Tuesday, March 09, 2010

threads, value, bellowing






















This tangle of fine threads, from I don't what piece of fabric, catches my eye in Little Mount Sion for it bright colour against the road surface. It is minute, at most a couple of centimetres across. When I rotate the photograph 45 deg, as I do now, it pleasingly takes on the shape of a calf's head.

As I post a parcel to my grand-daughter, the girl at the counter asks me if the contents has any value. It contains a small book. But I find the question hard to answer. "If it's worth more than £500, the insurance will be extra," she explains. But I find myself puzzling about value as I leave the post office. The cost of a present has little to do with the value which I, as the giver, attach to it, and likewise to that which I hope the recipient will, in turn, attach to it. The important thing - and to that I can attach a value, and pay extra postage for next-day delivery - is that it reaches her in time for her birthday.

It is rubbish collection to day. You can tell by the agonised bellowing of the hydraulic lifts, which hoist and tip the wheelie bins into the Council collection vehicle. The sound brings to mind the extraordinary noise, which donkeys make, not all the time but occasionally just when you least expect it. It is, I suppose, a rare thing nowadays to hear a donkey in Mediterranean countries where they were once commonly used as beasts of burden. I remember how my class, when I was teaching English in Spain, some 50 years ago, had to explain to to me what the noise was. Today, perhaps, they wouldn't know themselves.
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3 comments:

HKatz said...

I like how you spotted a calf's head in a tiny piece of fabric.

It's also fun to see how much farther we can 'zoom in' on things - even within the calf's head, along different threads, I'm spotting other figures (or projecting those figures); for instance I see a tiptoeing fairy (her wings swell out around where the calf's right eye would be, and her feet are where the mouth/snout are).

Lucy said...

There are one or two groups of donkeys kept around here as pets. It's always a pleasant surprise to hear them, the sound carries quite far. Surely thay can't have been altogether phased out in the Greek islands? There are villages there where, all the roads being stepped, they are the only conveyance that can really get about...

Plutarch said...

I thought the tangles in the calf's head particularly interersting.

Lucy: Some years ago I stayed with some friend in Cyprus. When we were there, they rescued a donkey, which had been abandoned because it was too old to work, a common practice, I believe. Soon they had several donkeys and eventually opened a donkey sanctuary, which became a registered charity. They have now retired but the sanctuary is still there.