Into September

Wednesday 29th August

Apparently, after four decades of study, scientists have concluded that cannabis smoking when you’re young will reduce your IQ. Putting aside how laughable IQ tests are in the first place I wonder what they could possibly have used as a control in such a study. I also have to wonder, as is so often the case in many ‘studies’, if those old favourites ‘correlation is not causation’ and ‘confirmation bias’ are raising their ugly heads. I would suggest that a forty-year study of the effects of cannabis smoking on intelligence was not aimed at proving that there is no effect. How do you prove someone is thick because they smoke lots of weed as opposed to smoking lots of weed because they’re thick?

Apparently tropical storm Isaac has political implications. It delayed the election of Mitt Romney to the leadership of the Republican Party. It’s not quite a hurricane yet but the connection is there to hurricane Katrina because it’s, well, a storm. George Bush is a Republican and he didn’t do enough in response to Katrina, therefore, if you’re still following this tenuous thread, it can be seen that Mitt Romney will have to answer some hard questions about his attitude to hurricanes, or tropical storms, or something. Not much in the way of bias and agenda then in this report from the Obama-worshipping BBC. To top this off, Mitt Romney the ‘multi-millionaire’ is also aloof from the American people. I look forward with bated breath to the BBC examination of just how much President Obama is worth now.

I note now that Isaac is hitting New Orleans with winds gusting to 130 kilometres an hour and is being described as a hurricane. So in real money that’s 81.25 miles an hour so makes it to hurricane status by 6.25 miles an hour. Phew. Those damned Republicans.

Thursday 30th August
Ah, Isaac has now been downgraded to a tropical storm but is still ‘lashing’ or ‘battering’ New Orleans. I also see that water has been flowing over the levees again and flooding out some houses. So will the Democrats be blamed for this inadequate work?

Meanwhile the wind that arrived here on Tuesday blasted all that day, throughout the night then into the following morning. When we went down to Makrigialos on the Wednesday most umbrellas were folded down, the beach abandoned and only diehards in the sea. However, the wind was dying and my prediction for the wedding at Revans bar was wrong. They got really lucky, since over the summer when that wind arrived it blew for a minimum of four days. On this day it just died off. We took a look in the bar before heading off for a meal, then afterwards took some photos, and very nice it looked too.

Friday 31st August
With the wind having chilled things down a bit and summer heading towards its end it’s not so pleasant sitting outside so much (up here), so we settled down to watch a film Caroline had bought. This was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which I found enjoyable, but with some qualms. There seemed moments of desperation in the plotting, it was a tad chaotic, various excellent actors seemed to be playing caricatures of themselves and the apparent aim to capture the essence of India, old age and alienation, failed. Meanwhile Caroline, who had read the book, was baffled and said she remembered very little of what was going on from the book.

The book was here so I thought I’d give it a go. It was wise, sometimes sad, often funny enough to have me laugh out loud and perhaps beyond the grasp of those who’ve yet to feel intimations of mortality. It was also a little chaotic and not some easy straight line plot. Like the film it tried to capture some essence of India, the realities of old age and alienation, but it succeeded. It was about feelings, human relationships and life, really, and it was excellent. But in the book there was no homosexual high court judge seeking out an old Indian lover. No one went there for a hip operation. No pensioner got a job in a call centre. In fact the list of things that happened in the film and did not happen in the book runs just about all the way through it. The only connections are that some characters had the same names and there was a Marigold hotel some pensioners went to. Read the book and enjoy it, watch the film and enjoy that too but in your mind call it The Marigold Hotel Revisited by Posturing Actors.

Monday 3rd September
If I needed any further proof that dancing to the Wii is effective then I have it now. Throughout August, because of eating out so much what with visitors here, my weight steadily increased (as did my girth), despite my swimming for miles each week. Even after we stopped eating out it just hung on. Four days now of dancing to the Wii for half an hour a day and it’s already heading down again, being the lowest it’s been today since early August. Really, if you can get past feeling like a berk, I recommend it.

Penny Royal II is now past 50,000 words and I am having fun with it. As I pointed out to Caroline, after polishing off my last 2,000 words in a couple of hours, there’s nothing like a good space battle to get the juices flowing … so to speak.

Tuesday 4th September
Damn but it’s easy to sit up here in the mountains at this time of year and think that the warmth is all but over. The house temperature has been a steady 25C, the temperature outside not much higher during the day and plummeting to 21C in the evening. Of course this kind of warmth would be very welcome during an English summer but here acclimatization has to be taken into account: when you’ve been used to the high twenties and it not dropping much below that in the evening you tend to start piling on the clothing. Then there’s the difference between the mountains and the coast. We went down to Makrigialos yesterday to find a temperature of 34C and a nice warm sea.

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