This week we have been watching a new Netflix documentary series ‘Dogs’ it is about the relationship between people and their dogs.
The first episode featured an English Bull Terrier, Blue who is the mascot of Butler University in Indiana and his owner/handler Michael Kaltenmark who had a kidney transplant. (Apologies for the spoiler).
The second features Leland Melvin a former NASA astronaut and his two Ridgebacks, Zorro and Roux.
It is great viewing with nice music and good camera work.
When not watching this we have been tuned-in to Marie Kondo who also has a series on Netflix although I have said enough about her recently.
Back to Leland.
He was in space, don’t you know.
Indeed, this is a theme of the episode (that and the 2003 Challenger Disaster).
‘He tells everyone he has been in space,’ I said to my son.
‘If you’d been in space you would tell everyone too,’ he replied.
That made me think two things.
First of the Big Bang episode with Buzz Aldrin who like the Ancient Mariner (being a spaceman is a form of marineering). Who starts or ends every sentence with, ‘When I was on the moon…’
The second was a reflection back to myself as to where I have been that I could use to similarly excite/bore people.
‘Hi, my name is Rod, when I visited X….’
In one of last weeks’ blogs I mentioned the Wandering Jew which is an allusion to the Jewish people and their repeated expulsions/migrations over the millennia (Jews have been kicked out of more countries than you can number, some people want them kicked-out of Israel too); it is also the name of a climbing plant.
I have wandered a little over my life although nothing dramatic. My great-grandfather Michael was a true rambler, born in Russia he migrated to Glasgow then fought in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War then back to Glasgow and then off to Australia via Ceylon (Sri Lanka) (I have his passport). He was in Oz long enough to acquire citizenship before heading back to Glasgow. All this in the days before air flight or the internet (no Rough Guide to Ceylon).
I often wonder how he managed, how he related to the other passengers, how he coped with the mosquitos, the language, what he did when he arrived in a new country (they presumably stopped off in more places than Ceylon). I will never know. He died years before I was born. My dad who knew him best is also gone. All lost in the past.
I’ve done nothing compared to his travels.
Notably I’ve never been to Continental America, Africa (except Egypt) or Australasia.
Yes, I am a travel bore.
A bore because I haven’t been to Machu Pichu or Uluru.
Who is more of a bore? A person who starts every conversation with, ‘I remember the time I was in…’ or me, who has less to say.
I know some people who have literally travelled everywhere, either for work or pleasure.
And yes, I do think back to my riding a horse round the pyramids (photo lost, used to sit on my mum’s mantle) or the time I was apprehended by an oversized Czechoslovakian policeman in the 90’s, or maybe the time my friends and I camped-out by the side of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) in the 80’s.
It is all in the past and it periodically pops-out.
I prefer this popping out to the broken record.
Although, I have never been in space.
I’ve a story to tell ye…