Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3144

The Daily Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3144
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 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.
**262 dozen**

As we finished ironing so David arrived to make our Sunday lunch, he was doing a whole salmon, which have gone up in price somewhat in recent months, something to do with fish lice or other pest. Most of the fish we eat that are produced in Europe, red salmon, are farmed and when it’s all as intensive as it appears to be, it’s not surprising they get problems. But then I’m ecologist and know better than anyone about these things, the sad thing is no one ever listens when we do tell them the risks involved, then when the proverbial hits the wotsit, they complain like mad that no one advised them that whatever could happen.

Conservationists have been trying to get the use of pesticides reduced for years but the farmers ignore them as the manufacturers tell them it’s safe to continue poisoning everything in sight. Recently even the UN published a report that suggested pesticides were more trouble than good and of questionable value. It looks as if the European Commission are going to ban neonicotinoids or neonics as they tend to call them because they’re killing large numbers of bees. If they do it will be a very good day all round although farmers will complain, because that’s what farmers do. Remember everything was the fault of badgers so they instigated a cull of poor brock, it’ll probably be the fault of badgers that they can’t spray everything in sight—no wonder we see very few butterflies or other insects, they’ve all been annihilated by vandals in tractors.

When I was a kid, and had the chore of washing Dad’s car to get my pocket money, it used to take ages in the summer to clean all the insects off the front of it, nowadays there are very few by comparison and with global climate change, there should be more as the world warms up. I wonder if we’ll ever have swarms of locusts here in Britain—that’s an interesting phenomenon in itself, the migratory form, which is the form that eats everything in sight, only happens when population pressures force the new generation to migrate, which they do in their millions and they’re also larger. Then I forget, once Brexit happens, no one will be allowed into the UK so that will preclude migratory locusts as well, I presume.

I left the kitchen to David after making us both some more tea and as I did so the others arrived for their breakfasts. I wasn’t too sorry to miss the chimps tea party and went and hid in my study, only to be once again joined by Trish who settled down with her computer and finished her homework, which she then printed out on my printer. Don’t they write in exercise books anymore? We had ours inspected regularly and if the cover was manky we had to cover it in brown paper, like we had to do with our textbooks. Being more of a goat than a sheep, I covered my text books in a plastic film which was more protective than brown paper but still got told off about it because the instructions said brown paper.

When we actually checked, it said they had to be covered in a suitable material such as brown paper, so I had great enjoyment telling them to read the rules more carefully. I never could understand why I didn’t make any friends in school, though I accept I could be a bit arrogant, but just a tiny bit—well some of the others were so bloody thick, it wasn’t hard to appear as an elitist poof, which was what they called me. They were wrong then and still are.

I was far away reliving some of my minor victories in the prison camp they called a boys’ grammar school, that when Trish tapped my arm I jumped quite violently and nearly wet myself. I also gasped audibly.

“Wassamatter, Mummy?” she asked sounding quite concerned.

“Sorry, sweetheart, I was miles away and didn’t hear you approach me.”

“I did speak loudly, Mummy, you just had your ear ’oles switched off.”

“Sorry, sweetheart.” My heart was still racing.

“I wanted to ask you about this...” she showed me some geography homework she had to do and I was able to help her understand the question. They had to show how the River Nile was used and abused in Egypt. She was suitably disgusted by the thought of someone downstream drinking water containing effluent from places upstream. I found her a paper on pollution in the Nile which showed that untreated sewage was a major hazard but so were the heavy metals like cadmium which tended to stay in the mud for many years and were very poisonous. It also mentioned dioxin, one of the most poisonous substances on earth.

When I explained the paper to her she was disgusted and astonished the Egyptians weren’t all dead from drinking contaminated water. I then showed her a thing about the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, which is where most of the drinking water originated, at least for Cairo.

“They didn’t tell us about that in geography.”

“I had to do something on it when I was at uni, that’s how I know.”

“Yeah, but you’re not a geography—er.”

“Geographer, I think you mean.”

“Yeah, one of them. You’re a biologist, so how come you know and they don’t?”

“Perhaps they thought it was too complicated to explain all of that or just wanted to make you think about the pollution, it is a real problem and does cause problems to people in Egypt, especially the heavy metals, if the mud gets spread on the farmland.”

“Didn’t we have some potatoes from Egypt?”

“A long time ago, I think we might have.”

“I hope I haven’t heavy metal contamination.”

“Let me see.” I pretended to examine her ears and throat, “Nah, no sign of Deep Purple or Guns an’ Roses.”

“What?” she said looking mystified.

“Can’t see any sign of heavy metal.”

She still looked as mystified as before.

“It’s a joke.”

“What is, Mummy?”

It’s at times like this I remember she is only twelve and in some ways a very young twelve, not that I was any better, preferring Brahms and Beethoven to Black Sabbath and much pop music. It didn’t help me make many friends just once again made me seem elitist or a snob. I explained the joke and she didn’t find it very funny—they never are if you have to explain them.

Then to make her chuckle, I retold her the one about the photon who checked into a hotel and when asked if he had any luggage said, ‘No, I’m travelling light.’ That went over her head as well. Once I asked her what a photon was, she began to see what the joke was and laughed loudly, rushing off to tell the others. I suspect only Sammi would get it and she was up in town. Sometimes you can feel quite lonely in a big family.

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