Monday, July 4

The Odyssey

I have been informed that it is a legal requirement to install one television set per 20 square metres in every public place in the Azores, I haven’t verified this but I have seen a lot of screens - all showing what appears to be the same continuously running soap opera featuring swarthy men and heavily made-up women in dramatic and emotive situations.

We appear to have been caught up with the drama, our days now cycle through a series of fairly predictable lurches from tragedy to triumph and back again.

Last Monday afternoon a lorry turned up with our Giant Cable which made us happy, but then we couldn’t get it off the truck which was awful … but then we did something terribly clever with poles and leverage - haha.

We celebrated our possession of the cable while choking on the smell of burning clutch left by the Giant Cable lorry who spent an hour trying to leave our property.

As the lorry finally heaved itself away an Austrian lady appeared with a truckload of dry wood, the wood was unloaded and we were very happy, the wood lady wanting to return home to her starving children got into her truck … which refused to start, we pushed her in her vehicle sending it cascading down the hill but still it didn't start - I hope her children are ok.

The principle location for our drama has now moved down to the harbour where our boat is moored and we are building a system for managing our equipment on the boat, a system that would gladden the heart of Heath Robinson - a knotty affair of pulleys, winches and fly-wheels, that has needed endless modification. Several days after we should be in the water we are still trying to make everything strong enough and balanced enough and not too heavy.

Our efforts would not have succeeded this far without the genius of the boat’s skipper and his friends who have pitched in on the whole glorious affair. To counter-balance all of this practical brilliance and to stop us feeling too positive we are also dogged by a Greek chorus of shaggy old men who stop by, often for hours at a stretch, to shake their heads and tell us that what we’re doing is rubbish and it’ll never work.

Our island is a very decorated place, wall paintings and mosaics are everywhere, the picture I’ve posted here is on a wall outside a restaurant where one can eat and watch the weeping/smouldering soap opera. Interpretations welcome.


  1. It has been my lifelong ambition to become one of those shaking head men.

  2. Swarthy men and heavily made up women? At least it's not the other way round.

  3. In the boat pix I note two people hanging over the side, apparently seasick. That would be me as well.

  4. I am currently on a course teaching me how to shake my head and, mark you, sucking my teeth. I hop to excel at it.

  5. The trifecta! smouldering soap opera, Heath Robinson ingenuity and the Greek Chorus.

  6. Ah, but is it high def TV with surround sound?

  7. I do hope that the weeping/smouldering soap opera is at least home-grown. If not, maybe you should script one, based on your own weeping/smouldering experiences of the Island Paradise!

  8. your life sounds like a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale

  9. I went on the suicidal drive down the hillside and austrian woman gets the credit? :(

  10. Old men love to say "rubbish"; my grandfather was rather fond of "useless" but it's generally the same idea.

  11. The wall painting is clearly a sign that in order to achieve success in your endeavours to float your boatload of equipment, without having it turn into a Greek melodrama, you must sacrifice two of your crew and feed one to the waiting shark in the water and the other body to the vultures circling in the air. This action will appease the gods and amuse the Greek chorus and the intended filming will continue without a hitch (which is probably still in a crate in Lisbon).

  12. Every year, I look forward to Pulleys, Winches and Flywheels Day at work. You are lucky to get it every day.

  13. Eryl - find a mop to pop on your head, get some ill-fitting clothes, scratch yourself a bit in public and you'll find the head-shaking part just flows.

    Madame DeFarge - wish it was

    xl - apparently seasick or did the other crew members kill them?

    Kevin - Looking forward to hearing of your progress.

    Dinahmow - it doesn't get better does it?

    Bill - of course!

    Gadjo - the weeping/smouldering soap opera comes courtesy of Brazil. Do the Romanians make their own?

    Nursey - macabre - yes!

  14. ms lizard - sometimes a story has to be simplified ... sorry!

    Mr red - one of the pleasures of old age - getting gristly!

    Louciao... I thought that too, we do have the kit now.

    Wow - when are we doing that job swap?

  15. Here's hoping that tomorrow and in fact the whole week are all a triumph.
    I'm sorry to say I had no idea where the Azores were and gasped with shock when I realised you were half way between Portugal and Rhode Island.
    What a bloody marvel you are.


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