Monday, 18 February 2008

New Job

Of Things Homely And How the Future May Just Change All That

Belle highlighted the existence of these colourful, home-made, crocheted rugs ... how many of you have these at home? (Above is a close-up of mine, bought at a church fair fifteen years ago.) Don't they instantly remind you of Granny? Somehow I think the futurist writers and such, in their vision of a cold, minamilist, stylised future sheered of all memorabilia, fail to take into account the power of nostalgia ... Or maybe they are writing of a post-holocaust world, when all such things have been wiped off the face of the planet. A kind of Post-Afghan-Rug World ... where people have long forgotten the art of crochet.
Speaking of futurist worlds - will they still have fridges in 2525? Sunday Scribblers recently did a What's In Your Fridge? theme ... January's fridge was amazingly chocka and organised. What is it with our fridge and those large litre-bottles lying on their sides you ask? Methinks it shows a badly-designed fridge without enough fat shelves. Or else, on shelves meant for the milk and juice containers, we store bottles and jars which really should be in a cupboard. (This is actually a habit I've picked up from ABM's family.) How many things do you have in your fridge, that don't need to be stored there? (I wonder if in the future all food will be dried tablets as the sci-fi writers would have us believe?)
Imagine life without a fridge. No more fridge magnet galleries.


Giving Notice

I've handed in my notice at the Albatross Colony. Decided not to stay for the winter season. The road out there is beautiful, but also very long, turning 8.5-hour days into 10.5-hour days. The albatrosses are certainly very cool birds and I will miss catching sight of their daily wind-surfing. However, I will not miss endlessly repeating the same introductory ten-minute talk three times a day.
I have been offered a position teaching at an Early Childhood Centre and will start there in a fortnight. I'm looking forward to working with 'littlies' again and the more spontaneous, cheerful nature of the work. And I am also looking forward to having normal weekends.

Baudelaire and the Albatross Connection

A woman from France told me today that she has dreamed of seeing albatrosses ever since reading a Baudelaire poem about the albatross when she was at high school. As she is seventy-one years old now, she has waited a long time. Meeting people like her is something else I will miss when I leave the colony.

(below is one version of the poem translated.)


Often our sailors, for an hour of fun,
Catch albatrosses on the after breeze
Through which these trail the ship from sun to sun
As it skims down the deep and briny seas.

Scarce have these birds been set upon the poop,
Than, awkward now, they, the sky's emperors,
Piteous and shamed, let their great white wings droop
Beside them like a pair of idle oars.

These wingèd voyagers, how gauche their gait!
Once noble, now how ludicrous to view!
One sailor bums them with his pipe, his mate
Limps, mimicking these cripples who once flew.

Poets are like these lords of sky and cloud,
Who ride the storm and mock the bow's taut strings,
Exiled on earth amid a jeering crowd,
Prisoned and palsied by their giant wings.

— Jacques LeClercq, Flowers of Evil (Mt Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1958)

The Plight of Albert, the Misguided Albatross

A story I like to tell the visitors to the colony is of the now-famous albatross, Albert, stuck in the wrong hemisphere after a tornado (or was it hurricane?) blew him into the wrong wind-cycle and made it impossible for him to return to his own southern hemisphere. Ever since, he has been on a fruitless search for a mate among the gannets. Here is the link for that story.
(You'd think it would be possible to have him air lifted to the right side of the world wouldn't you? I wonder why no-one does that?)


Live Feed

If you'd like to see the kind of thing that I have been looking at for the last few months, here is a live feed from the colony - usually showing an albatross sitting on its nest with a chick. NOTE: Northern Hemisphere readers - you'll have to look when it's light over here - so that may mean in your sleepy-time hours ... The chick is now getting to the stage where it is too big to fit under the parent and so is appearing more and more outside of the nest. The wooden boxes you see beside the nest are the predator traps - for ferrets, stoats (an animal similar to the ermine) and rats. Soon, because it's a big boy / girl now, the chick will be left alone on the nest and over the next six or seven months (through our autumn and winter) the parents will take turns to fly in and out to feed the chick a regurgitated slurry of fish, octopus and squid.



riverwillow said...

You've resigned? Although having made the trip along the road I can see why another winter is just too much. As I love your blog so much I've just given you an award, which you can collect from my blog.

rel said...

Always you come back to the "littlies". That is your calling for sure!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to see what material your sojourn there has prompted, CB.

I really love the Baudelaire poem, but much prefer it in its original tongue - it's so hard to render sense and nuance properly in translation - thanks for showing it here :)

And best of luck going back to the littlies... have you ever taught Creative writing...? I bet you're good.

Kay Cooke said...

riverwillow - Thanks for your visit! And thanks for the award - blush!

rel - Yes i think you are right. I'll stay put this time.

cailleach - I can't wait to get me some writing space so that I can see too!
Yes, I think you're right about translations - there were several on the site. I picked the French guy figuring he'd have the best shot at getting it right.

apprentice said...

Oh that poem made me cry.
I'm so glad you've back to working with wee ones, I know you missed them.

I can also understand that you'll miss encounters with people like the French lady.

Mama Llama said... have missed the wee ones. They will be more blessed by your presence. You can always ode to the delight of the albatross, but the children need all of that which you so lovingly give.

Be well, Chief!

Anonymous said...

Good luck for the new job! As for fridges, I had to empty mine yesterday in order to turn it off as I was leaving my flat. There was flat coke, cheese, some stuff my flatmate left there when she left in December! It looked kind of sad all empty when I turned it off!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

This is a fun post! You should write a children's story about the albatross blown off course to live on the wrong side of the world--it would be great! And you could devise a happy ending!

Gee, a fortnight is--two weeks, right? That always sounds like Shakespeare to me....

Love the Baudelaire. Flowers of Evil was one of the first paperback books I bought as a teenager...speaking of nostalgia. I can still remember what the cover looked like.

I am surprised you couldn't find my book on the net. Amazon has lots of copies for CHEAP--like a dollar, or something. Some are on ebay, they are there.

Best of luck with the new job!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Alibris has several--Amazon-uk has some. Google chrysalis joyce ellen davis.

Some nutjob has one for $199.44! Go figure.

Jan said...

You'll have gathered more and more images and stories and characters and happenings...

Mrs. G. said...

I hope all these new changes bring joy and excitement! Change is good.

S. Kearney said...

Oh, I'm really pleased about the new job. Congratulations! From big birds to small birds! From screeching of one kind to screeching of another! :-) lol

wendy said...

That's what I love about you. You are brave..and dare to make changes, when changes are due!

Becky Willis Motew said...

If you're giving notice, the very first thing you should note is your refrigerator shelves. They're not right, you should say. Although yours are fine and clean, unlike mine. I should give notice myself.

Can't wait to see the next outcome, CB.


kj said...

hello chief! what a fun post. sounds like another adventure's due you--with the "littlies" and their pure way of seeing the amazing world.

i'm starting a new gig also: a therapist seeing teens and adults often in their homes. i know from past experience how enriching this will be, for myself and my writing.

thanks for an uplifting start to my flu-ridden day!


January said...

I think your fridge looks rather organized. Loved peeking inside. And really, I'm not that organized.

Congrats on the new position. Just goes to show that something more exciting is just around the corner.

Harvey Molloy said...

Love this post! SF on film and TV would benefit from more Granny blankets, rugs and shawls. People will continue to want and love these. Keep it real: the future is not nylon & polyester!

Anonymous said...

well, congrats on the new job! i must say though, it's been great seeing all your photos from the colony and hearing about your time there.


Di Mackey said...

I understand, living at Broad Bay and Portobello one couldn't help but notice that cars in the harbour were relatively common on the icy mornings :)

I was lucky during my time there.

I thought I had a link to you but I'd taken it down where you went on summer holidays ... argggh, the panic of finding you again.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I love the blanket.
I love refrigerator art. I ask for it from all the little ones that I know.

I wish you the best of luck with your new endeavors; I'm sure it will be wonderful!

Our Chief Biscuit has flown the nest... ;o) to littler and better things!

Best to you!
Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Kay Cooke said...

Thanks all you lovely people - I am sorry I can't comment back personally. Time is a very precious commodity right now ... I promise to try and get on over to visit your places this week. I miss not having the time to visit y'all. However once I get settled into my new job and have more time to write my own stuff, I will be back! :)

Clocking Out

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