Well, our so-called summer came and went. We watched TV as the rain battered the windows.
Then I got all Dad-excited when “Volcano LIVE” was part of the BBC schedule.
At the appointed hour the Beers are corralled in front of the haunted fish-tank. The Beeb-tastic continuity announcer intones that we were off live to the Big Island of Hawai’i. I gasp with anticipation. Then we are faced with smiley Kate Humble and that enthusiastic Scottish scientist – not the long haired archeologist – from the middle of the Pacific. As if by magic it’s “hello” from the rim of moodily-smouldering Kilauea. The camera pans back to show the desolate, black, strangely beautiful other worldly scene of a volcanic vista.
“Behold! New earth…. ”
“We’ve stood there!” Up close to the screen I point/announce with puppy-dog enthusiasm.
My momentary delight doesn’t last. Indeed, it is brutally shredded by weapons grade apathy from the sofa. Even my digit jabbing at the screen to our exact-several-months-ago-we-stood-lust-there-ing fails to lift the levels of interest. Bald truth: The majority of the Beers are not remotely interested in volcanos.
Of course, the good people of the British Broadcasting Corporation are always taking a risk by enticingly adding the word “LIVE!” to mother nature. Being present at a volcanic eruption? Now that’s a definite wow. Trying to schedule it for prime time? Not gonna happen. No matter how enthusiastic/attractive/Scottish your presenters are. Multiply this risk of failure by a factor of lots when you are talking geology. (We humans cannot comprehend the timescales involved in planetary development. We cannot deal with spans of age that large. Okay, okay: intellectually we can. But it’s meaningless when related to the brief nature of a human life.) Geology by-and-large fails as scheduled-neatly-for-live-telly fodder. Let’s face it: it’s not really a spectator event.
Note to BBC programme management: Geology LIVE. It’s niche appeal at best isn’t it? Well done all the same. I loved it.
We have too. Been to Hawai’i I mean – don’t forget that apostrophe y’all – and explored the amazing Volcano National Park with Ranger Travis. It’s both a lifetime ago and a fresh as a daisy memory. Watching the Beeb brings it all flooding back. (At least for me. The others didn’t give it time and melted away to other more pressing matters.)
Annnd forget. Forget about the trip. Forget about Hawai’i.
Presently… following more rain and some Olympics…
I’m at work and a surreal text from Mrs Beer:
"The clothes have arrived from Hawai'i!!!!!!!"
(On this rare occasion, the above amount of exclamation markage is appropriate.)
In April 2012 we entrusted our clothes to a laundrette in the small community of Ocean View, Hawai’i. Click on the link in the previous sentence to recalibrate your sense of the word “remote”. It really is in the middle of nowhere half a world away from Blighty. (Zoom out and you’ll get my drift.) It has a small supermarket, a fast food joint or three, a thrift store, gas station and a Wash’n’Go.
The latter was where we made the innocuous deal to have our clothes cleaned overnight. Only when you are traveling light with an 8 & 10 year old you really don’t have many clothes, so we have basically handed over almost everything except what we were stood up in.
What could possibly go wrong?
When we turned up the next day to collect? Closed.
Closed as in locked and lights off, come back tomorrow. Only we were scheduled to leave the island never to return that afternoon. Bye-bye clothing.
[Cut to 4 months later in a rural English village. Our always friendly local postie has been.]
We receive a small package from Gail’n’Greg our Hawai’ian yurt owning hosts containing our laundry.
So, I can tell you’re wondering – dear reader – is it really a 4 month voyage from Hawai’i to the UK? If I posted myself to the 50th state of the US, when might I arrive? Perhaps it’d be useful to know if one was planning to send Christmas or perhaps a birthday card to the islands.
When I arrive home from work on the evening in question I am curious. A quick survey of the packaging and – Sherlock-Beer at your service – the deduction that it’s taken but a few short days. The postage label also reveals that it’s $60 of airmail. So The United States Postal Service ensures clobber is reunited.
I know what else you are thinking… Fortunately, it is fresh as can be.
So there, it is: We do like a happy ending don’t we.
For those of you who like a minor mystery in your lives, ponder this: