Saturday, February 23, 2008

Winding up my brother

Busy catching up on reading a couple of North American authors whose work I had trouble finding in the UK. Jack London and Damon Runyon. Great writing with cracking little stories to boot. Wish I could write that well. By comparison, my own humble style feels pedestrian and sluggish, whilst one of Runyon's little tales of Broadway rips along at a merry pace, dancing around literary convention with aplomb, and London expertly conjurs up the frozen wastes of the Yukon in a succinct but atmospheric way. Terrific reading.

Back in the UK I always had real trouble finding the more grown up works of London and Runyon. Every library request I ever made for said authors work was met with a blank faced response ("You want who?"). I also had trouble finding anything by Hemingway, apart from 'For whom the bell tolls'. Perhaps it was just our county library.

Anyway, Elder Brother called from the UK to see how poorly we were getting on today. We are doing fine and I told him so. He seemed mildly disappointed. Further wound him up by waxing lyrical about the climate here on Vancouver Island and all the new friends we are making. Brilliant sunshine, going 'tyre kicking' with a workmate (Looking for a new car for him) in a couple of weeks. Learning about the local customs and fitting in rather than doing the expat thing. Visiting old friends here on the island, and making plans to bring my mother over this summer for a break. I could hear Elder Brother going greener by the moment. He dug out the old chestnut that he'd been over here thirty odd years ago, but it was obvious that he was disappointed that we were actually not doing all that badly. Even the most casual listener in on our conversations would rapidly ascertain that he is always looking to hear how I have cocked up.

Elder Brother and I have a 'history'. I am mildly jealous because he got the education (Public school, University, foreign travel etc. He can even play a musical instrument) while Little Brother (Me) went through the University of Life, and has through various alarums and excursions turned out like the human version of a swiss army knife. E.G. I can do most general tasks; fixing anything from a Computer to a Wheelchair and all points inbetween. Oh yes, and I've written a book, had some of my writing published, but not enough to make a regular living at it. In short, our relationship boils down to this; he tends to look down on me, but I don't look up at him.

Truth be told, the only problem I have at present is with Dog. He will not come out for walks unless I drag him out. Mostly I think this is down to the local Bald Eagle population frightening the bejasus out of him. In the UK he was used to chasing Sparrows and Starlings, but the local wildlife is a bit too big for my chickehearted mutt.

Time approaches for my daily beachcombing perambulation to go and inspect the intertidal foreshore. Hell of a lot of Starfish. Lots of Common Starfish which are mostly bluey purple round here, absolute shedloads of Sunflower Starfish, all evenly spaced at two and a half metre intervals. Quite a lot of green and red Anenomes on the rocks and logs. Right. Time to go.