Easy As Falling Off A Bike pt 2700

The Daily Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 2700
by Angharad

Copyright© 2015 Angharad

  
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This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
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Hannah’s desire to ride her bike palled a little when she looked out of the window and saw it was throwing it down and blowing a gale. Instead together with Livvie and Trish, they had a chess competition s they each had to play the other, it meant six games altogether and used up the Sunday morning.

David was occupying my kitchen so I spent much of the time doing stuff for the survey with a bit of help from Sammi to run one or two analyses on programs she’d written for us. I told her to patent them as they could be useful for any sort of data analysis, she wasn’t as convinced. Like Trish, she is so clever that she can’t see everyday cleverness as being of value. It tends to explain why clever folk often make the worst kind of business people, the things they value are different to ordinary folk, the so called man on the Clapham omnibus.

I was getting loads of data on distribution of mammals and recorders, which enabled me to direct them to areas with few records and also to advise them if common mistakes were being made, by common I mean mistakes common to a particular team or area, which usually happens because the trainer didn’t realise they had a problem with the way they learned something. To do all this by hand would take a lifetime, with Sammi’s program, it takes minutes.

If Darwin had had Sammi’s programs one wonders what sort of things he might have discovered as well as evolution by natural selection. It is fun sometimes to consider how different things would have been if people in days gone by had had access to modern things. Would Shakespeare have written all his plays and poetry with a ball point pen or a word processor? Would Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa or used some sort of digital camera and photoshop? If the price of green cheese had dropped would the Apollo moon landings have happened—it’s a well known fact that Elvis and Princess Di were smuggled to manage a green cheese mine on the dark side of the moon, which is only possible because the moon only shows us its one side, so anything could happen on the other one—the dark side.

It’s also the reason Prince William left the RAF to fly air ambulances—they were beginning to get suspicious about why he kept borrowing helicopters at weekends—to take Prince George to see his grandmother up on the moon—obvious really, innit?

I sniggered to myself as Danni came in with Cindy. “Can you knit, Auntie Cathy?”

“I can but it’s not my preferred handicraft, why?”

“I was doing some an’ got stuck.”

“Got stuck?”

“Yeah, can’t remember which is the front or the back.”

I’d learned to knit but hadn’t done very much—it grows too slowly for me—I’m better doing the sewing up after it’s finished. She handed me the piece of work attached to the needles. I looked at it quickly—“This way round,” I said and handed it back to her.

“How did you do that?”

“It was cast on from this side,” I showed her the dangling thread from the first stitch.

“’Course it was—doh,” she slapped herself on the forehead. “I wish I was as clever as you.”

“I’m not especially clever, Trish and Sammi are streets ahead of me, but they don’t always have huge amounts of common sense despite their massive brains, which is how I keep up with them.”

She smiled knowingly and nodded. “Can I stay in here with you?”

“If you want, though you may well hear me talking to myself.”

“That’s okay, Mum does it all the time, she says she’s thinking out loud.”

“Quite,” I agreed and we settled down into a relative silence with just the clicking of the needles and the ticking of the clock to distract me. I vetted a pile of records and passed them on to their specialist groups, stretching as I pressed send. “I need a cuppa, fancy one?” I said to Cindy as Danni had gone off to read some sporting biography or other.

“Oh please, can’t stop, I’m in the middle of the row.” I nodded and went out to the kitchen, David was still doing something with vegetables which smelt delicious but looked—well, don’t want to put you off your dinner—so I made the teas, him included and took them back to my study.

“Thanks, Auntie Cathy—I love this room, it’s so peaceful.”

I agreed, it was but then the triple glazed windows and specially insulated walls tended to make it so, as well as keep it warm or cool compared to the temperatures outside. It had proved expensive to do though otherwise the rest of the extension would have been done the same. I suppose over twenty or more years it would have paid for itself, like the solar panels, one of which produces warm water by sunlight—or would if we had any sunshine to play on its capillary tubing.

“Danni tells me you read Cleopatra when you were in school?”

“Gosh, that was a long time ago.”

“We’re doing it in school next year, if I get stuck can I come and talk it over with you?”

“Not sure I’ll be much help, it’s so long ago, but I remember seeing a programme on telly a while back about Cleopatra and the things she did to survive.”

“Oh like what—apart from seducing Julius Caesar and then Marc Antony and even Octavius.”

“She had her family sent to a supposedly safe place for some time, then had them murdered quietly.”

“Her family, like brothers and sisters?”

“Her sister, I remember, in particular.”

“How could she do that to her sister, I’d rather die than do that.”

“That’s seeing things through twenty first century eyes. In those days, a surviving sibling could give a rallying point to enemies who’d put them on the throne as a puppet after deposing you. It’s why the children of the Tsar were all killed in the Russian revolution. Had any survived, they could have been used to counter the revolutionary government.”

“Ugh, how could anyone kill children?”

“It’s happened many many times over the years, especially in revolutions or overthrows of governments or monarchies by distant relatives or revolutionary councils. Look at how the French royal house were slaughtered by the mob who then went on to purge themselves, several times over until Napoleon emerged and took control of things.”

“Gosh, aren’t you clever, never saw it like that before.”

“Anarchy like after a revolution lasts only until someone seizes power and holds on to it. Lenin then Stalin in Russia, Chairman Mao in China, even Henry VII in England and Wales. They took control, usually marry opposing daughters off to their sons to try and prevent dissent and to build alliances, but they usually also police things with ruthless efficiency. Anyone who’s suspect in their loyalties gets locked up and tortured. If they confess, they get executed in public to warn others.”

“People were so cruel in the past.”

“In the past? They still are, sweetheart, and usually it’s their own people they kill, often in their millions.”

“OMG,” she said and I nearly sniggered, “that’s like, monstrous.”

“Yes it is, isn’t it.”

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