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Sunday, 28 October 2007

Blood and geography

I've been approached by a researcher from my own university and interviewed about blood. R is exploring relationships between blood and identity among blood donors who, like me, are O rhesus positive - the commonest type. We met and chatted in Starbucks, Colmore Row, for several hours. Seeing R's website I'm intrigued to see where this research will go and look forward to further involvement in her Phd. I'm up to 83 donations now. It feels easy, even enjoyable, and I've been doing it for so long and have become so accustomed to the process, I don't think about who gets my blood or the significance of the process of giving and receiving it. I'm thinking about it now and chatting to a researcher about this is a lot more interesting than the forced-choice phone MORI poll in which, by chance, I'd participated earlier in the day on my attitude to Information Technology. One felt like an exchange, the other like a donation - though MORI will give £20 to a charity of my choice in return for my participation. I chose RoadPeace. I realise now that a most significant event which I hardly remember because it was handled undramatically, at a dramatic time, was that Lin, who is Rhesus B negative, got a small jab at the time of Richard's birth, which prevented her creating antibodies that could, depending on our daughter's blood group, have been fatal to her when she was born four years later. A life threatening problem has now, through pre-natal data collection and minor intervention, become, to all intents and purposes, a non-problem. A fine example of the 'banality of good' * * * Had tea with Z this afternoon, at her house, where a guest room is ready for Dh. Our Iraki friend arrives at Heathrow soon. Friends, including Kate from CARA, will meet him at the airport and drive him to Birmingham. Z's away that day and so gave me spare keys and a briefing on turning on heating, rooms, cupboards, the shower and so on, before she returns later in the evening. This week I'll tighten up arrangements for Dh's arrival at the university the following day. He's survived daunting paperwork to get to the UK, and will now need to steer his wife and children here, while starting his Phd and finding campus accommodation for his family. * * * As well as Oscar, we have now got a tabby cat called Flea living here - a tiger in the house. She arrived temporarily a three months ago and looks as if she's decided to stay. She and Oscar co-exist by maintaining diplomatic distance. [CLICK on the picture of the cat and get ready to go 'Awwww!!' Then note the colour of the eyes. Definitely Greek, though whenever I think cat I think of Christopher Smart's cat Jeffry from Jubilate Agno - links there with Axion Esti. Richard's recent picture of Flea] An exchange with a Greek friend - CORFU KNICKERS CRISIS:
I get so much pleasure - and amusement - whenever I revisit your photos. I don't understand enough Greek to get all the humour but it feels infectious. We are recently returned from Corfu to enjoy some good rain, grey sky and chilly weather, and will return after Christmas. There was an 'incident' about which I wanted to ask your opinion, A young man called F has a sailing boat moored in xxx Harbour which he is fitting out. One day last month he hoisted his girl friend's knickers on the same halliard as his Greek courtesy flag (which foreign yachts always fly in Greek waters). 4 big policemen arrived in a 4 X 4 and asked his dad - living on another English yacht close by - if he knew who had done this crime. G said 'it's my son's boat'. Because F was under 21 his father is responsible for his son's actions and so he has been charged with a crime and must appear in court, probably in January 08. Do you know what is the best thing he should say in his and his son's defence? The pants were after all 'under' not 'above' the Greek flag and as soon as the police insisted the knickers - very very small ones - were immediately lowered. I know how important the Greek flag is to many Greeks but it is very difficult for British people to understand the meaning of the flag in Greek culture. I wondered if G could show your photo to the Judge (:)) Yours enjoyably, Simon
Reply:
hahahahaha! F is my personal hero! I fancy him! Go F go! That's what I would do if I were him! Much more things in life are more important than a 'patrida' and the love (sexual or emotional) for a woman is one of them! If F thinks his girlfriend is more important than any flag then he did all right hoisting her panties on that halliard! Go F! woohoo! stupid flags and what they represent! It is a tricky situation. Policemen in Greece are ummm... brutal, narrow minded, dumb and racists. If he (his father G) makes it to the court he should plead guilty and ask for forgiveness. The judge will not be harsh on him. Since that incident didn't make it to the news and there is no publicity to the matter it will be ok. The public opinion in Greece is against english tourists. But G can squeez himself through if he says something like 'F was drunk' or 'we just had it washed and we hoisted it up that sail to dry it'. I am not good at legal advice though! Mind me not! and yes he can show my foto to the judge. Hell, he can use my real name if he wants! But I don't know if this will help him! I hope it turns out good for G (and F)! Poor boy! hahahahahaha! knickers!
Reply:
Dear X. Your laughter is a breath of fresh air, Freedom!! Thanks for your mix of humour, sympathy and wise advice. Of course I won't show your photo - unless G faces death (:)) English people never get drunk, blasted, plastered, blotto, intoxicated, dipso, high, hammered, juiced up, pickled, legless or zonked, so the judge will not accept that excuse. 'We just had it washed ....' hahahahahahahahahahaha! That would be cheeky! I guess G could argue that when asked to take down the girl's knickers they were pulled down v.quickly. Do you think that would wash with the Judge? I just remembered that when those eccentric British plane spotters were in a bad place their Greek lawyer got them clemency when it was discovered there were also Greeks who indulged in the weird hobby of plane spotting (επισήμανση αεροπλάνων?). Much respect, Simon
Postscript to the above letter:
Friend. I am excited by this lecture about a play by Nikos Kazantzakis that I did not know about. As we left Venice for Greece on the ferry last February we met a man in leathers - a philosopher - on a motorbike travelling to Corfu. His name was Kapodistrias. I did not then know this name or what it meant. And then I read about the first governor of free Greece and his assassination. Then I read Kazantzakis after you had told me how you respected this writer but I did not know that in 1944 he had written a tragedy called Capodistria about the last few days in his hero's life, which said much about the paradox and tensions of modern Greek politics. Herete. Simon
The British are relaxed about their flag

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