Saturday, August 20, 2011

What I would be doing this evening ...

... is to post a photo of where I finished on Thursday with the pointing, and I did go out this morning to take a photo. However, despite a thorough search, I can't remember where I put the camera afterwards. It's defnitely getting to me, all of this.

So after working on the web site this morning I went out and did some more searching for stuff that I need for Canada. And I'm badgered if I can find my box of battery terminals. I've about 50 somewhere but your guess is as good as mine.

What I'm intending to do is to buy a caravan battery over there, but to have two terminals with me, with a solar charge controller, a multi-cigarette-lighter socket, a couple of 12-volt sockets and a 12/120 volt inverter wired up to it so that all I need to do is to slip them onto the battery and wire the solar panel to the charge controller. Then I'll be all set up for my voyage. But where are these blasted terminals?

This afternoon, down to the bank to transfer some money, warn them about my visit to Canada (I don't want to have another cash card swallowed up by "unusual spending patterns") and to obtain a certificate of no claims for my insurance over there in case I decide to buy a car. I also went to the Mairie at Pionsat to get some info for the radio programmes.

I still had time afterwards to go up the wall, and I've extended the ladder almost right up the the apex - that's about 9 metres and of course I'm 2 or so metres off the ground before I start, being on the roof of the lean-to. It's decidedly shaky and being up there with no hands on the ladder while I chisel out the decaying mortar between the stones - I'm just not looking down.

The good side of today though was that the solar water reached 40.5°C and I had a gorgeous shower. What a way to start the weekend? I might even to to the swimming baths tomorrow.

For a little entertainment this evening, I watched the John Wayne film She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. It's said to be one of his classics but it's not a patch on El Dorado or Rio Bravo, his two best films by a country mile if you ask me.

What is interesting though is that She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is set in Monument Valley in the Utah-Arizona desert and it brought back all kinds of happy memories as keen long-term followers of this rubbish will recall that I visited there in 2002 when I was first off work ill, and I've never ever forgotten that journey. Yes, this evening I saw all kinds of sights that I had seen in the flesh, as it were. I'm definitely getting to be all broody about North America, aren't I?

What is even more interesting is that they had the Cavalry marching out of the camp to the tune of "Garry Owen", but that was in 1950 and they wouldn't ever dare do that now. "Garry Owen" was the marching song of the 7th Cavalry, the late and unlamented General Custer's regiment and ought to really have died with him at Little Big Horn because it played rather a sinister role in the American Ethnic Cleansing of Native Americans.

Back in 1869, Custer and his cavalry were on the trail of a small band of marauding Cheyenne raiders but losing the way in a blizzard they stumbled upon the camp of Black Kettle, a peaceful Cheyenne chief whose camp on the Washita River, well within the confines of the concentr ... errr ... Reservation. Setting his band up on a bluff overlooking the camp, Custer had them play "Garry Owen" while he and his soldiers raided the village, massacring every man, woman and child they could find, inculding a white woman and child who Black Kettle had liberated from a raiding party a short while earlier.

The atrocities that were committed on the dead and dying by the 7th Cavalry, described in all their gory - "that's not a spelling mistake" ...ed - by Custer in his book My Life on the Plains and also by many other soldiers at the battle and they make horrific reading.

Of course, this film was made 20 years before the release of Soldier Blue - the first film to blow the lid off the myth of the "heroic" US Cavalry and reveal them as the butchers and sadists that they really were. Soldier Blue concerned the earlier dreadful and notorious massacre of peaceful and innocent native Americans at Sand Creek - the event that brought home to the native Americans that whether they surrendered or whether they resisted, they were still going to be massacred (as indeed they were) and so they stood and fought.

Such was the horror of what happened at Sand Creek that an American Investigating Committee said of Colonel Chivington and his soldiers that
"(we) can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wearing the uniform of the United States, which should be the emblem of justice and humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, and therefore having the honor of the government to that extent in his keeping, he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the verist savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty. Having full knowledge of their friendly character, having himself been instrumental to some extent in placing them in their position of fancied security, he took advantage of their in-apprehension and defenceless condition to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man. Whatever influence this may have had upon Colonel Chivington, the truth is that he surprised and murdered, in cold blood, the unsuspecting men, women, and children on Sand creek, who had every reason to believe they were under the protection of the United States authorities".

Of course, by the time that the Washita came around, some 5 years later, nothing at all of any criticism was levelled. "Manifest Destiny" was now official Government Policy and extermination of the native Americans was all part of the plan.

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