on: how I suffer for my art to get an authentic 1950s airliner ...

Anyway, that's what I did today and it's 23.35. I'm off for a delayed chapter of British fisheries by way of relaxation before bed.


Marisa said...

Nice colours on the pictures. How I miss Fajã (saudades), and how I wish I could do the same, I'm reading Terra Nova from Anthony de Sá, about azorean migration and the catch of codfish in Newfoundland Banks, but only from 10 p.m ahead. This week we have formação (30 hours)about SNC wich is the new accounting system adopted in Portugal, just like being in the garden...As for the aircraft models I admire you because of my lack of patience and hability for hand work.

Kathie said...

1. Oo-o-o-h yay, Marisa, another Anthony De Sa fan here! I adore his "Barnacle Love," now out in paperback. I'd bought the hard-cover edition via Amazon last year, then packed it for a conference in PDL last fall that he was also scheduled attend, so he could autograph it for me. He's not only a gifted artist with the English language, but also a nice and unpretentious person. Hope you get to meet him someday, if you haven't already.

2. RE Neil's comment: This reminds me of the moment in Blackadder when he's got to re-write Dr Johnson's dictionary in 24 hours and, having done "a", the indefinite article, says "Good. So we're well on the way."

I can totally empathize, because I've just commenced translating another Azorean novel (ca. 240 pages), and still feeling beyond daunted. Woe is I :-(((

Kathie said...

BTW, is Ponta da Fajã Grande in the 2nd photo (that little cluster of white houses in the distance)?

Or is Ponta farther up the coast (i.e., not in the photo)? I ask because my paternal grandmother was born there, but I didn't know that yet at the time I visited Flores in 2002 (must come back soon!).

Marisa said...

Yes it's Ponta.

Kathie said...

Marisa, since you like Anthony De Sa's writing, you also might enjoy Lara Gularte's:

Like me, Lara has Henriques family roots in Fajãzinha das Flores (she also roots in Pico). Also like me, her family's been in Northern California for over 130 years! Unlike me, though, she was raised with awareness of her Portuguese heritage, which comes into play in her writing. Lara, Anthony and I all met at the same writers' conference mentioned previously :-)

Kathie said...

Should read:

(she also has roots in Pico).

eyanharve said...

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- St Austell Cornwall