fredag den 31. januar 2020


  Det er efterhånden en tradition at Uglemor sye en woowly eller to til nytår. Denne gang kom Skribenten med en skjorte, der var helt slidt op. Den havde en pæn farve, stoffet var interessant, og så sad der nogle mærker hist og her. Uglemor så straks et woowly-par for sig og gik i gang. Nok engang er den oprindelige opskrift fra Moonstitches blevet modificeret. Denne gang er bunden blevet større. Det pynter, synes Uglemor.
  Woowlien til højre kunne måske godt have fortjent lidt mere fyld. Der er noget komisk over parret her. 

  For some years now MotherOwl has made a woowly or two to celebrate the new year. This time around The Writer discarded an old shirt. It was worn out. But the fabric was interesting, the buttons shiny and it had small labels sewed on. MotherOwl saw woowlies, salvaged some not so worn pieces and began sewing.
  Once again she modified Moonstitches's original pattern, this time making the bottom circle larger. Better, MotherOwl thinks.
  Maybe the rightmost woowly could have used some extra stuffing, but they are a funny pair.

-- 🦉 --

Fyldet kommer fra sidste års stumpekrukke.
 The stuffing was taken from last year's ORTs jar.

torsdag den 30. januar 2020

The Dragon and the George - Review.

This book was written by Gordon R. Dickson in 1976

  It is a fantasy novel set in a parallel England, where dragons, magic creatures, magicians, bowmen, outlaws and knight errants roam the lands. Dragons call all human beings a George, from Saint George and the Dragon.
  It is a story of good versus evil, honour versus cowardice and avarice. Where virtues and vices are part of the daily pattern of life, and life is harsh, yet more colourful.

  Our protagonist, the George, named  Jim Eckert, and who is doctor in medieval history is together with his fiancee, another George, named Angie Farrell, magicked into this world, and into the body of a dragon, Gorbash. The story tells of Gorbash/Jim's quest to find Angie, and return to his own body and his own world.
  During this journey he makes strange friends and meets even stranger foes. He learns a lot about himself and about the true meaning of courage. The book ends on a happy note, speaking of an armistice if not more between the dragons and Georges of this realm. How it all ends for Jim Eckert, I won't reveal.

  • Read for fun, from my Christmas gift pile.
  •  For the European Reading Challenge this should count as United Kingdom even though it is an alternative England, The wolf Aragh at least keeps insisting that he is indeed an English wolf.

onsdag den 29. januar 2020

Memories of Italy -- Words for Wednesday 29 January.

Perugia - Railway station.



"Today is the day of St. Constantius of Perugia," MotherOwl told the Owlets as they returned home from school.
"Perugia, where's that?" The Pirate asked.
"Oh I forgot you're not all veterans of many travels." MotherOwl said. "When we were younger, and had no Owlets yet or just one or two, we traveled a lot. We went by train traveling Europe for a month each summer. Mostly we went to Italy. And Perugia is the town where you change train from the main line Florence - Rome, to the smaller branch leading to Assisi. We arrived there one day long ago with BigSis and BigBro, then just a baby. We stranded in Perugia that day. We arrived at noon and the next train was not leaving until five o'clock. We then decided to go shopping, and maybe even splurge on something to eat, lasagna or something like it. And you know what?" MotherOwl asked.
"No!" all the Owlets answered.
"Well every shop, restaurant and inn was closed from 11am to 6pm for siesta."
"Inconceivable!" the Owlets shouted.
"Yes," MotherOwl nodded. "And on a Tuesday even. We just filled our water bottles at a fountain, walked through the pretty city, enjoying the views, and then we sat in the waiting room until the train finally arrived and rescued us from that sleeping town."
 "Please tell us more, MotherOwl," the Owlets said.
"Assisi was lovely. Absolutely lovely. We all loved the city. Your dad and I because of the churches, St. Francis and all that. Big Sis liked the churches too, but the very best was the ice parlour in the main square. They had 30 different tastes in ice cream, and it was not the same 30 each day!"
"Ohh!" and "Ahh!" was heard from the Owlets. "Was everything always nice on your travels?" Marsupilami asked.
"Oh, no it wasn't" Mother Owl continued. "Remember, we did not have much money. We stayed at cheap inns, convents or campsites. Once we stayed in an old tower, a really old one. The couple running that place were old, almost blind and deaf. The sheets smelled of stale cigar smoke, the dresser was full of last year's dust bunnies, and we even saw a cockroach or two in the bathroom.
"Yikes!  What did you do?"  The Pirate asked.
"We did not eat anything there, and we opened the windows wide whenever we were in the room. But the town was fantastic. A medieval town with fortifications, walls and towers. You could almost imagine knights in shiny armour and ladies in wonderful dresses and mendicant monks still walking the streets. It was a wonderful time."

Halfdan Rasmussen 105 år

     I dag er det Halfdan Rasmussens 105 års fødselsdag. I den anledning bringer Uglemor et af de otte af hans børnerim, der er blevet bortcensurerede i den nyeste udgave af hans samlede værker. Jeg vil gentage dette på de næste 7 fødselsdage hvis jeg lever så længe.
     Denne censur gør mig ondt, dels fordi de ord, han brugte, dengang var neutrale ord for folk og folkeslag og det derfor burde være muligt at bringe dem - eventuelt med fodnoter eller et forklarende forord. Dels fordi slags amerikanske tilstande med fornærmelses-parathed og følsomheds-censur på andres vegne ikke burde forekomme - og da slet ikke ramme Halfdan Rasmussen, der faktisk var en stor og modig forkæmper for folk, frihed og menneskerettigheder og imod censur. Hans vers om Bødlen for eksempel burde være tvungen læsning for alle mennesker i hele verden.

-- 🎂 --

  Today is the 105th birthday of Halfdan Rasmussen. Maybe one of the greatest Danish contemporary poets. MotherOwl holds him in high esteem, and on the occasion of his birthday I publish one of the eight rhymes for children that was censored from the latest collection - and will continue to do so for the next seven birthday, if I live long enough.
  This censorship grieves me as Halfdan Rasmussen is truly a great fighter for freedom and equality, his pen wrote the Danish verse that was turned into Each Small Candle.
  The words he used, were the at that time neutral demonyms, and the verses should be included, maybe with a footnote or a preamble.

   There won't be an English translation. For two reasons:
-  First and most important. My less than perfect English translations made the verses rather pedestrian.  I mourn the fact that I'm not a poetic genius able to render them full justice. His equilibristic verses are serious even at their most playful, and never serious without at least a touch of humour.
- Second and with regrets I censor myself (but only in English - please feel free to use Google translate). I do not want to offend any thin-skinned and senstitive (American) readers of this blog. I've had far too many not so nice comments and experiences already in 2020, and I don't want any more.

-- 🎂 --

     En liste over alle de bortcensurerede vers og hvor de er udgivet. Jeg begynder med nummer 1.
  All the censored verses and from which book they originally came. I'll just begin with number one.
  1. Lille negerdukke (Børnerim) (2020)
  2. Hittehattehættehuer (Børnerim)
  3. Rikke (Børnerim)
  4. Negerdukken lille Sam (Børnerim)
  5. Sikken et hus (Børnerim)
  6. To små negerdukker (Børnerim)
  7. Nogle øjne er så smukke (Halfdans rim)
  8. Alle bilerne fra landet (Halfdans rim)
Lille negerdukke                       Little Negro Doll
Lille negerdukke                         Little Negro doll
sover i min seng                          is sleeping in my bed
sammen med en dejlig                together with a lovely
gul kineserdreng.                        yellow Chinese boy

Jeg har sunget mine                    I've sung both of my
kære børn til ro,                          dear children off to sleep
klappet dem på kinden,               Patted their small cheeks,
kysset begge to.                          given both a kiss

Vi er een familie.                       We are one family,
Børn af samme jord.                  children of the same earth
Sov, min sorte søster!                Sleep, my black sister!
Sov, min gule bror!                    Sleep, my yellow brother!

-- 🎂 --

I bogen er der en charmerende tegning af en lille pige, der sover sammen med sine dukker. Ikke helt korrekt ifølge teksten, men den er altså sød. Undskyld den ringe billedkvalitet af scanningen her.

-- 🎂 --

In the book there's a charming illustration of a little girl sleeping with her dolls.  Not quite according to the text, but sweet anyway. I'm sorry about the poor quality of this scan.

tirsdag den 28. januar 2020

Mary & Allan The End 2

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

  Well, I decided to end this story as I had planned, and I got to use the word I needed for this final installment. 
  The word, I hoped for to get was: Interdependence.
  Here at the ending of this story, I want to thank you all for comments, encouragement and corrections. Although I have not answered all comments, I have read them all and appreciate them very much. 
   Thank you all!

  Allan rubbed his eyes, and rubbed them once more. Then he jumped up and down on the slippery surface, he slipped and al most fell, He stood still and the he yelled at the top of his lungs: "Here. We are here. Up here at the white cliffs!" He pulled off his jacket and waved it through the air. Richard came running up to him. "Look, Allan said, "I think I can see something sailing over there. He pointed landwards and to the north. "Could you run down, carefully, fetch that megaphone, and ... oh just get everybody up here and whatever they find useful.
  In an amazingly short time everybody had congregated at the northernmost end of the cliffs. Hank had brought binoculars, Tom the megaphone, Ulla held a twin in each hand, while her  husband carried the baby sister under one of their very few umbrellas. Richard had grasped a pair of father Paul's lanterns and a long branch. He tore strips of a rag, and after wetting them in the oil, he made a primitive torch by twisting them around the branch. He lit it and carefully weaved it to an fro. Tom yelled in the megaphone, and Allan still waved this jacket.
  Hank said: "What strange looking boats. It looks like huts only on rafts. It is, as far as I can see, pulled by a rowing boat of great size, manned by only four."
"Taking turns rowing, like we are, Ulla guessed. "Can you see more?" 
  "Yes. They've seen us - a person in the boat is standing up and waving with something bright and yellow. and they're getting over here."
  "That's a freaking settlement," Hank said. "Complete with floating gardens and huts. Whoever build something like that?"
  "My Mary." Allan said in a disbelieving voice.  "It would be just like her to have a garden no matter what - even the end of the world."
  As the floating village came closer still, faces could be seen tin the doorways of the huts.
All the people from the plane walked gingerly down the cliffs to the place where the settlement would land.
  Allan tapped Hank on the shoulder and asked for the binoculars, Hank handed them to him without a word. "It IS Mary!" Allan yelled: "Hello Mary! Welcome to Møn."  And then he began crying again.
 Robert plucked the binoculars from Allan's hands and began studying the settlement.

  They all sat inside the plane in the evening, feasting on hot coffee and only slightly dry lebkucken. "Finally lebkuchen," Allan sighed. It was time for tales.


  "As the water began rising," Mary continued. "we realized that we would need boats or at least one boat. It was a slim chance, but Pete and George sat out on foot. They walked to Castle Kronborg, because some of us remembered seeing bots inside the museum in the dungeons there. And they found boats, two small boats. What more is, they found people. They found Elizabeth there," Mary pointed the the smiling young woman, sitting next to and hand in hand with an incredibly happy and young looking Robert. "They had been visiting the dungeons, and hunting down those four children over there who had been lost playing tag in the big rooms down there. When they returned ... well you can all guess. They had been living off bags of candy and their lunch packages ever since, water was no problem as it steadily runs down the walls in there."
  "Nasty place." Lisa said. "We were really getting desperate, debating whether to just go out and see what would happen, when you arrived."
  "And then, in the two small boats, we crossed the Øresund, then only a bit wider than its normal 3 kilometers, and rescued Bengt and Astrid here from the dungeon in Helsingborg.
  "Oh dear," Astrid said. "We had been visiting Kärnan, the old fort in Helsingborg. As we were about to mount the stairs leading up from the dungeons, I slipped on the lover step. I think my arm is broken. Anyways, Bengt stayed with me, they promised to send help. But then an almighty roaring sound was heard, and rubble fell from the hatch. Bengt spent the next many days painstakingly pulling down rocks, stones and rubble, while I just sat, or lay half conscious from pain. When he finally reached the surface and told me about what he had seen outside, I thought that I was having a nightmare. But as no help arrived, I realized it was true. We had resigned, and as the staircase broke as  Bengt removed a really stubborn stone, we just gave up. Then we heard Pete yelling outside.  We were pulled out ... and here we are."
  Sarah and Fred took care of her arm, It was broken, and badly set. All they could do was bandaging and supporting it. "It might never be as good as new," Fred said. "But it should stop hurting at least."
  "And while the boys were out saving those precious people, the rest of us were building a floating village and planting seeds. Somewhere along the planting, we also discovered, found out might be a better word, that when it has been wet through for some time, the fluff stops itching, stops being fuffy anb begins acign like normal soil afgain.
   "Yes," Allison said. There's some organic, needle like compounds in it. They're quite interseting ... but your tale is more so, do continue."
Mary smiled and continued: "When they returned, by boat, and faster than expected, we sent them to more places with deep cellars or dungeons, but no more people were found until we, slowly and towing our village with the two small boats, came to the Fort and War museum in Stege. There we found two young girls, Susan and Janne and a boy Michael, from the fort. They had been on duty in the lower ends of the fort as the Wave passed. They lived off the cafeteria food and were about to set out in that big boat after having prepared all the edibles down there for a longish trip. Then we passed here, and the rest is history."
  The next day was spent moving crates and luggage from one place to another, It was not a question whether to bring the village or not, but how to. The small cooking hut was given over to storage of heavy crates after dumping of the slabs of glazed ground used for fireproofing.
  In the evening, Mary, Jill, Granny T and Mathew were happily cooking, comparing notes on plants and all in all felt very happy.
  After the evening meal a discussion arose. Most of the people spoke for several small, self-containing settlements spread at equal distances along the foot of the mountain range. Those not in favour, were mostly found among the older segment, and were not taken quite seriously.
  Then Mary rose from her seat next to Allan: "Now you listen to me," she said. Her eyes were shining and her cheeks had red spots. This is important: "The thing that has made humanity top notch is not our muscle power - we're a scrawny lot compared to most species. It's not our big brains either. Many species boasted bigger brains compared to size, and even smarter brains. No our asset, our sole asset, is knowledge, more specifically our ability to share and the pooling of knowledge." They all fell silent and listened. Mary drew a deep breath: "And if there's one thing I have learnt, first from the reading of books like The Day of the Triffids, and later from my voluntary working with refugees, it is how quickly knowledge is lost or deteriorates. Of course we could manage in small communities. We could stay alive and eek out an existence. Maybe. You're all young and strong, and we oldies could be spread out, teaching, taking care of the children? They would most decidedly not learn all I know, even less yet all we know all together. No way. We'd be back to the stone ages in a few generations." A stunned silence ensued, and Mary continued:
  "Take the refugees I used to teach as an example. They were neither stupid, nor unintelligent. The old ones were mostly quite erudite; doctors, technicians, engineers, most of them speaking more than one language fluently apart from their own, as was a few of the parents too. The very young ones were OK, noting special. But the teens and the young adults! Those who had spent their formative years being on the run, surviving ... So many basic skills and knowledge they did not have. I remember proposing an outing to the forest. Many of those teens did not want to come. As I asked them why not, it was because they were afraid of dangerous animals in the woods. At that time I just smiled, and told them that vipers, wasps and ticks were the worst they could come up against. But I've been thinking. They had been to school here, learned Danish, how to read and write and so on. But their basic skills, those that we assume is learned automatically as we grow? It is not the way it happens. You have to have time for learning, for playing and growing. Else you grow up an ignorant." Mary drew a deep breath and went on: "Take Robinson Crusoe. Did he survive on his own? Yes and no. He had books, he had knowledge, he even had tools. He was not alone. Now imagine him wholly alone, cut off totally from the rest of the world on that island of his - give him a wife and imagine then having children. How much would they learn? And their children's children? Learning, coping and development all stems from a surplus. If the children have to work from early age to avoid starvation, how will they ever learn?
  "But what does this mean for us?" Ben asked.
  "The answer is interdependence! This means that we'll have to stay together. And even try to find more people. Make a town, an old fashioned rural community with houses in the center, fields all around. And many small towns like this centered around an even larger one for higher education and for luxury items like soap, candy and books. This is a dream, the ideal state, I said, I don't even know if we can find enough people to get over critical mass, to have this surplus."  Mary said soberly. "So far we do not know haw many survived, or even if we will survive the coming years. But together we have a chance. Together we have hope."
  Mary sat down to a thundering applause.

  And this is where I end. 
  Maybe the Snowdrifts will make their way into a chapter of Susan's story. I have been sorely neglecting her.  And tomorrow is a new Wednesday with new words.
  But I think I'm going to have an itsy-bitsy writing break first. I have written more than 25.000 words to tell the tale of Mary and Allan.

Mary & Allan -- The End?

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Zoom.

  As you see, I end the title in a question mark. I an myself a sucker for happy endings, and do not like the story to end here. What do you, my faithful readers say?
  Also I have some words left over yet for my happy ending. 

  After the mouse incident, life went on much the same. Even greater care was taken to leave nothing lying around for the mouse to get into. Day by day Allan grew more sure that he was right, The coastline looked as if it could be the eastern coast of Zealand, and when they passed some cliffs still standing tall and white over the water, he was sure. "Of course, I could be totally mistaken, and this could be the white Cliffs of Dover or somewhere else, but I'm sure, or at least as sure as humanely possible, that this is the Cliff of Møn." He took a deep, steadying breath and continued: "For sentimental reasons I'd like to stop here for a while. It was the first place I ever went with my Mary, we went camping as newlywed, biking trough Denmark. And our first stop not visiting friends and families was here. On Møns Klint."
   Tom placed his hand on Allan's shoulders. "Yes. I would have suggested a day or two of rest soon anyway. We are all getting restless and a day or two of walking and doing something but sitting inside the plane would sure do us all good."
   They tied the plane to the cliffs and hoisted a tall mast with brightly coloured rags on it on the most prominent spot. The twin boys Adam and Benny chased one another, zooming along the top of the cliffs where they were broad sand fairly flat. Allan walked slowly, all by himself all the way to the top of the cliffs. There he stood for a long time looking out over the brownish-grey water and the relentlessly falling rain. Then he turned around, seeing the slowly drowning hills and islands, that once was his and Mary's home. He wept. He sat down and hit his face in his hands. Now, he admitted to himself, there was not anymore much hope of finding survivors, even his dear Mary. When he had no more tears left, he wiped his eyes in his sleeves, to no avail, he was wet allover. He stood up, and let the rain, now colder by several degrees than his skin, wash away all traces of his tears.

mandag den 27. januar 2020

Poetry Monday :: Duty

  The only thing that my mind dug up on the prompt Duty, was this old poem. 
   I think I wrote it myself, in Danish, but I might have been inspiret by something I saw somewhere in another language, In short: If I have stolen it somewhere, then please tell me so - I have been looking, but never found anything.  The translation does not rhyme ... almost.
  In my book it bears the title New Years' Resolutions 2011. That's how old it is. The translation was made today. 

Gør noget for din næste
gør noget for dig selv.
Gør noget for dit legeme
og noget for din sjæl.
Gør meget af det sjove
og noget af det trælse
gør mindre af det grove,
på vejen mod din frelse.

-- 😇 --

Do something for your neighbor,
do something for yourself.
Do something for your body,
and something for your soul.
Do lots of what is needed,
and something that is fun.
And work on your salvation,
until your life is done.

Rainy Days 2 - WfW 22/1 - 6th part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Gargled and Deviled.

Finally the moment had come. All knots were tied, all ropes fastened, every twig in the outriggers has been tested and re-tested. It was time to leave Allan's Dunes. Already yesterday most of the dunes had been under water, with only the highest tops visible as round, glassy islands in the streaming water. Now they were slowly being swallowed by the water. The boats were manned, four to each. They had decided to set out at a slow pace, rowing slowly, changing oarsmen every half hour or at even shorter intervals if needed. The air had become steadily cooler and richer in oxygen during the downpour, so only their lack of training was the limiting factor. They had also decided to have one man armed with a pole in the front of each boat, sounding the depths and watching out for hidden reefs and shallows. Slowly the plane, pulled by two boats glided towards the west to get clear of Fantasy. Allan stood in the boat to the right with a pole, testing the depth of the water along the shore. He called out the depth at regular intervals, and as the numbers steadily increased, the oarsmen in his boat took a break so that the plane was pulled due north.  Slowly they navigated the plane through the opening between the outcroppings, the man with the pole in each boat calling his measurements repeatedly, the rowers going as slowly as possible. And then the soundings were 'all clear' from both boats, they could no longer touch the bottom with their stakes. Once again the rowers  in Allan's boat rested, and the plane was pulled to the east. Still slowly, still testing the depth the eight rowers pulled at the oars, and the plane set out on the long journey for higher ground.
  It was slow and tedious work moving the plane. Each morning began with inspection of boats, outriggers, plane bottom and equipment. Those not rowing spent the days aboard the plane listening to the endless rain. On the second day of the trip, Granny T organized classes in cooking, sewing, woodworking and what skills anybody possessed. It was both something to do, and a way of making survival more of a possibility.  Each evening the windows of the plane each had a lantern hung in front of it. If anybody else should have survived, the plane would be plainly visible also in nighttime.
  It soon became routine. They all woke at first light, extinguished the lanterns, inspected the equipment and made breakfast. After eating it, rowing began, crews exchanged at half hour intervals, classes, tending of plants, washing, drying and mending of clothes, cleaning and tidying of the cabin. In short, a new daily routine. Before darkness fell, dinner was prepared, everything inspected once again. After dinner lanterns were hung in the windows they sung, or told stories, held quizzes and spelling bees until it was time to sleep.   
  A week in Granny T and Mona returned from their morning trip to the cockpit-nursery with the good news that the broad beans and black radishes had sprouted. Almost everybody had to sneak into the cockpit during the day to see for themselves the green, hopeful sprouts.
 A few days later, Eva was awakened by a strange noise, She jumped up, which made her sprained ankle hit something in the dark, and her cursing woke up more people. "It sounded for all the world like somebody gargling," she said. "But it has stopped now."
  Gargling or gurgling sounds sounded ominous to Hank. It could be a hole in the outer hull, letting in water, or some other sinister happening. He inspected the outer hull, as best he could, aided by father Paul's lanterns but he did not find any holes or leakages. The strange sound did not reappear during the night but next morning by daylight a strange hole was found in one of the water-buckets in the kitchen nook.

  "It's a mouse!" Allison said. "We'll have to catch it, but NOT to kill! It might be the last animal on earth." People aboard the plane had mixed feelings about a mouse. Some were happy, some found it nice with animals, but why mice! Some wanted to kill them outright. Mona and father Paul constructed a trap from metal bars, hooks, and a long, narrow piece of wood mounted in a see-saw fashion. The mouse could get in, but not out. Next morning a small mouse with bead-like black eyes looked at them through the lattice around the trap.
  Allison examined the mouse. "I know you will have a hard time believing me, and an even harder time trusting me, but this mouse is a mamma mouse, She has a litter somewhere, we just have to let her go. In three weeks we can catch them all."
  "Can you eat mice?" That was Ulla, the mother of three.
  "Yes," Allison said. "The Romans found deviled mice to be a delicacy, and luckily this mouse is not one of the disease-carrying species. Had it been, I would have suggested killing it directly. Let me release it and it could be the beginnings of a mouse farm."
  Everybody saw the  wisdom in this, even though James said: "You won't make me eat any mice."
  And John echoed him: "No, no way you'll make me eat one of those."
  The mouse, released, made a bee-line for the kitchen nook, where it disappeared behind a cabinet.
  "OK!" Mona said "I'll personally flog the person that leaves the cockpit door open to within an inch of his or her life. Mice in the plants is NOT going to happen."

søndag den 26. januar 2020

Rainy Days 1 - WfW 22/1 - 5th Part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Headphones.

  Allan facepalmed. "Yes of course. I feel so stupid now," he said. "The waters of Antarctica and Greenland combined will make sea level rise about 70 meters. Warming of the water would add an extra 30 meters or more. A 100 meters higher sea level would make this whole region underwater except for a few, small islands. We'll have to go south."
  "What about the Arctic ice?" Tom asked.
  "Why south? Why not east or even north?" Henny asked.
  "The Arctic ice cap was more like a giant ice cube, it mostly floated. Hence it contributes very little, if at all, just like a melting ice cube won't make your drink overflow. The warming of it will contribute of course." Allan looked at Henny: "Unless we were very much off course, which I seriously doubt, south is the shortest way to higher and I think better land. East and north would take us to the stony reaches of Sweden's ridges. We'd like somewhere a bit more level."
  Tom got up. As the former captain of the plane, he still had some authority. He clapped his hands: "Everybody, dress up and get out. We need to evacuate Allan's Dunes immediately. Up till now, we have been adoing too much and thinking too little. cting. Now we've got to have to act again to avert more disaster. But afterwards ... We need to think."
  Everybody except the three children, the wounded father Paul and Eva, were soon ready to leave the plane.
  Tom spoke loudly: "Grasp the ropes. Those not able to find a place on the ropes, get behind the wings, and push and steer the planes towards Allan's Dunes."
  They all pushed and pulled with great effort. The plane was big and heavy, at least compared to their powers, but the caulking of the hatches to the cargo hull held, the wings and hull were relatively unharmed, and withstood the pressure, and slowly it began moving.
  At Allan's Dunes the waves were already lapping at the lowest edge of  Mount Luggage. The passengers made a double chain, passing crates, coffers, valises, suitcases and backpacks from hand to hand. Tom and Hank stayed aboard the plane and supervised the distribution of the luggage in the plane's cabin. Now they were happy about the discarded rows of seats. It made room for all the luggage. Quickly the worn emergency slides were shaken out and placed in the back of the plane together with tarpaulins and other watertight stuff from the mount.
  Everybody washed off, dressed in dry stuff and distributed themselves carefully aboard the plane.

  After dinner they all sat listening and eager.
  "Now we talk and think." Tom said, returning with the plane's maps: "Allan, please repeat your part about the rising waters."
  Allan rose carefully: "The ice all over the globe was melted by the Wave. Now it is falling down again as rain, warm rain. The melting alone will make the waters rise by around 70 meters. The heating up and resulting expansion of all that water is going to account for at least 30 meters more. More than 100 meters higher sea levels will surely inundate the whole of Denmark Belgium and The Netherlands: Also the southern parts of Norway and Sweden and the northern parts of Germany, except for a few, small islands will be below sea level. We'll have to go somewhere else."
  "And where do you suggest?" Granny T asked.
  "I would suggest we went south," Allan said. "North and east of us are the ridges and stony reaches of Norway and Sweden. But I would recommend that we began by going north and then east, to get free of the labyrinthine fjords directly south of us." He drew a deep breath and asked Tom and Hank to hold up the map. "I think I know where we are. The peninsula, we called Fantasy has to be one of these outcroppings on the western coast of Zealand, Denmark where we were to have landed. Maybe we are even in this Fjord. And if we go south from here, there's just too many dead ends, fjords, peninsulas and so on to get lost in, even with the waters rising and eventually covering them. We want to get away, not get lost. Even in the days before the Wave  I would have suggested going north and then east and south following the shoreline of Zealand, down through this strait here. It's called the Øresund. It is narrow, but with an almost unbroken coastline to follow south it would be the better choice.
  "Can we help the plane float for longer by building some sort of outriggers?" Eva asked. "I remember reading about the Polynesian people being able to navigate stormy waters in small three-hulled canoes."
  "Yes that would surely help," Hank said. Let's wait a bit with  the technical parts of this and continue with our travel plans.
  "Going south would also help us survive in the long run. Shorter winters and hotter summers, once the earth's temperature returns to normal, would be a great help. We're back to the stone ages, or rather we're worse off than the stone agers." Allison, the biologist from Roberts group said.
  "How so?" Cordelia asked.
  "No animals, Maybe not even insects. Ever since the Wave I have been on the look-out for tracks and traces of animals. I have neither seen nor heard any so far. Maybe there'll be no plants either. The densest woods seems to have a few surviving trees, mostly conifers. If any deciduous trees have survived, only time will tell. We're back to zero."
  "How are we ever going to survive?" Cordelia asked in a despondent voice. "No plants, no animals, no noting?"
  Allan raised his hands: "Don't give up! First of all, we have food enough for a long time yet. It seems most of us thought that edibles was the thing to bring from the US of A. Father Paul has a treasure chest of goodies, I have something, and many of us have as well. And even better. I have seeds here in my bag. I bought bags and bags of heirloom seeds for my Mary, my wife who loves re-enactment, pioneer times and all that. Now they are going to help us survive." Allan had saved this announcement for such a moment, guessing that the invigorating effect of this piece of news could become necessary. 
  "And I've saved a lot of pips, kernels and stones from things we have been eating." Granny T said. "I don't rightly know why, other than I like growing things. I think I'm a relative to the entwives," she said smiling.
  "But first these ents and entwives will have to keep from drowning and decide where to go to achieve this," Tom said. "Does anybody have questions, suggestions, comments or other of relevance to Allan's travel route?" After a spell of silence he said: "Well then I have. Do you have any idea as to for how long this rain will continue to fall like this and how fast the waters will rise. In other words. How long do we have? And if your guess is right as to where we are, and how far the waters will rise, how far do we have to travel?
  After a short of time, where you could almost hear all the small gears inside Allan's head grinding, he said: "Now you might think I'm joking, but as far as I can count, it is going to rain for around 40 days." Laughter met this statement. "And of course the water will rise faster in the beginning, filling up all the lower parts. Later the rate will slow down, as the water will have ever broadening valleys to fill up.  It has been raining steadily and heavily since it began, giving us an estimated 5 meters of rain, which of course is way more locally as like I said the shallow parts fill up first. My best guess is that it equals 6 or 7  times as much, which seems about right for the water to reach Allan's Dunes now. We won't have much time left now, maybe two days. But after we have started traveling we'll have all the time we want, or rather we'll have until we run out of food."
  "When will we run out?" Tom said. "Henny, Granny T and Matthew, what are your estimates?"
  "If we have water - ant there's obviously going to be no lack thereof," Granny T said, "We should be able to manage for four months, maybe a bit longer on slimmer rations. It won't be a feast, sooner a famine, but we'll live."
   "Well," Allan said, slowly. "5 or 600 kilometers should take us to the higher parts in the middle of former Germany. Walking this distance would take us around a month, maybe less. Swimming, pulling the plane ... far too long time. If we could fashion some kind of outriggers like Eva spoke of, and then maybe some rafts and stakes or paddles, then we could row and pull the plane. A wild guess is that it would be about as fast as walking, especially since we can take turns rowing."
  "I have some really good news," Tom said. "As this plane was going to land in Denmark, and flew for long over water, we were obliged to have lifeboats with oars aboard! We can do it!"
  "And," Henny said. "Those slides are inflatable, or at least they were. I hope we have not made too many holes in them on Mount Luggage. But there's still patches and glue somewhere. They could stabilize and serve as pontoons, outrigger or whatever."
  Tom rose. "My suggestion is safety before speed this time around. We repair the slides, we make outriggers, check and reinforce the underside of the plane, and fasten everything thoroughly before we set out. Anybody who has even the slightest knowledge on sailing, boats, canoes, water-sports and so on, please help. Please speak up if you think something could be done better, safer, more efficient. Anything! This is not the time to be afraid of insulting anyone - or the time to be insulted either. If we had stopped to ask ourselves about the rains, we would have left here a week ago, and been better off not least health-wise. From now on the only stupid remark or question is the unspoken one."
  Everybody spontaneously applauded Tom.
  Granny T raised her hand just like at school: "I am of not much use caulking, hauling, carrying and so on. I would like to begin a nursery for plants in the cockpit of the plane. The windows are as far as I know made of some kind of plastic that will let the sun-rays through." Hank nodded her on. "Allan has seeds, I have pits, stones, kernels and so on from what we have been eating. Earth and water is in abundance outside. It could save us lots of time getting a garden started ..." she lost momentum as everybody was staring at her.
  Then Allan said: "You and my Mary would get along so well, she would have suggested this, too." And cheering and applauding began again.
  Allison spoke up next: "But the heat must have sterilized the soil, the brown fluff cannot contain much in order of nutrients."
  "You're right," Allan said, "The heat will have sterilized it totally. No weeds will be the positive part of it, but whether the small plants can grow, I do not know."
  "They will," Mona said, "I bought sterilized potting soil for sensitive plants each year on my farm. And before they have grown big enough to need fertilizer, well have a compost ready. Or if not, then human urine, thinned with water, is a very good fertilizer," she said smiling. "We have to stop being squeamish, And I volunteer as chef de compost." A new round of  applause told her that she had the job.
  "I'll place a bucket in the toilet, when the need arise," she said. "Every healthy male is then asked to use this for his morning pee. Sorry for the discrimination ladies. It will have to happen as female hormones can be harmful for sensitive plants. Later on, when we have a place for a larger compost pile, female urine and solid wastes will be added into the system as well."

Tom put in an hour before going to bed, sitting with his headphones on, fiddling with the radio, trying to make it work,  but not a sound was to be heard. Not even statics.
He turned to Hank: "I think the Wave also contained some kind of anti-magnetics. Nothing has been working since it hit."
"Yes" Hank said, "I have noticed. No batteries, no electricity, no computers, no electronics at all. I wonder if it was only a passing thing, if we can make those things work later on."
"Only time will tell. I'm going to give it up for now at least," Tom said shrugging his shoulders in a forlorn gesture.

  Next morning at first lights the construction and boat-wise people congregated aft to pull out and inflate the lifeboats. Allan found his seeds and joined Granny T in the small kitchen compartment just outside the cockpit. He handed her the seeds and said: "I'll volunteer for the carrying and other heavy work. I'm not needed in the outrigger department right now. There's no need to have too many hands either."
  Granny T just smiled and handed him two big buckets, "Water and soil," she said, quickly grasping the package containing the seed bags. 
  As Allan returned with the filled buckets, Granny T and Mona were in the cockpit planning the set up of trays. He helped bending, forming, twisting, drilling, hammering and filling in soil together with the two eager women. By evening the cockpit looked more like a greenhouse than anything else. Small buckets with peach pits, date kernels and even avocado stones stood on the floor, Trays of moist earth hung in layers, covered in white plastic to create the right ambience for seedlings. Allan carefully packaged the remaining seeds. They had decided to use only a third of the seeds now, One third to be saved for possible mishaps and re-planting, one third for next year. Allan placed the remaining seeds back into the watertight container inside his backpack.
Also inside and outside the plane things had been happening. The slides had been mended, Father Paul and Ulla had been very good at this job, and  Ulla's husband, who had worked in a bike shop for years, had been the very best. The skeletons of two boat-formed outriggers could be seen outside. Branches, small trees and the former stakes criss-crossed in crazy patterns, more long poles lay alongside the plane, made from what to Allan's untrained eyes looked like whole trees, but actually was an ingenuous composition of trees, lightweight metals and strings.

lørdag den 25. januar 2020

The Rain 4 - WfW 22/1 - 4th part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Watery, actually I used it twice.
Back to the plane:

   In the early morning, just after dawn, the sleeping men and women aboard the plane were awakened by drumming and knocks on the plane. They woke to a floating, unpleasant feeling. The plane was adrift. Quickly they dressed fully and jumped out. Only Eva, father Paul and Ulla and Bo's three small children stayed in the plane. The children were easier to watch there, and they were not underfoot. The slight extra weight were deemed acceptable by all.

The brown fluff had now mostly sunk to the bottom of the water-filled depression. Only small floating islands of the fluff were still swirling and flowing on the surface of the water.
 The plane was totally clear of the ground and flowed, gently swaying and wobbling, north and a bit east, just as Allan had foreseen. The two person on each robe walked quickly through the swirling, shallow waters, taking care to keep the ropes taut. Those not holding on to a rope, and their replacements, went to the shore and followed the stakes up to Allan's Dunes to help re-covering and fastening the luggage. Luckily the damage looked way less in daylight. One or two of the suitcases in the upper layer were wet, but the water had not spread and with help from many willing hands and more rope - this time pre-soaked in the water around the plane - "Mount Luggage" was once again safe. It was now only a question of keeping it safe, a much easier job for the 10 remaining persons up there after the strengthening of the fortifications. On their way back to the plane, the larger group rammed the fallen staves back in and made the staked path swing further north in order to concur with the plane's current position.

Down by the plane they kept to the shoreline, watching the plane's progress from there. From time to time one of the persons at the rope asked to be replaced, and enough hands were ready to take over the ropes. The progress was slow. Shortly before the sun reached zenith, the plane stuck on a stretch of higher ground. They used the respite to get something to eat, and those going to replace at Allan's Dunes, were armed with thermos with hot coffee made over a fire in the plane's kitchen. Granny T watched over it like a dragon, and almost spewed fire at anybody getting too near.
  "Shouldn't we anchor up for the tonight when the sun sets?" Hank asked. "We can't see where we're going and the luggage crew still needs to be replaced at short intervals."
"It's a choice between two evils," Tom answered. "Either we keep on stumbling along in the dark, or we run the risk of the plane sinking before we reach the fabled isthmus. I begin to think that faster is better. One: we need to get dry. Two: the watching of "Mount Luggage is wearing us out, and three: the water might well rise so much as to make the current too strong for us to fight against."
"May I suggest that Robert and I 'run' ahead along the shoreline, armed with lanterns and look for my fantasy-isthmus" Allan said with a soft laughter.
"Splendid idea." Tom answered. "Have Father Paul hand you two of his lanterns each, then you can leave one in a strategical place should need arise."
  Allan and Robert got the lanterns, a couple of left over stakes, and wiser from experience, Granny T also handed them a small thermos with hot coffee. "Thanks" Robert said.
  "Take good care of the flask," Granny T retorted.
  Eager to make haste in the watery daylight Allan and Robert quickly walked along the shoreline, overtaking the plane, the walking replacement for the rope holders, and even the replacement for "Mount Luggage" in Allan's Dunes, who was hurrying landwards.
 They were soon wet again, but not cold, and they made good progress. After what seemed like an endless journey, but in reality was little more than an hour they stopped and drank some coffee. Allan handed Robert some of the sweets, he had bought: "I bought these for my granddaughter, in what now seems like another life," Allan said. "It's mostly sugar, and a couple of those now and then should boost our energy."
  "Yes leftovers from another life," Robert said dreamily. "But I would not go back, even if I could. Here, now, I feel that my actions, all my life is meaningful. It's somehow simpler, easier. Hold onto this rope, tie that knot, save that drowning man, and speak gently to everybody ... I can do this ... I  mean, I am, maybe for the first time in my life, able to make a real difference, to be of value to somebody else. Maybe we won't survive, but  ... no regrets"
  "No regrets," Allan said. "I get what you mean, and yes, I feel the same way, more alive, more real, somehow." Allan stopped. He sensed it was not the time to talk about Mary.
  They continued in silence, a good silence
  Shortly before dark Robert stopped. "There's something ahead of us in the water. It could be your fantasy - what was that fancy word again?"
"Isthmus, I think it means the same as peninsula. Let's hope that is what it is."
It was. A lot of the not yet soaked brown stuff had gathered in the shallows between the shoreline and the peninsula. In the semi-dark they had trouble seeing where the land began and the water stopped, but when they reacted dry ground, they could see that this was in fact Allan's fabled peninsula. Like a sleeping sea monster it stretched from the shore and far out into the water, Allan and Robert agreed that more of it would sure be flooded as the rain continued, but as they used the binoculars they saw hills rise in front of them. To their right, towards the east the hills seemed a little lower, in accordance with Allan's theory that the gap was out there somewhere. Also the water-currents, running along the peninsula towards the east supported the theory.
  "Now what?"
  "Now I regret that we're only two. Ideally one of us should return with the good news, and the other stay here on the top of the peninsula with the lanterns. But that is not going to happen.Neither you, nor I am going to stay all alone out here for hours."
  "No," Robert agreed. "I would not like to stay here, nor for that sake return alone. No-one should be alone in this new world. Let's put in the stakes, tie the lanterns to them and return the way we came."
  They found a nice high place not too far from the mainland to put in the stakes. As everywhere, where the brown fluff had been washed away, the ground was hard and crusty and it was hard work to drive in the stakes. They bent one of them out of shape, and mangled the tip of another, lightweight plane metals were not the best for this job, but they had to work with what they had. Robert adjusted the wicks in the lanterns Father Paul had fashioned from old bottles, tin cans and frying oil. His sprained ankle had not permitted him to work along with the others, but he was inventive, and true to his priestly calling always available for a talk, day or night.
  "I'm beginning to get cold," Allan said. "Let's get moving. My granny always said 'Old bones; thin blood' when she stoked the fire of her old stove during cold winter days. Now I begin to understand."
  "No, it is getting colder," Robert protested. "Or maybe I'm getting old as well. Let's ask Tom how the temperature is progressing when we get back".
  They were both cold and miserable long before they got back. Two things kept them going. Allan's candy and the fact that they could not get lost. Following the shoreline would sooner or later bring them to the plane. And sure enough. As they were about to sit down and gather strength for a last push, or even hoping that the plane would get to them, they saw the feeble lights of the lanterns in the windows of the plane - placed there by gentle hands as beacons for returning travelers.
  Even before he head their report, Tom commandeered them to wash off and get inside the plane to get some rest and warmth.
  Shortly after they sat inside the plane, swaddled in blankets and holding a mug of hot and sweet coffee Tom joined them and all listened to their report.
  "Good news," Allan said. "Fantasy - that's the peninsula - is less than two hours north of here. We staked the highest point near the mainland. I suggest we run the plane aground there and tie it to as many stakes as possible."
  Everybody was happy to hear the news and some even applauded Allan and Robert.
  "We have had to slacken the restrictions on people staying inside the plane." Tom said. "Sarah and Fred has been examining a bunch of us, and we're most of us at the edge of exhaustion and hypothermia. It's getting colder all the time."
  Hank added: "Maybe we should make everybody but the necessary rope holders and luggage watchers come aboard and instead ditch some of the seats. People's health and well being is worth more than some seats. We might even be able to find them, or most of them later on, when the rains have stopped again."
  All were in favour of this decision, and armed with tools from the emergency bucket Hank, Allan and Robert unfastened the sturdy rows of chairs, alternating between a left and a right row. Each row of seats were carried inland by three eager persons, who then washed off and got aboard.
   When everybody but the people holding onto the ropes and the crew at Allan's Dunes were aboard, coffee and a snack was served by Granny T and Matthew, the painter, who was an amateur chef as well.

  The plane's speed was lower than a person could walk, so the time it took the plane to drift up to Fantasy was nearer to five than two hours, Replacement were sent regularly to Allan's Dunes and a new route staked, leading from Fantasy to Allan's Dunes.
  Daniel Sutton, the Butcher from Allan's scouting group was carried aboard the plane by the returning group. He had collapsed on the way, and he was now pale, incoherent and his breathing was fast and shallow. Sarah and Fred examined him and said he suffered from hypothermia, and probably some underlying heart or lung trouble too. They treated him with medicine from the plane's emergency kit, warm blankets and scalding hot coffee, but to no avail. Father Paul held his hands and prayed for him as he died in the early hours of the new day.
  At first light the people aboard the plane gathered at the shore and looked while father Paul, Allan, Tom, Hank, Sarah and Fred consigned Daniel Sutton to his watery grave. After a while of silence and prayers, father Paul said a final prayer. Just as he had concluded it and everybody answered with Amen, a group of people came running from Allan's Dunes: The water was almost at "Mount Luggage".

to be continued

fredag den 24. januar 2020

The Rain 3 - WfW 22/1 - 3rd part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:

     Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Presence.
We are still in Two Hills.

Next day began much the same. We began to make a firehut by breaking up the ground with some of Ben's heavier, manual tools. The ground was covered in an almost glazed layer of varying depth. We broke it up on the slopes of the farthest hill, and discovered the underground to be clay, rocks and pebble.
  "It seems the Wave fluffed up most of the arable layers, glazed the subsoil layers and left the bedrock relatively untouched. This is good news indeed. I suppose the bedrock will be the limit of the Wave's devastating power only where the sole is very thin."
  Ben looked at me with a blank expression: "Say what? The which of the whats? I thought bedrock was only a ting in computer games." 
  "Sorry, I forgot. You know ... Allan is a geologist, and  ... Well, in everyday terms: The Wave fluffed up all the organic matters, the layer we normally grow plants and stuff in. Under this, there's a layer composed of stone, gravel and sand, lots of it quartzite, and coloured and permeated by minerals transported down there with the water. This layer is what we're standing on right now. The Wave was hot, it fused a thin top layer of minerals and quartz into this glasslike stuff. Luckily some of the fluff descended before it cooled off, else we would skate on a pane of glass." I smiled at the thought of all of us slipping and sliding on the vitreous slayer. "Furthest down is bedrock. Like in the computer game, only not as tough as that." 
  "And pertaining to our cooking hut this means?" Ben asked.
  "It means, we can drill, chop, somehow make holes in the hard shell, put in corner stakes and have them stand, also it won't burn."
  "But, if the earth has become lower ... I don't really know how to express this ..." Minna said. "If the fluff, was earth, topsoil, I think is the everyday word for it, and that is now washed off ... And then all the water, really ALL the water on Earth comes raining down from the skies. Will we be high enough up  here to not drown?"
  "I don't know," I answered slowly. "There are too many unknowns here. The topsoil really does not matter, it's only about one meter where it is deepest. What matters is as  you said; all the water. I imagine that some of the high grounds around here will be free of water, and become islands. But I don't know for certain. Eventually we will have to move somewhere else, I think."  
  "Maybe we should be building floating houses, raft houses, so to speak, instead of stilt houses" Ben said. 
  "Could we? And how long do we have?" Pete asked.
  "Oh, how I wish for Allan's presence." I sighed. He would know instead of all our half-baked guesswork."
to be continued

January TUSAL

All my ORTs so far this year:

  TUSAL is a Totally Useless Stitch ALong begun by Daffycat. It is still uncertain, what is going to happen, as she has been busy.
  But as today is the new moon of  January, I am posting my ORTs here for all to see.
  They all come from the stitching of a Christmas temari; inspiration - nah pattern, I just copied - from Dana at From My Wandering Mind. She makes this 1000 times better than I, so pop over and have a look. Also even if she instructed perfectly in how to make colonial knots (instead of French knots) I still did not get it to work. They were teeny compared to the leaves, not like Dana's beauts, and got ripped out again.

torsdag den 23. januar 2020

The Rain 2 - WfW 22/1 - 2nd Part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:
    Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used: Andalusia, Exfoliate and Figs
Now we are back in Two Hills.

The next day was a day of frantic preparation in Two Hills. The sky was grey and overcast.
We built yet another house on stilts - this time ramming the slender trunks down, until they touched solid ground below the top of the brown fluff.
  Mary and her veggie crew carried stones, and put them into holes. We had been at it for about an hour when  Minna asked: "How much did the fluff shrink?"
  "It shrunk to less than a third, but the problem is not shrinking, it's the flow off or washing off or what you'd like to call it. When the rains come, all this - which I take for the fertile part of the surface - will inevitably be washed into the seas around us."
  "No, it won't" Minna said. "It'll be washed from the high grounds for sure. But there's enough low or lower grounds here for the fluff to stay in and sink eventually. I think we really should work on building dry place for us, not try to contain the brown stuff."
  "My, I think you're right. I remember looking at one of those maps with: 'Will your house be swamped in those rains that happen once in 50 years' or something equally inane worst case scenario from our insurance company. Our house was safe, but lots of light and darker blue patches marked large poodles and mini lakes where the water would pool up. It's almost the same here." Let's get to building for us instead.
  All day we worked, not fast, but almost continuously. And when the rain began falling in the evening, gently at first, then with more and more power, we had a roof over our heads, and the first house, we had built, was secured against the waters and contained all our stuff. Sturdy ropes connected the two huts.
  Our living space has no walls, but the roof hang over the floor all the way around - far out, so that the rain could not get at us. Getting cold was not a problem for us yet, but becoming wet would be.
  It was not a good looking home, struts and branches criss-crossed in to me crazy patterns, but Ben promised that they would hold up against strong winds, barring a hurricane. He began talking about triangles and tensile strength. Words, that made my head swim, but I patiently asked him to explain the basics again and again until most of us had grasped it.
  "We have to learn," I said. "No more we can afford thinking: 'it is not my job to know this'. Pooled together we might pull through. But one or more of us could fall ill, meet an accident or something. We all have to teach and learn. And I think that the coming, rainy days are best used with this."
  "The only thing I'm really good at, is adding and subtracting numbers," Pete said.
  "That might be what your job  was, and maybe even what you're best at, Minna gently teased him, "But you're a health freak as well. I bet some of that knowledge about, oh vitamins, amino acids and so on will come in handy. You teach us that, not accounting. We all know more than we think, more than our job consisted of surely. And we have to pass as much as possible of this knowledge on to more of our group. Mary's right. Something could happen to any of us at the drop of a hat. Paleontology might not be the most useful subject either, but I was an avid baker in my spare time, and I had a go at fermenting vegetables. Both of these might become necessary skills in the times to come."

The rains began early in the night. We lay awake, listening, for some time, there was nothing we could do, except hope and pray. We each had our most treasured belongings in a bag, or small suitcase or box next to us in the people's hut. I had the seeds, my diary and a few other prized possessions inside the big cooler box, and my old, worn backpack was still loaded with personal items. Almost no water was seeping through our roof, and we were quite sure the same would be the case over in the storage hut. The rain was falling heavily, but not a wind was stirring. The edges of the flooring had a few drops only.
  The steady rain was like a lullaby, and all slept peacefully far int the morning. Next day the weather was cooler, not cold, it sure was not, as we guessed it to be still in the lower 30es. As we looked out, the world looked different. It was wet, for one thing, and all the brown fluff had gathered in the shallow valleys and depressions. They were dark, and I went down to look at one of them while Ben and Sally checked our storage hut.
  After a breakfast of fresh waster, stale cakes and canned figs from Andalucia we agreed that a fire hut would be a welcome addition to our small settlement.

  I went out and filled a big bowl with water-soaked fluff. It had turned black, and was fluffy no more. It reminded me most of all of those small compressed peat plant pots. You bought a box of discs, but as they soaked up water, they grew into a small pot ready for planting. The only difference was that this stuff contracted when wet instead of expanding. I distributed the earth into shallow containers and me and the children planted seeds in them, while Jill either took care of baby June, or looked through and sorted our edibles. Some of the fruits and vegetables had suffered during the trek and the busy day yesterday had left us no time sorting them. Only one orange was rotten, and luckily none of the other fruits, not even the susceptible pears had caught the mold. Jill rinsed and dried the unharmed edibles, stowing them in towels, bags and other containers hanging them under the roof. She placed the damaged, but edible fruits in a big bowl, ready for lunch.
After planting the seeds, I carefully cut small squares of cardboard.
  "What now, Granny?" Janet asked.
  "Now we have to write what we planted. In some weeks, we cannot remember, and it is important not to mistake swedes for carrots later on."
  "Yuck, I do not like swedes."
  "The more reason not to mistake them," I said smiling. I handed her a square of cardboard, a black marker and the seed-bag with swedes in it. Pointing at the word, I said: "That word says 'Swedes', copy that onto your square, then you'll know where they are."
I handed Lil'George some squares, and the blue marker. "You can handle the broad beans, the carrots and the spinach."
"You bet. I'll mark that spinach, so I won't accidentally eat it," Lil'George said.
"Me too mark plants," Gregor said.
"Do you know some letters?" I asked him.
"Me know 'G'," he said.
"Not quite enough, we do it together," I told him. "We'll mark the corn and the chilies, They both begin with 'C'. I held his hand with the marker, and together we made a good job of marking all the seeds we had planted.
Jill praised our work in passing.

"Ohh, my hands are itching," Janet said.
As she said this I noticed that I too had been rubbing my hands against my trousers repeatedly. "Mine too," I said. "I think we need to wash our hands very thoroughly whenever we have been touching that earth stuff. My feet and legs are itchy too." I  dug some of my homemade soap out of my backpack, and we went out into the warm rain and washed and washed. In the beginning the soap stung, but it soon stopped and the itching with it.
As we stood there in the rain, Ben. Minna, Pete, Sally and George returned home from the woods loaded with timber. I handed them the soap and told them to wash all parts of them that had been in contact with the wet fluff.
Not a few of them walked far off, stripped and washed.
"Why is earth itching" Janet asked, "I do not like itchy earth."
"I don't know," I admitted. "Maybe there's something like itsy bitsy splinters in it, maybe it's just corrosive, a bit like my green soap. I would not know without somebody with a microscope or a lot of test tubes and chemicals to test this for me."
"Soap!" I said," as we ate a lunch of greens and lebkuchen. "Soap is one of the better commodities of modern times. But how are we going to make more soap when we run out? I did not bring more than a couple for my own use, and some for gifts."
"But, you can make soap, can't you, Mom? Jill asked.
"Yes I can, but not from thin air and bananas!" I need fats and oils and lye to make it from. Where will I get that? No animals means no fats."
"Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and linseed can all be pressed to make oils"  Pete said. "Would they do?"
"I'd suppose so, I just don't know how, But live and learn must be our new motto. I dare bet I could even make an exfoliating soap using some poppy seeds - yes I bought flower seeds as well. I am a dreamer, and I love flowers."

In the middle of the disaster this was a surprisingly normal day. We could have been in some primitive cottage in the mountains somewhere. Now the eternal silence was covered by the rain and that very same rain in our heads at least accounted for not seeing anybody else. We ate, we played cards, we build with sticks, trying to make a small kitchen space for a covered fire. All very primitive, but me and Allan had been taking out children hiking in the wild since they could walk. The air too felt more normal, thicker, richer somehow.

to be continued

onsdag den 22. januar 2020

The Rain 1 - WfW 22/1 - 1st Part

Words for Wednesday 22 January as given by Mark:
    Deviled                    and / or           Gargled
     Interdependence                             Presence
     Watery                                            Yelling
     Figs                                                Andalusia
     Zoom                                              Snowdrifts
     Headphones                                   Exfoliate

 For this installment I used:Yelling
Again We follow Allan and the people in the plane.

The next morning, the clouds had multiplied, It was overcast and cooler than in the days before. The air was still thin, and the carriers were exchanged often in the many hauls up to Allan's Dunes. Late in the afternoon everything was carried up there and covered with landing slides and secured with more rope. They decided to split up in tho groups The biggest, with Tom as a leader, stayed with the plane, hoping to be able to hold onto the lines and guide the plane in the wanted direction.
  Hank, Allan and a few more stayed with the luggage, armed with ropes and stakes, ready to keep everything dry during the coming downpour.
  At the plane they discussed their possibilities, and then decided that the downpour would not fill up the strait, lake or whatever they were in, in an hour or two. Ergo there were no reason for them all to stay out and be miserable and wet. In the end two for each rope stayed out, the rest took refuge inside the plane and slept in the dry, relative comfort of the cabin.
   After some hours of continuing rain, just getting worse and worse the eight people at the ropes were wet to the skin, and shivering despite the heat, One from each rope went inside and woke up two more, and then eight wet people gleefully crept into the even darker maw of the plane. Twice more rope holders were exchanged places and eight others were sent to replace those swathing the luggage.
  They had a hard time finding their way The sky was pitch dark, the brown fluff ran over the ground, riding on top of the running rainwater, hiding all irregularities in the ground under a uniform, floating carpet of brown. Thus making it totally impossible to see where you put your feet. They had put stakes in the ground at regular intervals, but the massive rain had pulled up some of them, and even those still standing were almost invisible in the dark. The crude lanterns they carried did not give up much light. Despite being dressed in raincoats and anoraks, they were wet trough long before reaching the halfway mark. Only their sense of duty and a deep pity with the crew at the luggage end kept them on their track. Robert was one of the replacement team, and he spurred on the others when they lost heir will to continue. He even pulled out Cordelia, saving her from a tumble in the dark and wet.
  "Thanks, Robert," she said, "I could probably not get any wetter, but that black stuff is mighty itchy once it gets inside your clothes."
  At long last they arrived at the mound of boxes to find a wet, despondent looking group of people.
  "Those ropes," Hank said with a voice harsh from use. "They are the kind, that expands when they get wet. We've been fighting and tightening ropes ever since the rain began in earnest, but I'm afraid a great deal of the crates are sogged."
  "It's all yours now, But we'll send replacements earlier than planned, I'd say two hours from now. Four hours is just too much." Allan said. His voice too was roughened and he was brown from the waist down in the glow from the lanterns.
  Allan, Hank and the 6 other grasped their almost spent lanterns and began the way back.
  "Take care at the 3 kilometer mark, there's a hidden edge down under all that stuff. I'd have taken a tumble if not Robert had saved me." Cordelia yelled after the leaving party.
 "Thanks for the warning," Hank was yelling back, and almost lost his footing. "Bugger the ground under this stuff sure is slippery."
  The way back to the plane was a nightmare for the tired group of refugees. Wet, cold, overworked and in the dark, they groped, stumbled and groaned their way back. Once they got lost, and only the compass in Allan's pockets and Hetty's wits - she made them walk an arms-width  distant, sweeping the dark for stakes, which Mona, the farmer, finally found. She almost yelled her head off before the others heard her over the rain, but finally they gathered at the stake. Allan pulled out the compass and once more they continued in direction plane.
  When they got there, Sarah and Fred, the two medical students, handed them each a piece of soap, and bade them strip and wash in the rain before getting inside. The wet, puffed earth was either filled with small splinters or contained some kind of skin irritant, and rashes was sure to follow if they did not heed their advice. Soon after eight wet, but clean persons bundled in towels and sheet had their hands around mugs of coffee laced with rum. Soon they slept.

tirsdag den 21. januar 2020

Preparations - WfW 15/1 8th Part

Last of the Words for Wednesday January 15:
    Constipation          and / or         Snot
     Rivalry                                       Beluga
     Occupation                                Emergency
     Sneeze                                        Qualify  
     Wishy-washy                              Coffee
     Diatribe                                     Butt
  For this installment I used the last of them: Snot
  We're still in - and around - the plane with Allan and company.

  Robert's group returned shortly afterwards, and told of a totally uneventful, yet strenuous journey.
  "Brown, brown and brown, as far as we could see. Only brown dunes, hot as a greenhouse and this strangely hazy sky. It's like walking inside an inverted bowl, one place is just like another," Allison, the shorter of the two women told. "As stated I'm a biologist, and I did not see any animal, neither the remains, traces or tracks of any life at all. No birds, no mammals, no nothing. This place is dead!"
  Mona, the farmer, added her two bits: "Yes, and no water either."

  Last to arrive, not long before sunset, was  the eastbound group with Hank, the co-pilot and the two actors, John and James. Everybody was outside the plane to hear news and discuss what would happen now. Sitting on crates and coffers or standing around all 37 listened to what the returning groups told.
  Just to ensure that everybody was up to date, Tom asked the groups to repeat their findings before he gave the word to the newly arrived group.
  "We saw something," John, the tallest of the two actors said,"
  "And we estimated that the home trip would be easier, downhill, walking in our own footsteps and all that," James, the other actor added.
  "We went there," Hank told. "And I'm happy we did! We found a forest! In the beginning all the trees were only stumps, then going toward the center, the stumps grew taller, and finally we saw pines or firs or whatever - trees with needles on them, not leaves - and they were still alive!"
  "Just a sec," Allan said. "You traveled uphill as well?"
  "Yes," James and Hank affirmed.
  "We did too," Robert said.
  "I'm not sure," Henny said.  "It was a bit easier going back, bu t then we followed the trail, we made on the way out."
  And was the brown stuff a uniform layer or did it thin out?
  "Became thinner, James said.
  "It thinned a bit," Robert said too, "then it became thicker as we neared the forest."
  "It stayed the same, or at least it did not change enough for me to notice." Henny said, and the two medical students, Sarah and Fred nodded.

"I have a theory." Allan said. "We are actually under water, or we would have been if the water was where it used to be. I dare bet we have landed in one of the straits, with a piece of land protruding north of us. I don't know how, why or anything. But this brown layer seems to be thinner on land."
"It's a theory, and at least it covers all what we have seen." Tom said. "And do you have any ideas on what to do?
"What about when the rains come, what then?" Daniel asked.
"Rain?" The father of the 3 children and Ulla's husband asked. "What rain?"
"Oh, I surmised everyone had heard by now," Allan said. I'll explain: "All the water from the seas and lakes and rivers is up there somewhere," Allan pointed to the skies. "Haven't you noticed how fuzzy the sunlight is, and how hot and uncomfortable we feel, even just standing or sitting around like this?"
   Those of the people who had not heard about his theory before, nodded slowly or gave vent to their agreement in a verbal way.
  Allan concluded: "Well all that water is not going to stay up there. It will have to come down as the earth cools off again. It'll be violent, to say the least, and I haven't got the slightest idea as to what will happen to all this puffed earth."

"Does the plane float?" someone asked.
"Yes, at least for a time." Hank answered.
The woman posing the question stood up: "I think the best move might be to wait for the rains to set in, hoping for the plane to float, and then have all of us pull it to land somewhere dry. Would this be possible?"
  "No idea." Tom said. "A plane like this weighs ... ugh around 100 tonnes when empty. I have no idea whether we could move it at all, and the currents would either aid or hamper us ..."
Allan stood up as well: "If I'm right, the water would flow north from here, in direction of that peninsula. It would more be a question of us steering the plane with the currents, and then getting it to strand where we wanted it to, than really pulling it."
  "We should empty it, Carry all the cargo to the highest possible ground hereabout - that would probably be Allan's Dunes," Hank, the co-pilot suggested."
  Henny spoke: "Could we take the altimeter from the plane. I mean, we we could send someone out to find the highest ground east, north and west of here. That would tell us where to go."
  "Big brain, like my children used to say." Hank smiled. "We can indeed do that tomorrow. And I can support Allan's rain theory by telling that the temperature has been falling steadily since we landed. It seems we're in for a rainy season.

Next morning runners, or maybe quick walkers would be a better expression, were sent out. They had an easy job. Get to the highest point on each of the routes - or deviate if somewhere along the trail seemed higher, read the altimeter there and return with their observations. When darkness fell it was clear, that Allan's Dunes, as they had come to be  known, were indeed the highest point in the vicinity.
  Those at the plain had not been sitting with their hands in their laps. They had been emptying the plane, packed everything as compact and as waterthight as possible. They had devised carrying stretchers from metal strips, evacuation slides, curtains and bits and sundry pulled from the interior of the plane. Hank and a group of helpers had closed the cargo bay and sealed the hatches with a glue-like substance that Hank called "Monkeys' snot".  They discussed emptying the plane of seats and interior, but agreed that they could not carry too much all the way to Allns Dunes in the remainning time, not without more people, as movement still was taxing in the thin, humid air. Furthermore Tom admitted that the plane had to be lighter than his former estimate, since the heavy under-wing motors had fallen off sometime during the Wave.
  Ropes were secured around the wings and belly of the plane, making a harness by means of which the lane could be oulled in the wanted direction. Everything was almost ready when Cordelia, tying an extra stubborn knot gave a yelp of surprise. "Clouds, she said, "The clouds have returned!"