This morning I headed into town. This marks the first Sunday I’ve walked into town since forever. I can’t remember but it must have been sometime before Lockdown stopped that sort of thing. So, it was a bit of a novelty, particularly given I was walking into town without my wicker trolley.
The reason I went into town this morning was in order to have a long overdue coffee with Andrew. This is in spite of Andrew regularly forgetting to message me back.
I have to admit I wasn’t keen on the mask wearing by the staff. In fact, if not for the name badge, I wouldn’t have recognised Ivana. Sam and Sandra, who I have known for years, were both instantly recognisable. It never ceases to amaze me how humans recognise each other from such little information.
Andrew, sitting at a table, wasn’t wearing a mask but I reckon I’d recognise him even if he had a knight’s helmet on.
We had a lovely hour and a half just chatting – mostly me, I’m afraid – about things we can no longer do. In fact, I was telling him about my trip to Museum Island and about how much I loved Berlin when a woman sitting near us spoke up and said it made her quite sad. When we asked why, she said it just reminded her of all the places we couldn’t go to any more.
She must be very scared because you can still go to Berlin, at the moment. Actually, you can still go to most places in the Northern Hemisphere. You just have to quarantine yourself in some countries and there might not be a lot of places you can visit without a mask. Which, when all is said and done, is pretty much the same as here.
After she’d left, we talked about many other countries we’d visited in our lifetimes and Andrew told me a funny story about a trip he once made to New York.
His sister worked as a hostess for BA and, before she married, was able to get him heavily discounted journeys around the world. This particular journey he asked if he could visit the cockpit. His sister asked the flight crew if her brother could come up front (this was years ago before religious extremists ruined that little bit of joy). They said sure.
Andrew thinks they may have thought he was going to be some eager ten year old because they were quite surprised when he turned up.
The pilot, he said, was sitting with his lunch in his lap, chewing away on a sandwich. The co-pilot was reading a newspaper, his feet up on the dash. When Andrew appeared, the co-pilot put the paper away and described all the complicated controls.
At one point, he asked Andrew what he did for a living. Andrew told him he was the golf pro at a local course. The co-pilot suddenly sat upright and grabbed hold of the joystick, swinging it towards Andrew. His hands gripped the joystick in a golf hold.
“I’ve been having problems with my grip,” He said. “What do you think about this?“
The pilot, not looking up from his lunch, explained to Andrew that they were on automatic pilot and not to worry about his partner’s seemingly rash banking manoeuvre.
All in all, we must have swapped at least a dozen anecdotes from our chequered pasts before he had to head off to pick up a fare and I wandered back home.
The weather was all a bit drizzly so Emma had to be content with chasing her tennis ball around the extension. Freya wasn’t bothered.
This morning when I walked into town, I took my phone out to take my usual photo for blog inclusion (it’s the one above) but my phone was still in selfie mode and I accidentally took a picture of myself. I liked it so much that I retook it with me smiling.
I don’t often like photos of myself but I reckon this makes me look like a jolly old chap. And that’s a look I like.
Today, this happened
Today is the Pataphysics Saint day for Saints Gigolette and Gaufrette. A gigolette refers to a type of cooking but it is also a slang term meaning a promiscuous young woman. A gaufrette, according to the Webster dictionary, is “a wafer of crisply fried potato cut to resemble a small waffle.“
Pataphysics, was a sort of pseudo philosophical movement created by French writer, Alfred Jarry. It emerged in France and was mentioned first in a copy of the daily Paris newspaper, L’Écho de Paris in 1893.
The concept is all a bit confusing. There are over 100 definitions of Pataphysics, none of which seem quite serious. Maybe that was the point. As far as Jarry was concerned, and he also had quite a few differing definitions, it was “…the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments.“
In broad terms, it seems to me, it may have been an attempt to explain the world in unscientific forms but in a scientific way. All while having a bit of a laugh.
Part of the Pataphysic philosophy was the creation of a new calendar. It consisted of 13 months, each with 28 days. Each day had a new saint for it. Some of the saints were writers, artists, philosophers, or just people Jarry (and his chums) knew but, also, things like waffles.
The Beatles mentioned Pataphysics in Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It is the branch of science studied by Joan in the song. This was a mondegreen for me. I thought the lyric was “Joan was quizzical, studied fact and physical, science in the home. ..” when, in fact, it is “Joan was quizzical, studied Pataphysical Science in the home…”
The general concept of Pataphysics continues to this day through the establishment of the College of Pataphysics. While the original Paris College was disbanded in 2000, there’s an offshoot in London called the Institute of Pataphysics.
The Institute, established in September 2000, is quite active in promoting the philosophy. It has presented exhibitions, hosts a small museum and even has an orchestra. The orchestra, in true Jarry style is called The London Snorkelling Team. They are delightfully strange.
Was Jarry merely taking the piss out of the many philosophical movements of the Belle Epoch? I like to think so.
Still, let’s not forget Saints Gigolette and Gaufrette…just in case.