There are very few people I would consider as massive examples of the brilliance of humanity. People who I would gladly bow down to and express my admiration and respect. The Dali Lama is one of them; Mark Hollis another, but after that I'd be hard pressed to think of another human being who I would regard as a demigod; someone who is a hero for humanity. Hard pressed but not impossible; there is one man who has encapsulated my life - he was there when I was just 7 years old, doing something extraordinary and unequaled.
Yesterday, the USA had the audacity to call Neil Armstrong 'a Great American Hero'. Sorry, but he was so much more than that. Yeah, he might have been American, but what he did was for all mankind - communists, free men, fascists, serial killers and benign benefactors. He wasn't Jesus, because he existed; he walked on the moon. He walked on another world and we watched, on our piddly little black and white TVs, with the pictures so crappy we could have been watching someone having a shit and wouldn't really have known otherwise. Neil Armstrong was one of a small select band of people who are unique; but he was a damned sight more unique than the others; he was the first and you know what first is, don't you? First is just before second.
It is remarkable that Armstrong was just 39 years old when he set foot on our moon; he seemed ancient to this 7 year old at the time. He shunned frivolous publicity; rarely gave interviews and seemingly didn't go barking mad like most of the other moon walkers. He was one of my true heroes; but I can't be selfish because he was one of the world's truest heroes and in a thousand years time the name Neil Armstrong will have as much resonance as it does today, while other men and woman will have been forgotten about.
Today the moon seems just a little lonelier.
Needs to Get out More
I met up with a colleague for a beer at the Wig & Pen on Friday. I am aware that if you get me on the wrong day I can talk for England; get me on that wrong day and on a subject I'm passionate about then you have no hope. My colleague, the head of our English department, was this poor unfortunate soul on Friday.
I think we both knew that talking shop was always going to be the order of the day, although I'm pretty sure we could both have talked about our varied and checkered lives without ever touching on the convoluted and archaic education system. I think I might have dominated proceedings, although I'm sure that not everything I talked about was bullshit.
I might be able to look back on this summer holiday and say, 'It was never long enough', but if I'm still in this job next year I think I'm going to try and get out more and talk to people, that way the uniqueness of talking to them when I do might be lessened to a degree.
The Language Barrier
My favourite restaurant in the world has dodgy service and staff whose grasp of the English language is patchy at best. The thing about Pooja is that it essentially catered for the Indian (mainly the Gujarati) community and pretty much anything they served you was going to set off explosions on your tongue.
But, Pooja is also a caterers, a sweet shop and almost a restaurant as an afterthought; this isn't the excuse for a lot of places. On Saturday, we went to my latest favourite Chinese restaurant - China Gold - on the main Kingsley drag. It caters for veggies, which is always a good thing; and the food we've sampled has been full of flavour and very impressive. Alarm bells should have been ringing when the petite little waitress came back and asked if she could check our order; it was a good job, because in the three minutes between taking the order and repeating it, two rice dishes turned into noodle dishes.
The wife ordered mixed vegetables in satay sauce; Roger ordered Chicken in oyster sauce. We got mixed vegetables in oyster sauce and no chicken dish. They solved this problem but for a while it was like pulling teeth; it was like no one understood simple instructions and the poor girl looked like we were shouting at her in Albanian. The wife said, quite rightly, if they struggle with English perhaps they should have each dish numbered. That makes far too much common sense...
Anyhow, they still kind of managed to cock things up. Roger thoroughly enjoyed Colin's and Colin ploughed his way through Roger's and neither seemed none the wiser. B ate her usual 50% or so and the wife and I polished off what we could before deciding we were stuffed. But, despite really excellent food, there was not one single person in the restaurant who could speak better than pidgin English and one thinks that it might be more prudent and a wiser economic mind that suggests they get at least one person on front of house that understands the peculiarities of colloquial English.
No Evidence of Autumn
The 5-day weather forecast today was the kind that pisses me off more than you could possibly imagine. The worst thing about my job (and the best thing) is the amount of holiday. The pisser is that I have no choice as to when I can take it, which means I no longer get the chance to have a September holiday; the time of the year when we can just about be guaranteed fine weather.
Pete Gibbs was the weatherman today. He told us all that this coming week; the last of the summer holidays, is going to be wet, windy and generally a bit worse than it should be. But... by next weekend the Azores high will build promising a prolonged period of settled, fine and warm weather, just in time for school to start. In fact, the long range forecast has it staying dry, warm and really quite sublime until at least the 20th September - the day of the autumn equinox.
There is little or no justice.
My Fingers Have Stopped Working
Remember when I did nothing but complain about my keyboard? Well, tonight it's remembered how to piss me off or my fingers might have become stubby and uncontrollable - either way I have had to watch what I write all evening as I'm making more mistakes than something that makes lots of mistakes.
Typical really as I was going to spend a couple of hours working on my story; you know the one I reckoned I was going to finish in 6 weeks... By the time the end of October rolls around I won't want to do anything during my half term break. And then I'll be 70 and dead - at least that's what life feels like at the moment. It just hurtles past at such a rate of knots it probably explains why I make so many mistakes...
- I have listened to: Colour Haze, Kid Loco, Hybrid, Florence, Bon Iver, North Atlantic Oscillation, Kasabian and Jonsi. Not bad going as I have avoided listening to much apart from the radio for the last week or so.
- We're taking the dogs to Heacham on Tuesday for sun, sea and microbreweries.
- I finally managed to move the greenhouse. Once I got the screws out it went quite easily - there's nothing like a bit of screwing in the garden. Its new home is snug and sheltered, yet is in a far sunnier aspect; plus it has freed up so much room down the garden that we're going to move the rhubarb! The shed roof is still going to be a mare.
- I dug up most of the remaining spuds. Fuck me, what an almost pointless exercise that was; I was happy because I found a couple of unexpected plants growing which seemed to produce far more spuds than the authorised ones. I think the weather fucked them up serious.
- Something happened to my PC the other day and as a result things don't appear to be working the way they should be; I've lost information that I can't lose (but I have). I don't have a virus; there's no bugs in it. It all was down to new versions of Google Chrome and Firefox. I tried to contact Google, to explain to them what happened and ask if why it has happened rather than how to fix it. Would it surprise you to know they didn't know what I was talking about?
- Apparently, my old employer is returning to comics and publishing. It appears he's launching a couple of new comics. Good luck with that. I wonder if he's seen what's happening to The Dandy and the fact that The Beano sells about 30,000 a week, compared to 2million back in 1970. Comics publishing = a fool and his money are soon parted.
- Binary Cheese