Wednesday, 25 January 2012
The continuing adventures of me and the Greek goddess Io who I met on a trip back to Australia. She has come for a purpose which is very difficult to determine.
After our morning swim we drove further down the coast and stopped at the Star of Greece restaurant overlooking the sea at Port Willunga. I knew the history of the name but thought that taking Io my star of Greece to that restaurant would be appropriate.
It was fairly expensive but that was nothing compared with value added bonus of Io being my partner. I enjoyed the meal, the view and being able to talk to Io in this setting was great but every time I tried to home in on the purpose of the trip, the conversation seemed to turn away from that to more trivial things.
As I was driving I limited myself to just one glass of wine plus a lot of water. Io on the other hand like most Greek gods and semi gods freely imbibed and became quite bubbly towards the end of the meal.
“Just who was the real star of Greece” I asked after explaining that the restaurant and the road were named after a shipwreck just offshore a hundred years ago.
She looked at me in amazement, “Me of course!” She was swaying slightly.
“So the constellation of Taurus is really named for you then?”
She nodded, looking at me with her eyes clearly going out of focus.
“Fancy them naming that stupid lump of rock circling around Jupiter after me.” She slurred, her fingers twirled in the motion of that moon around the planet and in doing so she nearly fell off her chair. I shook my head at the waitress who asked if we would like another bottle of wine.
Io looked at me in surprise “But I haven’t finished drinking yet.” She then grinned the happy face of someone just about to pass out, so I quickly paid the bill and managed get her out of the restaurant looking like a couple of lumbering drunks and into the car without falling over.
“Let me tell you,” she started again wagging her finger at me. “I could drink with the best of them.”
“Dionysus?” I ventured.
“Could be, I don’t remember.” She said laughing stupidly.
With that and me buckling the seat belt around her, she started humming some tune that I could not place, an Arcadian air I suspect and by the time I was back on the main road, she was sleeping peacefully, albeit with her mouth open.
I got her back home safely and then had to drag her inside. I shut the front door as she slid slowly to the floor. My poor back wouldn’t allow me to pick her up. So I slowly dragged her into the single bedroom and just about got her into the bed there when she opened one eye, stared at me and then said “It was Poseidon…he can drink like a fish.” She laughed again noisily then passed out.
It was now late afternoon. Tired though I was I didn’t want to go to bed just yet. So made sure there was a glass of water by her bed and a bucket just in case gods also threw up after a binge and then went round to the local shops to do a bit of a stock up for essentials. I returned about half an hour later to find her still fast asleep so I sat in the lounge watching the TV with a glass of wine for myself now that I could and waited for an announcement on the international news segment of fleeing goddesses from Greece being searched for by Interpol. Luckily there was none. It felt almost normal as I listened to the sports results and the weather for tomorrow.
Either I had been conned by the most devious bitch imaginable or there in the other room was a beautiful but frightened ancient Greek goddess who really needed my help, but why couldn’t she tell me?
The weather girl said it was getting warmer. So I then surfed the channels for possible entertainment for a couple of hours. I found David Attenborough looking a lot younger. A political commentator spouting nonsense, two raving or was it raging pop bands and a boring game show intended to embarrass the contestants, clearly I was spoilt for choice unless I had money to burn and needed a dubious hair restorer or my windows soundproofed. I wondered whether the children’s programs were still on which might be a better bet. I was just about to turn the infernal machine off and find a book when the door opened and Io poked her head round the door.
“I am not a devious bitch Robin. A devious goddess, yes, even a devious heifer I would accept, but not a bitch.”
“Must you read my mind?” She thought about that question for a few seconds then nodded.
“We have got to talk, Io. You have made me love you. That’s great, it is a lot of fun but unless you tell me what is going on I am not going to play your game anymore.”
She came over and plonked herself in my lap. There was no sign that she had consumed two bottles of wine all by herself and been all but incapable a few hours ago. Her breath smelled as sweet as…well, mouthwash. Perhaps she had been to the bathroom.
“The reason I am here,” she said getting comfortable for the usual long rambling explanation from seers, oracles (and presumably gods too of the period), “Is that we have got some important information.”
“We?” I asked. She nodded and then pointed to the heavens as though identifying each of the gods she was thinking about.
Thursday, 19 January 2012
The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand.
Although Hatiti’s house was now complete both she and her baby Horowai slept most nights with Ahu‘s family as she was now breast feeding Ahu’s baby Aotea as well has her own little girl..
Hatiti remembered the day that she, Ahu and the younger children had been walking on the beach gathering shellfish and any unwary crabs that scuttled under their feet as they wandered along talking and laughing. As they sat to feed their babies Ahu uttered little cries of pain as Aotea tried to take his fill. He was always hungry and cried a lot as he had not had enough. Ahu‘s milk was drying up and she did not feel well.
“Hatiti, you are still feeding Horowai, is it possible you could top up Aotea for me if you have some to spare? Aotea is grizzling again and I feed him but he is not happy.”
They exchanged babies whilst Hekehoru watched them. Aotea was unhappy at first with the change but soon settled and was tucking in as Ahu placed Horowai down on the sand with Hekehoru and continued to talk to Aotea and stroked both the baby’s and Hatiti’s cheeks as the baby fed.
The two little girls, Horowai and Hekehoru went back to playing with shells on the beach unconcerned.
“Thank you Hatiti.” Ahu said when Aotea was handed back to her. “But I must try to keep feeding him; otherwise another baby will come along too soon.”
“Did not the leaves of the Horopipo plant help you?”
Ahu shook her head, “I do not think I am producing enough milk for him and he chews a lot, it is very painful.”
“I will always feed him Ahu, but won’t Ahuahu mind?”
“Well he cannot help, can he?” She said with a sad smile. “We must also look for the Poroporo plant, the one with purple leaves and flowers that will make a drink to help to prevent me becoming pregnant again if I am not breast feeding.”
“How do you know all these things, Ahu?”
“I listen and I remember. For years I was a nobody, an orphan, living with my aunts, they hardly noticed me and certainly did not care for me. But I listened and I remembered all that they spoke about. I determined if ever I should marry and have children I would love my husband and my children and whoever showed me kindness. That is why I love you.”
Hatiti nodded and smiled back at Ahu in satisfaction.
It was a few days later that Hinewai disgraced herself and both she and her husband Torangi were banished from the village after the disturbance they caused.
The village head man spoke to Ahuahu, Ahu’s husband privately.
“Ahuahu, it is said you are looking after Hatiti, Hinewai’s sister. Is she to be your wife also?”
“My wife Ahu wishes that she should live with us now that Hatiti’s husband has died. No, she is not my wife as well.”
“Then do you not think perhaps we should find a husband for her.”
Ahuahu shook his head, “No, I have promised both of them that I will look after Hatiti.”
The head man laughed, “She is already your wife then. Most of the men on the village council have two wives, this is good thing. You should tell Kamaka her father, so that he need not worry for this daughter as well.”
Ahuahu shook his head. “Hatiti is not unchaste. She still grieves for her dead husband. She feels safe and happy to live with us.” Replied Ahuahu.
“You must make her even happier then.” Laughed the head man and slapped Ahuahu on the arm.
“I will discuss it with Ahu and Kamaka” said Ahuahu. He thanked the chief for his advice and returned home not having revealed that Ahu herself had already made these plans.
The two women were in the house when he returned.
“Hatiti, would you go and check your house while I talk to Ahu?” Hatiti looked a little worried as she glanced at Ahu but did as she was asked.
“The head man considers that Hatiti should be my wife also, Ahu.”
Ahu nodded smiling, “This is a good idea, she will be a great help for me. Go and ask her. She may need persuading, so be gentle with her and show her that you will be a kind husband to us both. So take your time.”
“Ahu, it is you that wanted this.”
“Have you not noticed she has fed Aotea ever since he was sickly, as he could not get enough milk from me? He is thriving again now. Start by thanking her for that; then tell her she is beautiful. You do think she is beautiful don’t you?”
“But not as beautiful as you.”
“No, do not tell her that. Go on, you are on the village council and are expected to have more than one wife. I chose Hatiti because she is so much like me. We will not argue. Quickly, go to her now or else she will think that you do not want her living with us.”
A little while later Ahuahu brought Hatiti back to their house. Hatiti was crying. “Did our husband beat you” asked Ahu smiling.
Laughing and wiping the tears from her eyes Hatiti shook her head “No, that is not possible he loves us both so much.”
Note. Multiple wives were fairly common in Aotearoa (New Zealand) before white settlement.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
The continuing adventures of me and a Greek goddess
I phoned the kids, told them I was home.” Worn out but recovering” I sort of lied. When asked about my guest, I promised they would meet her soon as soon as our body clocks were back to normal. Based on our recent performance, that would not be for some time. So the very next day with the sun behaving itself with temperatures still in the 90’s rather than the scorching 100’s I suggested we go down to the beach. I put the beach bag in the car with the towels and slipped my bathers on with a mortals usual disdain to having to explain to a goddess such things as the need for a one piece costume or bikini at the beach. I just thought she would work it out like her breezing through immigration and customs the other day.
We could have walked to the beach but I wanted to go a little further down to avoid the cafes and life guard patrols. So we settled ourselves under the rocks facing west with a wide expanse of beach before us and the sea barely rippling a tide with mini breakers that suited me down to the ground. I stripped off my tee shirt, stood up and started to walk toward the water to test its temperature. I heard Io come running after me and turned to see her happily skipping on the sand without a stitch on. I looked at her in horror. Rushed back to our things grabbed a towel and raced back to wrap it round her. I tied it just above her breasts and got her to sit down at the water’s edge while I explained that naiad or not, everyone had to wear a bathing costume on this beach. She looked at me in puzzlement as I led her back to our things. “It is my fault Io. But here there are places where you can bathe naked and others where you cannot. I thought you might guess you needed a bathing costume. Sorry, but we will go and get one for you this afternoon.”
She thought about this for a bit with a sad face. “Is there nowhere I can bathe naked?”
I finally agreed there was a nudist beach about 35 miles from there. She looked at me quizzically “How far is that?” I tried to remember ancient Greek distances. ”In stadiums, I mean stadia?” She nodded. Was a stadium a furlong? If it was, that would make it between 250 to 300 stadia. I suddenly stopped my calculations. It just didn’t matter.
“We will drive down there now. It is not 300 stadia so it should take an hour.”
She seemed very pleased. I think she liked driving in my chariot. So we drove down through all the southern beach suburbs of Adelaide with the sea on our right. When we got to Maslins Beach I had to decide whether we would park at the top of the cliff and walk downhill to the nudist beach or park at the lower car park by the conventional clothed beach and walk along. I chose the lower one because at my age I didn’t relish clambering down the cliff then back up again afterwards. So we parked the car and took some beach towels, bottles of water and some snacks and walked along under the cliffs until we passed the signs warning us we were entering an unclad bathing area.
It was deserted on this early midweek morning. We found a place to make camp and look out to sea. There was more movement in the water and a slight breeze here but Io stripped off regardless and ran towards the surf. She was beautiful to watch, so natural in the water, unafraid, splashing and diving with all the freedom of a fur seal that occasionally can be seen in these waters. So I too stripped down and took my pale freak like body down to the water’s edge and waded tentatively in with her. The delight on her face was a joy to see. She was in her element. Once or twice she came up to me gave me a hug and then went off again splashing and diving in the water, disappearing from view only to emerge far away from where she went in. She came back often, realising that I was not a strong swimmer to tell of what she could see in the water. She told of a ray skimming on the bed of the ocean, of the shoals of whiting feeding in the sea grasses, of the scuttling crabs and the solitary shark just cruising by; contented but not hungry she said. Apparently it was that he just had to keep moving or else he would drown. When she finally emerged she wore a garland of seaweed and carried an empty shell which she held in her hand. “Listen to what I heard down there” she said” and she placed it to my ear as if I would receive a telephone call from Poseidon himself.
I ran back to get a towel for her which she spurned. Instead she danced on the sand drying herself in the sun and I watched entranced as she ran up and down in front of me with her arms stretched out. Then she would spin around with her hair all streaming about with such a beautiful look of ecstasy on her face. Eventually she slowed down and allowed me to lead her back to our spot under the cliff face. She glowed with such satisfaction and exhilaration that she proved quite clearly that she was a true naiad, but best of all she was all mine. She accepted a bottle of water and we both drank looking into each others eyes. Hers were laughing and mine…well I couldn’t see them but I think I may have been crying to have such beauty belong to me…for now. I patted her hair dry with a towel and removed the tiny slivers of shells and sea grasses from her body secretly touching her flawless skin in admiration.
There were a few more people coming on to the beach now and jealous of having to share that beauty I suggested we leave and find somewhere to have lunch. She agreed readily and after the long walk along the beach to the car, stopped before the warning sign to don our clothes again. The car was so hot that I opened all the windows then turned the engine on and got the air conditioner going gradually closing each window as the heat was excluded. Io didn’t seem to notice this but found instead the mirror above her visor and looked with interest at herself; brushing the remaining grains of sand from herself onto the floor.
“What?” She said as I checked her seat belt and stole a kiss as I did so. The kiss was returned with enthusiasm but the query clearly meant she was reading my mind.
“Just where are you taking me, Io?”
“You are taking me to lunch. Perhaps we can talk then.”
Saturday, 14 January 2012
The continuing story of Ahu and Ahuahu her husband in a Maori village in Aotearoa before European settlement of New Zealand.
Once again Hinewai, Hatiti’s sister was the cause of great strife in the village of Black Sands. Hinewai’s husband Torangi had caught her with a youth from the village and had knocked out some of the boys teeth, broken his arm and left him unconscious. All the while Hinewai was crying and screaming so much that no one was spared the knowledge of her shame and unfaithfulness.
Torangi took Hinewai back to their home but did not shout at her or touch her in anyway. “Go and wash and we will eat later” he said to her. Despite this Hinewai was furious.
“You are not a man who a woman can look up to” she said.
“When I took you in marriage after your first husband beat you so badly I vowed that I would never punish you in that way.” Torangi answered.
“No you punish me by being old and uninteresting. You are a dull old man. I loathe you” screamed Hinewai.
If fact she screamed so loudly that not many in the village slept much that night with the amount of abuse as Hinewai vented her fury at being caught with a lover.
Hatiti spoke to Ahu the following morning.
“I am ashamed of what happened last night Ahu.”
“I am your sister now Hatiti. You belong to our family now. You feed Aotea for me and we do everything together. You do not have to bear Hinewai’s shame.”
The two women hugged and rubbed noses as Hatiti cried with relief and happiness.
Ahuahu was summoned to attend a meeting of the village council. Among the many things they discussed was Hinewai and the disruption of her behaviour on the village. Ahuahu listened to members of the village council discuss the problem and found it hard to contribute to the discussion. Eventually the village head spoke to him.
“You have not said much Ahuahu. You fish with Kamaka and know the family well. What do you say?”
“Hinewai has been hurt in her life and we should bear that in mind but perhaps we could persuade Torangi to find somewhere else to live. This would be better than to punish him for being persuaded to look after her.”
“Are you saying we should banish them from the village?”
“She is dividing the village; she is making wives and parents unhappy. She is not discreet in her affairs. Her husband loves her and does not beat her, he does not deserve her. It is hard for him but perhaps we should tell him they are no longer of our Pori.” Ahuahu responded.
“You have spoken well, Ahuahu. She is upsetting too many in the village, they should be split from our tribe. Neither Torangi or Hinewai will be punished other than by banishment from the village.”
The discussion continued for some time but they all agreed. The Village head indicated that he would speak to Torangi to advise him of the decision.
Ahuahu returned home sadly. His friend Kamaka had tried so hard to rescue his daughter Hinewai from her first abusive husband, now he would lose her forever.
Ahu and Hatiti were in their house together with the all children when he returned. As he came in Hatiti made to get up to return to her own house.
“Stay, Hatiti. You are part of our family now and need never leave.”
After they had eaten their meal and got all the children asleep, Ahuahu told the two women of the decision of the Village council. Ahu’s face was pale with shock and Hatiti cried openly sobbing with grief for her sister Hinewai.
Later Ahu said to Ahuahu, “You must comb the hair of both of us tonight. Hatiti is feeding our baby Aotea so we must give her something in return.”
“If I do you must not leave me alone with her.” Ahuahu said and Ahu nodded in agreement.
Pori - People
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Sunday, 8 January 2012
I had another visit from my friend the other day. You know the one that just after you have switched the light out after reading a chapter of your favourite author or perhaps even supping a little too much of your chosen tipple you sense their presence in the room.
He has been before, just sizing me up as it were. Luckily he hadn’t yet sucked the soul out of me and whisked me away to God knows where. He has merely checked me out and reminded me again of my mortality, which so many of us fail to comprehend.
He hadn’t said a word. So I started the conversation.
“Are you going to let me finish this book?”
He laughed in reply.
“Isn’t it normal to catch me unawares? Aren’t you supposed wield that scythe and toss me in that boat to cross the river Styx hopefully with a dollar in my pocket?”
He shook his hidden hooded head.
“Things are a bit slack after the busy Holiday season when things return to normal so I thought I would visit a few friends.”
“I am honoured Death. But I am sure you have another cunning reason for disturbing my sleep”.
He sighed and sat on the edge of the bed leaning his scythe up against the wall. I most have shown my concern at this as he then said. “It won’t scratch the paint, it is not really there”.
He just sat there and didn’t say a word. So I had to start the conversation.
“Why don’t you tell me what is troubling you?” I reached out and held his hand.
Now here is a funny thing, as I patted those bony digits I suddenly realised that it was not a man I was speaking to but a woman. Not only was it a much smaller hand than mine it was the feminine sigh of longing as I did so.
“It’s alright”, I crooned to her, “I understand. Woman is the one that brings forth life and you are the one that has to take it back afterwards”.
Now it was lucky that it was pitch dark as we talked on that January night, as I wasn’t able to see her cry. That wouldn’t have been normal would it?
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
The continuing adventure of me and a Greek goddess
We flew into Kuala Lumpur airport, which as you may know is quite a few miles from the city. Airports are airports and I had no desire to traipse around all those shops yet again so I told Io I was going up to the Business Class lounge and did she want to meet me there later?
“How far are you going?” I asked meaning the flight as we hadn’t discussed our destinations. She didn’t answer but asked me in turn where I was going.
“Adelaide” I replied.
She beamed. “So am I.”
I didn’t believe her. “Show me you ticket then.”
She pouted, “Don’t be cross. I haven’t got a ticket.”
“Nor a passport either, I expect. You just make them think you have, don’t you?” I sighed deeply. “How do you do it? Who do you think you are, Cleopatra or someone just lauding it over everyone?”
She raised her eyebrows, “Well a little better than her. Haven’t you heard of Isis?”
“Oh no, I thought that was some story the Egyptians made up to account for you swimming in the sea from the Bosphorus through the Mediterranean to the Nile all to escape Hera tormenting you with gadflies.” At this point I held her arm and examined it for insect bites.”
“Well I am a good swimmer. And the gadflies? I found this really good spray I think it is made in Australia, called Stingose.”
“You know couldn’t get Stingose back then. Why do you make my brain ache Io?”
She suddenly looked worried, came up to me and put her hand on my forehead.
”Is that better?”
“Of course it is better. You have bewitched me haven’t you? I can just see my kids meeting me off the plane in Adelaide with a teenage girl alongside holding my hand. Why did you pick on me Io?”
“You’re the only one that understands.” With that she gave me a hug so we skipped the shops and headed for the lounge together.
We settled into some easy chairs and I said I was going to have a shower.
“We could bathe together” she suggested.
I shook my head. “That is naughty and forbidden. This is Muslim country. The facilities are strictly segregated. If you want a shower I will look after the carry-ons and have my shower later.”
She nodded and flounced off to the back of the lounge where had I directed her. For the last 15 hours or so I had been in her company and just those few minutes apart were now an agony. What had she done to me? I looked out of the window onto the airport tarmac the sun was at its zenith and I could imagine how hot and steamy it was out there as we were just above the equator. After the exhilaration of being with her I now felt dead tired.
She came back all fresh and dewy. Mind you she was like that when she left. Being a minor goddess clearly has an advantage over us mortals. After my shower we sat and talked about what would happen when we got to Adelaide while I tried to determine the real purpose of her trip.
She assumed I would provide a bed for her. Luckily I had a spare room and the neighbours weren’t nosy. It would be slightly different though with my three grown up children all with families of their own. What tactic could I use with them?
“I should have told them you were coming” I said to Io a few hours later as we stood waiting to board the last leg flight to Adelaide.
“Can’t you send them a message?”
I am glad she didn’t suggest sending Hermes. So I texted the same message to them all, Met my cousin’s daughter at KL, said she could stay with me in Oz for a while, Dad x.
As you can see I am not an expert at texting but it seemed OK. As I showed my boarding pass and Io did whatever she did while I disowned her for a minute, I quickly turned my mobile off, before any questions started to hit the ether from Australia.
Once we had settled in again on this new flight, I tried to think practicalities. Should Io’s name be changed? What was her real purpose in fleeing Greece? Is she just a tourist and does she need a temporary entry permit? I was worrying unduly of course; she was the one with the problem of getting through customs. My worry was how I could resist ripping all her clothes off and making her mine the moment we stepped inside my front door.
At that moment Io caught up with me gave me a wink and said “I’ve changed my name”
I raised my eyebrows.
“It’s Violet S. Inarchus. I am Greek and on a holiday to see friends and relatives in Melbourne. That’s near you isn’t it?”
“Well that is better than saying you have an Arcadian passport,” I grinned. “I love the idea of little Io hiding in a bunch of sweet scented violets. Oh and by the way Melbourne is about 500 miles from Adelaide.”
“Well perhaps I won’t meet up with them after all.”
“So how do I explain to my family that you have a Greek name.”
“Well I am married aren’t I?”
“I have the measure of you Io. Inarchus is not your father’s name, his was Inachus. Inarchus was one of the first kings of Greece thousands of years ago. What you have done is put a little r for Robin in your father’s name. I am flattered.”
“Oh that was just a little test” she said, “You came through with flying colours.” As she said that she let her forefinger just tap me gently on the nose.
I sat in my seat and wondered how soon the drinks trolley would come round I really needed one.