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Entry 8: Some welcome visitors drop in for
been a marvellous week for us here with a period of
unseasonably warm weather.
High above, the flights from America and Europe drift past silently, their
criss-cross smoke trails dumping the tonnes of carbon and ash over the
island that we need to preserve our cosy and hauntingly dreary local
atmosphere. My Scandinavian pen pal Mikka
and his children decided to pay me a visit, which came as a great personal
surprise given that I failed to receive his
As there are no planes that stop here, Mikka and the kids managed to arrive
by hitching a ride from a British Airways flight
from London to New York, smashing the emergency exit window open at the
appropriate moment and leaping out towards us in a precision jump which
ended with two of them in my garden and one lodged
upside down in the slats of the garage roof.
Once we’d managed to salvage one of these children from the garage, I
decided that we would take a trip down to the
Municipal Health Museum in town. The museum is renowned for its
exhibits on local history and its oddball range of scientific artefacts on
display. Mikka also reasoned with admirable logic that it might be a good
place to search for an expert to assess the seriousness of the nasty gash
that child had received from a jagged piece of roof
which had initially become embedded in his upper back.
museum proved to be a big hit with my visitors, who had never seen a real
museum up so close before. On the second floor there was an exhibition on
life in Ketsbaia in the 18th century. It
all looked pretty much the same as now except that apparently there was no
civilisation at all back then. No trees or anything either, just plenty of
sheep, which from their reconstruction appeared to be made mainly from
balls of cotton and pipe cleaners.
I allowed the children to roam about freely, which actually turned out to be
a bit of an error in hindsight. One of these kids I heard cry out in
surprise before meandering back around the corner to where I was standing
(admiring as I was how large sheep used to be compared to today’s ones). He
was clutching his forehead and holding back the tears. Then I went round to
see what had happened – a large crack in the glass
casing of one of the exhibits suggesting to me the child had misjudged the
distance of the display from his all-too-inquisitive head.
Not to worry I told him, trying to cheer him up, it happens to us all the
first time we visit a museum.
The problem of course with communication using the
message-in-a-bottle system is that invariably you won’t ever
actually receive any communications with the other person. After all, I
didn’t even know I had a Scandinavian pen pal until he
fell from above.