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She learns to Stand with a fist.

I love Old English, the amalgamam of proto-indo-european sludge which edged ever closer to the barbaric UK on darkling feet.  To listen to Romanian and Brazilian, and I really hear it, the roots and branch, deeper than 2,000 years and still burrowing.  How is it that the Norwegian, Flemish, “Viking” made their mark on this country, but the Franks (oh by the way, Germanic) tribes failed to do until 1066, and then with much resistance?

We say cow, they say Boeuf, we say eggs, they say oeufs, you US cousins say tomayto, we say tomato.  Thrilling possibilities for bringing up your UK child short when she says “gotten”.

That’s American tv, I say.  And yet…. gotten is really old, it’s part of a language that no longer exists, and you are probably are talking through the mouths of your (Germanic) Anglo-Saxon hierarchy.  So I can’t tell the Daughter off for using archaic speech, which she thinks is so very here and now.

We share such history, all of us, should we point a finger and say it should not be so (Old English, by the way, and a subjunctive in French, ancestor of Italian, and therefore Latin, shall I go on?)

What links us is a commonality to experience being, be in life, and accept all that hits us broadside or not.  There’s a tv show on British channels right now, called I think “Empire” by Jeremy Paxman.  He wrote and presented the thing, and contrary to what we Btits would believe of him, given his ascerbic and impatient put-downs of lowly individuals all the way up to our PM, he is eloquent and humble.

Flying for our national airline as a long haul stewardess for long years, I do remember the Delhi personnel.  They were fierce in their yes, and brutal in their no.  They were born of high families, and were, because of that, able to boss people about.  I won’t argue with the culture of centuries, at least, not here.

I recall our stays at the Crown Plaza in Delhi.  A wondrous edifice, entrance to which is opened by statuesque turbaned gentlemen, as tall as trees, enough to make one quaver.  On one occasion, I got Delhi Belly, due to drinking some local beer replete with glycerine, I seem to recall.  I was so ill, despite having already lived in more countries than I can remember, and never coming amiss with local cuisine, this one hit me hard.  And there was drilling going on outside my room.  It was a drilling through my very skull.  Not one to complain easily, as a last resort, I called reception and asked for a room change, just to get some sleep.

This was done, and with alacrity.  I followed said porter, my uniform on, my suitcase trailing behind me, to get some blessed sleep before my onerous flight to Blighty.  Esconced now in a princely suite, large enough to fit in my whole English house, I woke.  What woke me?  Shuffling in my room.  Noise, fluttering.  I sat up, quick smart.  A bat flew up from the pots on the dado rail.  Right at my head.  I fled.

To the bathroom, where there was a telephone. “Hallo?  Yes.  I need to report a bat in my room”

“Yes, madame, what kind?”

“A flying one.”

“Madame, can you tell me more?  About bat?  Describe it with detail, if you will.”

“Yes, indeed, well, it’s a sort of mouse with wings”

“Okay, someone will be with you shortly.”

So, having snaked my neck around the safe enclosure of the enormous bathroom door, and still hearing skittering, worse and worse, each time I cracked the door open, the blessed thing flew at me, I was esconced in the paladium bathroom.  Rows and racks of bath products allured, fresh towels beckoned (all this? because I had food poisoning?).

A gentle knock at the door. I wreathed my hand to it, and opened, and lo!  A personnage de la maison, stands, fly swatter and fly spray in hand, held aloft.

A heart beat before I am able to say, no, alas, and no again, the bat flew at my new friend, who dropped his head into his shoulders just in time.

And laughed his head off.

“mouse with wings !!!!”

I went back to bed.

Sweet Delhi dreams.


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