Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Slow Heath Ramble

We took maybe the slowest walk I've ever experienced through Hampstead Heath yesterday. Our old girl Olga, who used to race beneath the trees in long running loops and leap over logs with abandon, now ambles at a more subdued pace. She still takes off after squirrels now and then, but increasingly, the squirrel has to be within ten feet and holding a sign that says "CHASE ME."

Age comes to us all, I guess, but part of the problem is also that I temporarily stopped giving Olga her anti-inflammatory medicine. It seemed to be making her sleepy and upsetting her stomach, so she had a drug holiday for a couple of weeks. Now it's time to go back on the Metacam, though, because she was very subdued yesterday and obviously stiff in the joints.

I tried to shorten the walk, but every time we came to a turn we usually take, Olga insisted we take it. She does not like to change the routine. We wound up walking our full loop.

The daffodils were blooming on Hampstead Heath Extension, where I had a bit of drama of my own. As I listened to the Moody Blues on iTunes, Olga splashed around in a muddy creek, and abandoned her tennis ball in the muck. (In addition to moving more slowly, she's much less diligent these days about hanging on to her tennis balls.) I bent over to pick it up, and my iPhone fell out of my jacket straight into the creek. Ugh!

I fished it out within just a few seconds, and after drying it off on my jeans I was relieved to find that it still worked. I took it out of its case to let it breathe, and because it seemed OK, I continued listening to my music as if nothing happened. Which was fine for about half an hour, and then suddenly the music stopped playing. So maybe some water got into it after all.

Now the phone is turned off and sitting in a tub of dry rice, where I'm supposed to leave it for 48 hours. In theory the rice leaches any dampness out of the phone. The other apps and data seemed to be working fine, but we'll see in the long run, I suppose!

Fortunately I'm not addicted to my phone. It can sit in that rice for days and that's fine with me.

There were lots of people out in Golders Hill Park, as you can see. Pandemic? What pandemic?

No crocuses were harmed in the making of this picture. Well, OK, maybe one or two.

In the evening, as Olga snored on the couch, Dave and I watched a long documentary on the BBC from a couple of years ago called "HyperNormalisation." It contends that politicians, banks and others in power have in recent decades built an artificial reality that they've sold to the population at large -- blaming various international players for things they didn't do to justify diplomatic or military actions, for example. We have traded truth for stability, even amidst falsehood.

It's an interesting film, but it sprawls and knits together events and occurrences that, to me, seem only barely connected, if at all. Some of its information isn't new -- in the run-up to George W. Bush's war in Iraq, for example, we all knew Bush's justifications were baloney. We were simply unable to do anything about it. We couldn't stop the conflict.

Anyway, the filmmakers contend this climate of falsehood since the Reagan years has helped lead to catastrophes like Trump and Brexit -- desperate actions by increasingly alienated voters who know they're being duped. I forget how I even came across this movie. I think it was mentioned in something I read. Again, not bad, but long and sprawling.


  1. Mmmm... i-phone risotto - one of my favourite dishes. Poor Old Olga - who will chase the squirrels when her squirrel-chasing days are over?

  2. Wait till Olga needs a Zimmerframe to walk. Then you'll be reduced to snail pace walks. I often wonder how people deal with the limitations that advancing years bring. Can't bear the thought of it. A couple of evenings ago the Angel and I talked about time, the concept of time, how it is imposed on us, how - sometimes - it stands still; how sometimes time loses all meaning and we just ARE. With your leanings towards Buddhism you'll probably know what we were, partly, talking about. Still, at the end of our fruitful meanderings I needed the bathroom. On emerging from it I observed to the Angel that if you want to know whether time actually exists you, or rather I, only have to look into the mirror.

    Where were we? Crocusses, regal Olga surveying the lay of the land. She always makes me smile - with affection.

    I shan't allow myself to get started on the "artificial reality" you mention. It's a fascinating, if somewhat unsettling, subject.


  3. You did the right thing with your phone. I once bent over on the balcony and my phone fell out of my shirt pocket, bounced but did not fall off the edge. I am now so careful.
    I heard the rice treatment many years ago and advised someone and it worked with his dunked camera.
    The doco sounds like it tells us what we already know.
    Yes, the rot set in with Reagan and Reaganomics. I blame him and Thatcher for the worlds wrongs.

  4. I recently saw a multi-part documentary on Reagan and, while I never liked him, came to see him in an even worse light. And there's a direct link to what Reagan did straight through to that last president.

  5. Oh, Olga! Sweet old lady. I feel her achy joints, her desire to move slower while at the same time, the need to do what she has always done.
    I've heard that the rice thing doesn't work. You will be able to tell us. I hope it does.

  6. Old dogs....
    They break your heart slowly

  7. It does look like it was a beautiful day for a walk there. It's sad to think of Olga slowing down, but good to know she still wants to get out there for a nice long walk.

  8. love that field of crocuses. never seen anything like that. and at least everyone looks like they are social distancing as I assume the groups of people are all a unit. I always used to think people who dropped their iphones in the toilet were idiots until I got one and understood. I carry mine in my back pocket and while I have never let mine fall in the toilet when I pull my pants down, it has fallen on the floor on several occasions.

  9. I can commiserate with Olga as I fell on my walk last week and have been so sore and achy since then. I have not been able to get in my daily walk and, of course, now the weather is warming up, the snow melting, and the sun shining! Getting old is not for sissies, Olga, right? Hope she can get some relief from her aches!
    Love the field of flowers! Thanks!

  10. Lovely glimpses of spring. I look forward to balmy park days here in NYC too.

  11. Sorry to hear about the phone. I've heard the "rice" treatment works so fingers crossed.
    That movie sounds interesting. Makes me wonder how many diehard Trump supporters really do know they are being duped. By the way, have you seen the golden Trump statue that is going up at the CPAC meeting? What was that commandment about false idols?

  12. Pirate once said that once a dog is on Metacam you are stuck in it.
    Some people try CBD oil and rubbing hemp oil into joints or putting a little hemp oil in food...
    It is the time of year to walk slow and appreciate the beginning of spring, and give the squirrels a break!!

  13. Olga in the crocuses (crocusii?) - insert big smiley face here!

    I would be quite bereft without my phone because I use it to listen to audio books on my commute (you do NOT want The Bug driving with just the radio on!). I'd also miss being able to text Mike. All the other junk I do on it can be just as easily handled on my iPad or computer. Or NOT AT ALL (what a concept).

  14. The first photo of trees is a fabulous perspective! Olga looks like a bug! The crocus Olga is a great calendar girl shot! She looks well. I empathize about creaky sore joints, it happens and is most surprising when it does.

  15. I had been wondering what was happening with Olga. Such a shame about the side effects. But I hope she'll be doing better soon. She had become so puppy like. As for the crocuses ... Groan. I'm just glad I'm not there to see it.

  16. Oh... and I love the perspective with Olga among the trees. I would have had no idea how big they were.

  17. Sounds like a film that has some realism in it.

  18. The crocuses are beautiful! I love how they come up through the grass. Poor Olga, arthritis sucks.

  19. Phones get wonky if there is any water in them. I am (unfortunately) quite addicted to my phone. :(

  20. Poor Olga. Franklin's pace has slowed, too.