Tag Archives: lists

Aw Crusoe and Little Friday

A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

I assume this would be over and above basics such as food, fresh water, shelter, blankets, a couple of changes of clothing, etc. If Little Witness was on board with me, he would have to be one of the items, as I’m not leaving him to sink beneath the waves.

Second, I’d want a fully-charged iPad so I can tell somebody I fetched up on this little island… no I don’t know the co-ordinates, but we were on our way to some place… sorry, I thought I heard a noise but it was just a coconut dropping. Let me move out from under this palm tree. OK, bye.

While waiting in comfort for help to arrive, I would study the environment and wonder about the other three things I really should have with me.

A good book would be a boon. You would think my Kindle would be suitable as it has a fair-sized library on it, but battery power on this island is a non-renewable resource. I would be better off with a long and engrossing paperback… perhaps The Memoirs of Cleopatra (Margaret George) or a Lymond novel by Dorothy Dunnett. The first Hornblower book would be a good choice from a nautical point of view, or (better yet) the full set of Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian.

Are you sure I can’t have them all? Dorothy Dunnett then, as it’s years since I last read any.

From the Wikipedia:

The six volumes follow the life and career of the charismatic Francis Crawford of Lymond, the younger son of the Crawfords of Culter, members of the landed aristocracy of the Scottish Lowlands. Brought up according to the Renaissance ideal of an educated autodidact, he is a polyglot, knowledgeable in literature, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences, a practitioner of all the martial arts, a spell-binding musician, a talented thespian, and a master strategist with a genius for imaginative tactics.

Two more items?

A stationery set. I insist that counts as one item and will include paper, pens, pencils, ruler, eraser and sharpener. Then I can blog to you about what it’s like sitting on a desert island waiting for somebody to come. I wouldn’t be able to publish my adventure till later, but it would give me something to do. If there are colour pencils in there too, I could draw geckos and beetles, pretending I’m a female version of Stephen Maturin.

How many items is that? Four. I need one more.

A nice big chunky bar of chocolate comes to mind, refusing to be dismissed, especially if I can keep it cool and the ants don’t get to it. I’d eat it slowly while reading the Dorothy Dunnett novel, and the rescue boat would arrive just as I polished off the last piece.

Provided no lives were lost, that would be a good day.

‘Today,’ said Lymond, ‘if you must know, I don’t like living at all. But that’s just immaturity boggling at the sad face of failure. Tomorrow I’ll be bright as a bedbug again.’

― Dorothy Dunnett, The Disorderly Knights

Marking Time

Apparently we should write lists to get through our gloomy spells.

Hoping to achieve:

(1) Better artwork and photography.
(2) Avoiding living forever and turning into a sort of desiccated bat. (I should put at least one that’s achievable).
(3) More friends, casual or otherwise.
(4) Better writing and blogging.
(5) In time, a greater measure of peace. 🙂

Short-term goals.

(1) Get on with painting… will start again at the beginning as something wasn’t right.
(2) Rouse up new music for my collection. Will try anything except Pooh’s Top 40 and Duran Duran.
(3) Read more books… loads I bought for the Kindle and never got round to!

Long-term goal:

(1) Write a book? So many people are writing books, though. If I don’t, I’ll be the only person who hasn’t written one, which will be doing everyone a favour.

Things I’ve survived in life already:

(1) Loss.
(2) Irate hamsters, especially the Russian dwarf variety.
(3) Finding out I’m only average (that’s both depressing and a relief)
(4) Embarrassment (one of the worst indignities life throws at you).

What I love in life and what makes me happy:

(1) Family, friends (including iPad) and cats.
(2) Art and music.
(3) Comforting routine.
(4) Things beginning with C… comments, cadeaux, comedy, computers, cameras, chocolate, coffee, cream, cheese, coconuts, curry, chilli, cinnamon, cashew nuts, clematises, cherry blossom, colours, colouring books, creativity, comfortable slippers and conversation.
(5) Writing, diaries, blogging and haikus.
(6) Reading and books.
(7) Ideas and simple philosophies.
(8) Teddy bears and denim shirts (not necessarily together).
(9) Eggs, mushrooms, sausages and bacon at breakfast. (Not so keen at night).
(10) Roads of Rome, Northern Tale, Trolls vs Vikings and other iPad games.

What’s good about me:

(1) Curiosity and lots of casual research.
(2) Always improving writing skills and artwork.
(3) Trying to be fair even when people make me cross.
(4) Slowly cultivating a little healthy scepticism and caution!

What I’ve learned about myself from all of the above:

(1) There do seem to be a lot of Cs in my lists.
(2) I have no long-term goal!! Is that bad?
(3) No cake listed, but I don’t love it anyway. Especially not fruit cake.
(4) The things I love come together to make an acrostic. Is that to be my new goal in life? I’ve no wish to enter slanging matches with other Wikipedia editors, so can’t say I’m enthused.
(5) Simple living for me, please.

Why Top Ten Lists are Lame

(Don’t blame me… it’s another WordPress prompt!)

1: Who reads other people’s lists?

2: My top ten lists change, often in the middle of writing them.

3: So many things are equally deserving… for instance, do I give xth place to Vincent (Don McLean), SOS (Abba), Sealand (OMD), White Flag (Dido), Soolaimon (Neil Diamond), Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)…?

4: They are often brief by nature… summaries instead of a full piece of writing.

5: Probably a Top Ten List would look better if it was set to music, surrounded by graphics, counting down dramatically to Number One… but in most cases it wouldn’t be worth the time and trouble (see 1 and 2).

6: The dullest Top Ten Lists (probably including this one) are identical to everyone else’s. In a list of favourite things, most of us love chocolate, coffee, reading in bed etc.

7: Top Ten lists take a lot of time to write… either you have to pick the best from a plethora of options, or search your mind because there are too few.

8: When reading other people’s top ten (especially Top Ten Tips), I always wonder which important items weren’t included. I don’t want just ten tips, in that case… I want all of them!

9: Top Tens which are a general choice (from a public vote) are often disappointing: items that deserve to be high on the list never are.

10: It’s especially unsettling when you view a publicly voted Top Ten that is nothing remotely like your own (e.g. the funniest comedies)… you start to wonder if your own sense of humour or taste is so different from everyone else’s — are you so behind the times, and what it is that you are missing?

If I feel the urge to write Top Ten lists, however, I will write them. 😛