Antonia is still a zombie! But never mind, our day had a few highlights. Charlotte Mason had a theory that I will have to paraphrase: you never know what will light your kids fire, so just give them some of everything and see what sticks:
- We read about the Athenians sending out their triremes to deal with pirates and we got to looking up what a trireme really is. A trireme is multi-storey war ship with rowers on three levels. It was the fastest thing on the sea at the time (like maybe 17 km/hour). Antonia couldn’t get over the fact that the crew consisted of about 200 people and that it was 5 times the length of our living room. She has been drawing her ancient boats as little rowing boat sized things with about 2 people on board. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the modern reconstruction, Olympias, is. I had to stick a photo of it on my desktop for a while. If I had a teleport machine, I would have popped over to Athens to see it for real. Antonia is starting to understand all kinds of things like why water travel was preferable to land travel in ancient times, the problems of navigation and the reasons for coast-hopping.
- Antonia tried knitting for the second time. It really went quite well, in that she knitted several rows by herself in the end, though she keeps inadvertently adding stitches.
- We listened to the Prom 63 concert on BBC radio’s listen again facility (4 days left, and highly recommended!) We both really enjoyed listening to the Motets and Chansons with interspersed Indian music, though some part of me couldn’t help thinking that this was a rather simplistic approach to ‘fusion’. It sounded nice, what can I say. Neither of us like Messiaen much, I’m afraid. But we both loved the Night Ragas like crazy. It took me right back to India, to those crazy nights travelling through Maharashtra in decrepit cars and late trains, the lovely candle-lit nights in Mandhu and Orchha, the platforms of the railway stations just about everywhere. Not that we ever heard musicians quite as talented as this. Mike groaned that he didn’t really understand the structure of Indian music, but Antonia and I are kind of used to it. Music is like a language, you learn it naturally from exposure. I love India. To me it really seems like Europe’s twin sister in terms of culture and potential quality of life. It’s undeniably true that Indian society has a problem to solve in sustaining life at all for many of its people, but at least if they can solve that, they will have plenty to live for. I couldn’t really say that of every place I’ve been to. Now I’m all nostalgic for India. I even had to turn most of the lights off, to get that intermittent electricity feel! If I had a teleport machine, I would be in Orchha right now.
P.S. I realise that based on the image of India abroad, some people might not understand the ‘quality of life’ thing. It’s kind of subjective: reliable transport and electricity contribute only a tiny percentage to my sense of quality of life. Decent music, literature and food, and a couple of thousand years of history under my feet are vital. Like everyone else, I find that enough food and clean water are even more of a prerequisite of course.