Only a quarter of the upper edge was showing. For a moment, as I thought to pull it out, I hesitated, wondering if all I would find was the rim of a glass bottle – the shoulders all shattered and deadly, ready to cut me.
It was a ring for a reason, from the inscription. Next to the ubiquitous eBay white metal stamp 925, an Uzbek woman’s name, with love…
I imagined the man. He stood one night, bankrupt, smoking furiously on the deck of the casino. The wooden platform is cantilevered out over the dark waves which slap beneath the soles of his feet. In the grip of some nameless betrayal, he yanked the ring from his finger.
As I pulled it from the sand, I was reminded of the cabin by the lake in Michigan, where I said, if I really was someone, then I too would throw my most treasured possession into its half-frozen waters and walk away without looking back as if none of it had every really happened. Turns out I wasn’t someone.
Don’t most rings turn out to be like broken bottles in the end?
Accidentally as it happened.
I don’t know that I hold with all this BP bashing, any more than I hold with deep sea drilling for oil without more assiduous and speedy efforts to develop alternatives. One assumes the catastrophe that befell the BP rig could, potentially, have happened to another company too.
I am also rather fed up of the patriarchal attitudes adopted by Obama and Cameron, both of whom love wagging their fingers at us, or BP, whilst reminding us all of all our failings and shortcomings without ever seeming to examine their own (there must be some surely?).
Anyway none of this was in my mind the other day when I needed petrol. If you drive along the London Road in the direction of its namesake from our house you pass only BP garages on your side of the road until you get to Tarpots in Benfleet. That’s my excuse for being in a BP garage. They’ve a monopoly on the left hand side of the old A13. If anyone is desirous of pointing out that I do quite a lot of food shopping at the BP a stone’s throw from my front door, would you please also point out that this is not BP bog standard Ginster’s Pasties food, this is deeply over-priced M&S Food – and a right result that is for a disorganised person like me. Thanks.
Back to the BP in Hadleigh where I had no petrol. I don’t fill up. It goes against the grain. I could walk or cycle for the rest of the week and £50 sitting in the petrol tank would be of no use. I stingily treat the tank to a quarter – not even a half – and then go in to buy water and pay.
Whilst I was paying I decided to open and drink some water and somehow I managed to spill it all over the card payment keypad. When I said to the cashier man I had done this he sort of grinned amiably at me. So I had to point it out: the flood to rival Noah’s all over the equipment. His face then changed to one of disbelief and then kind of actual horror.
And if his mouth had been able to engage with his brain he looked for all the world like he would have said and how the hell did you do that you stupid cow? Or worse. So at this point I could have said something like and that’s for all the oil-covered pelicans, or left.
I left. I’ve not been back there since. But if you have a retailer (or politician) you don’t like very much it would be very easy to tip treacle on their card payment keypads.
Hard on the heels of the news that the moon’s surface contains miniscule amounts of water, is the revelation that today two spacecraft will be crashing into one of the moon’s craters – one that never gets any sunlight somewhere near its South Pole. Already there are some spooky parallels with a corner in my garden – a site where the sun never shines and man rarely ventures except to chuck detritrus.
The purpose of the crash impact is to see if there is a big fat moon puddle at the bottom of the crater. After one craft has “splashed” down, another craft will be collecting the dust and matter thrown up into a 6 mile high cloud for analysis. Then in a move that I can’t quite grasp, the second craft will also crash making a second, smaller cloud of stuff and nonsense.
Of course the establishment of whether there is indeed water on the moon is very interesting. Visit the NASA website after 12.30 this afternoon for more news or you may be able to watch live on the following link. I have checked it out just now and they were chatting to some guys in brown chinos and navy polo shirts. There was a bit of drifting around the screen, so I surmise that they were in space somewhere, whilst dressed for the Mall.
I happen to think crashing into another planet, not once but twice, is a bit bloody rude though. I just hope the Clangers and the Soup Dragon have got out of the way first.
Sometimes when I am too tired to read and too wired to sleep I listen to Radio 4 @ bedtime. I know I am getting older because I used to catch the last shipping forecast of the day in my twenties. Now I am lucky if I make to the Book at Bedtime at 10.45 p.m. Is it me or does Bill Nighy read them all?
Anyway last night I have a dreamy remembrance of the report about water being discovered on the Moon. There are a few snags with the discovery as Professor Jack Mustard told us (I don’t think I imagined his name, I have possibly invented his title). Snag 1: the water is in a solid state in the Moon’s matter and would need extracting – they may have explained how but I can’t remember. Snag 2: there is far too little of it in the matter for extraction to sustain some thirsty spacemen after a day’s hard yakka on the Moon.
He went on to explain that none of this mattered because the plan now would be to try and find more concentrated pockets of the stuff on or in the Moon. This might take 20 years “under the current funding arrangements”.
In a way I think, why waste our money? On the other hand, that is what humans are all about, isn’t it? Wondering stuff. Trying to find out the answers to questions. That’s why I am able to sit here typing into cyberspace!
If I had my way, I’d call in all those bank loans and finish off that zombie stock that people are STILL trading on, and send it to the space programme. Maybe then my children’s children could enjoy a swim in a pool on the Moon for their summer holidays.