Wednesday, 8 October 2008

went to the hospital and lived to tell the tale ... barely

Oh dear. Another hospital story. These places are run by clowns! I see a GP who neglects to take any kind of medical history and then names my disease. I tell her that is very unlikely to be the case because ... (I give her the details) ... she prescribes meds which I have to point out aren't appropriate because ... (I give her the appropriate information) and then she tells me the next step to take at which point I have to point out that that's an inappropriate course of action because ... (I give her the details). Had she taken any kind of medical history, she'd not have made any of the errors she made, any one of which could have resulted in a law suit. Can you do that here? Sue doctors? Hmmm. I could be rich. Maybe I shouldn't have so arrogantly corrected her.

After seeing her I saw a specialist who was marginally better on taking the history though he wanted to send me off for inappropriate testing.

We've had a few hospital ordeals since we've been here. K can't understand why I'd choose to go to a hospital rather than just lie in a corner and die. He thinks that'd be a much easier option. It's the course he's decided upon should he fall sick again. I just hope it's not a corner of our abode. That'd get smelly after a while.

Friday, 3 October 2008

good one Bill

One of the great things about holidays is that you get a lot of reading done. I've just finished a book called quite simply 'Shakespeare' by Bill Bryson. He questions every 'fact' that we have about Shakespeare and in the process we learn a lot about Elizabethan England. For example spelling was pretty wild. One word could often be written in half a dozen ways and often was on one page. The spelling of Shakespeare for example is not clear. The version we use today wasn't one of those used in Shakspeare's (Shakeshaft's / Shappere's / Shakspere's / Shakespear's - apparently there are up to 80 versions) time. Shakespeare's own signature appears in at least six different forms.

Understandably the printing press back in Shaker's day was not what it is today. Editors took liberties with grammar, spelling and wording. When multiple copies of a book were pressed, it was a big job that could be sent to several different printeries. Each one would have proof-readers/editors pawing over the books. They'd all make different decisions about what went where and what was intended. Lines sometimes got cut because they didn't fit neatly onto a page or because there'd been a transcription error. The original documents were often dodgy. Most of the plays for example had several working versions. Sometimes they were what the actors recalled and were written retrospectively. Sometimes people would sit in the audience and transcribe while listening. These versions became mixed with more original versions. Later no-one was sure which version or which parts of which versions were authentic. One version of Hamlet's soliliquy came out as

To be, or not to be, I there's the point,
To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all.:
No, to sleepe, to dreame, I mary there it goes,
For in that dreame of death, when wee awake,
And borne before an everlasting Judge,
From whence no passenger ever returned

Hmmm. That doesn't quite have the same ring to it. All that we have left today are the print versions that editors came up with a few years after Shakespeare's death.

Words Shakers contributed to the language incluce zany, abstemious, critical, frugal, dwindle, excellent and eventful. He was big on 'un' prefixes and created unmask, unhand, unlock and untie. Some of his words didn't stick though - undeaf and insultment being among them. Phrases include vanish into thin air, budge an inch, flesh and blood and blinking idiot.

Little is known about Shakespeare's personal life though much clearly incorrect information has been written and repeated through the years.

I loved reading about what Queen Lizzy The First was up to at the time, the politics, the bizarre laws (at various earnings you were permitted to wear silk of various colours. As you stepped up you were allowed to wear velvet) and the lives of ordinary people. If only the Shakespeare course I did at uni in my youth had been as interesting as Bryson's book.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

cypriot sunshine

Near Aphrodite's bath

Desert scrub, mountain pines and Aussie gum trees; Cyprus has a varied, if largely brown (due to months of drought)landscape. Yesterday brought the first rains in ten months flooding the roads hastening our exit from Paphos.

We were singularly unimpressed with Paphos. We entered the city and found ourselves in a traffic jam snaking endlessly through narrow streets in the city. We found our way to the beach to be met with an uneventful line of shops. In reality there were only three of them, but they were duplicated ad nauseam; over-priced largely tacky restaurant, tacky souvenir shop and clothing shop. We thought we’d play it relatively safe and cheap by getting fish and chips thinking that at least we’d get a passable version of something the area is reputed to specialize in. However, it seems that they can get it horribly wrong. The streets were crowded with overweight, underdressed, smoking, sunburnt non-natives. Perhaps we found a less desirable part of Paphos on a bad day.

Scenery along the back road home - Paphos to Kato Akourdaleia

Polis is old and a little less tourist oriented, but give it time and it will no doubt offer up the same charmless scene as Paphos.

What I do like in Cyprus is the things you discover off the main roads. There are any number of villages worth a visit. Many have breath-taking outlooks over mountains and sea. Roads through and around many of the villages are narrow and steep, but filled with delights.

Our host, Mrs Angela, cooks the best food we’ve discovered so far on the island. Eating out in the courtyard is lovely and very social. We’ve had some lovely evenings and have befriended a delightful Turkish man and his friendly German wife. We’ve met a Scotsman who has my daughter’s dream job. She always wanted to ‘blow the shit outa stuff’ for a living. He does just that as an explosives engineer. Mrs Angela’s Inn is in the tiniest of villages. It has just a few houses, lots of cats, a few dogs and extremely narrow roads! The buildings, gardens and countryside would best be described as ramshackle, but the village is quite charming with fruit and flowers bursting out of every nook and cranny.

Entrance to the Inn

Views in and around the village