So St Patrick's Day was interesting, for lack of a better word. It was pissing rain all day, but my townsfolk are hardy people, and that wasn't to stop us (most towns in the county ended up postponing their parades til this weekend). I was at the front in my bare feet, chattering with cold and trying not to look too awkward as I waved and smiled at people. The advantage to being first was that I was first out of the rain and promptly ran back home for a hot whiskey (Bushmills, hot water, sugar, a slice of lemon speared with cloves).
Work that night was insane for a few hours and then quietened down nicely. After-work pints were never as well-needed. Then more painting at the sister's house on Saturday, then back to the pub.
I feel like I'm hardly getting anything done, and yet I'm quite busy, time-wise.
Skype call incoming from an old friend so I'll finish this later, in the meantime here's the cat:
So, while _refugee_ has been creating books, I've been busy destroying one:
I found a copy of this book in the pub, of all places, and knew I'd finally found the ideal hidden-flask-book. Don't fret; I bought a used copy on Amazon, and I did read this before I started cutting into it. It's almost finished; just a lick of glue is needed on the inside to keep the pages together. It started off as very precise work with a scalpel, and eventually descended into me hacking away trying to make the flask fit; I had left enough room at the beginning, but the sides started to taper downward as I cut in. So it's rather messy, but it should be okay.
I've been reading Gavin Maxwell's A Reed Shaken by the Wind, written in the 1950s about his travels through the marshes in eastern Iraq (which I'm led to believe have since been drained) and his time with the Ma'dan peoples (who presumably have consequently been displaced). They lived in reed huts and their main income came from weaving mats, but interestingly they raised water buffalo - never for their meat, but for their dung, which had a plethora of uses including as fuel. He describes how they would spend hours harvesting hashish - not wacky tobaccy but the buffaloes' fodder, which prompted me to look the word up. It turns out that the word 'assassin' comes from the Arabic for 'hashish-users'. From etymonline.com:
1530s (in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), via French and Italian, from Arabic hashishiyyin "hashish-users," plural of hashishiyy, from the source of hashish.
A fanatical Ismaili Muslim sect of the mountains of Lebanon in the time of the Crusades, under leadership of the "Old Man of the Mountains" (translates Arabic shaik-al-jibal, name applied to Hasan ibu-al-Sabbah), they had a reputation for murdering opposing leaders after intoxicating themselves by eating hashish. The plural suffix -in was mistaken in Europe for part of the word (compare Bedouin). Middle English had the word as hassais (mid-14c.), from Old French hassasis, assasis, which is from the Arabic word.
And now it's well past my bedtime!