Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 21: Rest And Reading

And a bath. Rest and reading and a bath. Today was my day off. The watchkeeping works out that the day after you cook dinner, you are on duty from 03h00 to 06h00, then again from 18h00 to 21h00. The whole day of daylight hours is yours.

Incidentally, it was also our fresh water bath day.Only the second on board since the start of thevoyage. We took a hot shower on board at St Helena, as we had access to fresh water and could refill the tanks.

So it is now two baths later. Luckily we had to run the engines to charge the battery, otherwise it would have been a very cold affair. The weather is still grey. In fact, we ar now basically halfway across the Atlantic and still we have to see a full day of sunshine. Grey is the colour of this voyage thus far. But we are having fair winds, as the saying goes. We have been sailing continuously for almost three full days now. The motors running only to charge the batteries.

Needless to say, having done this before, I did not even bother to put out my fishing line today. The pressure is too low and the weather too cloudy for the fish to bite. Or perhaps I am just not into big game fishing. But at the end of today there had been no takes at all. Water to my grindstone.

I am taking the time to read some classic books. I finished The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and am a decent few pages into both the Odyssey of Homer and the collected works of Rudyard Kipling.

The Odyssey is rather filled with mythology. For me, being more of an outdoors person not used to reading at this level of idioms and figures of speech, it makes the going quite hard. I am reading a lot slower than anticipated. Perhaps this is what our English teacher warned against those many years ago. English is my second language, making it the more difficult to follow the story. Especially since it is written in verse, which complicates the story with yet more poetic license, if you will.

Kipling reads a lot easier. Perhaps due to the fact that he wote in English, while the Odyssey was witten nin Greek and then translated.

I like the way Kipling takes the mickey out of the bureaucracy of those days. It appears to me that he had a very healthy dislike of those men from the ministry, not to mention the pompous types you find in seats of power. Ruled by their egos and testosterone, no less.

Observed from my humble station in life, very little has changed from those days in the colonies to today. Except for the communication systems and transport, perhaps. But today you still find people in positions of power making decisions based on making their lives easier, not getting the job done better or more just. Tomes have been written in the academia about this phenomenon, so it appears that this is a human trait.

Perhaps with a yarn or two in there. I shall keep my ears pricked up and my eyes peeled, as the saying goes.

I remember my time in Nigeria, where I had a similar revelation. I read the Bible then as you would read a story book as opposed to religious studies. This to have something other than pornography to read. After some chapters, I realised that what is written there is practically playing out in the street outside my office. In those days of the mid 1990's there weren't many telephones in Nigeria, so much use was made of messengers with notes. You would send a messnger to make an appointment with an important person. Complete with a small gift. Then, closer to the day of the appointment, you would send another note confirming the appointment. Complete with a slightly larger gift. Exactly like Jacob did when he came back home after defauding his brother Esau out of his birthright.

And the clothing in Nigeria was exactly the same as in Biblical times. About the only thing that was different was the different forms of transport. Lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles instead of donkeys, mules and horses. But people mostly would walk where they wanted to be around town. And they behaved the same as in Biblical times.

And just as Kipling describes the behaviour of people in a different time in a different place in his poetry.

Interesting. The more I read, the more I realise that there is nothing new in the world.

The stories are the same.

And man's inhumanity to man has not changed in centuries.



Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-10-15


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