It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. This is the statement i have decided to use to finish this episode in Dronesville. My famous source is George Orwell in 1984 (1949) of course! By now the blog readers who are unfamiliar with this nerd, and who stray here without a reference from my cronies, would have noticed anyway that this nerd seems to be nerdy about English, British, WWII, drones, robots, vault, social media chat, messaging, nerd terminology, pictures created by cut and paste and overlay of objects and scenes taken or created by others on my own originals, story telling, adventure and spy movies reaching far back into history, science that borders on fantasy, overlay of individuals (often historical) on my current or fantasized scenes like what Pokemon Go does with little monsters overlaying on your mobile phone screens, pasting of my memes in your imagination with my blogs, and of course, cartoon characters, funny jokes, and literature quotes and misquotes etc.
the Dronesville residents call a meeting and give me a farewell party. The president of the Dronexit committee, a former botany science teacher, makes a descent speech about my contribution as the youngest (uncovered) member of this retiree community who belongs largely to the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation. “One thing we admit you do pretty well is being resourceful in trying and not giving up. And you dare reach where no one or hardly anyone dares.” He says.
The members reach an agreement and give me a gold medal with this inscription, “To reach or not to reach, that is the question” -a deliberate misquote from William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1).
My former English teacher (who is also my grand-aunt) specifies, “We define the word ‘reach’ as follows:
[ no obj. ] (reach out) chiefly N. Amer. seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation: his style was to reach out all the time, especially to members of his own party | anyone in need of assistance should reach out to the authorities as soon as possible.
succeed in achieving: the intergovernmental conference reached agreement on the draft treaty.
make contact or communicate with (someone) by telephone or other means: I’ve been trying to reach you all morning.
(of a broadcast or other communication) be received by: television reached those parts of the electorate that other news sources could not.
succeed in influencing or having an effect on: their fresh sound and message reach people who may never set foot in a church.
Quite a tall order and prophecy for me and my futuristic journey in this blogging nerd’s life ahead. Blogging is all about ‘reaching’ an audience. The same with any social media. We just yearn to ‘connect’. Some prefer the word ‘share’. We like to share.
Whatever we use to describe this yearning behind every WordPress blogger, the motivation is similar. The mode of presentation too. We rely mainly on two things: pictures that say a thousand words. And a thousand words.
I have since discovered that this nerd’s targets do not read WordPress blogs or any blogs with words. To be precise, they do not read words unless the words interest them. How to make my words interesting to the millennials? My nerd friends tell me: fun and usefulness. And along this goal-path I shall plod.
I have not ferreted out the other two or three nerds hiding in Dronesville. They have moved house and do not seek to communicate. Apparently the lady who did not appear a nerd is one of them. She too vanishes into nerd’s air.
My time is up. I am due to travel to my distant and more exciting land treasure hunting. Good bye, Dronesville nerds. Time for my narrow door -my time travel portal now. Signed, a nerd from Dronesville. (Plodding on to reach my goals)
Some nerds have called up and complained that I now sound more like a second or worse rate horrible history writer than a futuristic tech know blogger on drones and robotics. They criticize that this Dronexit# blog is way too ancient even where the more senior nerds-to-be like my former English teacher and her fellow retiree teachers are concerned. They want to know when am I going to revert back to the really foolish but lucky amateur nerd who is also a treasure hunter like perhaps second or worse rate Indiana Jones or at worst a second rate Johnny England. “What is the point of getting stuck in heroic WWII’s history which no one reads today? Who is reading your nerd blog? Neither the pre-millennial (everyone 35 and above) nor the millennial. I receive lots of LOLs from cronies who hate horrible history. Ok, I hereby throw up my hands and give up my horrible history addictive ranting for a while. (BTW, a medium-senior early retiree nerd-to-be has even declared that the photos are ugly!)
So I just wrap up what has happened so far in this blog and call it a day. For the benefit of the young nerd-to-be who specializes in finding loopholes in even blogging ranting stories, yes, my mobile phone resumes functioning today and that’s why I can receive all your social messaging good (hardly) and bad (plenty) etc. As to how come I can post my blog daily as usual while being stuck in the remote 1940s? Good spot. I have no answer too. I suggest you ask WordPress. It’s their secret. Well, I can suggest my explanation using a old psychological term, telepathy, of course, a kind of mind transmission using brain power before we had internet or other digital/tele-communication means. I teleport my thoughts to someone who has a high-tech psyche-receiver which in turn posts it to WordPress. Elementary. Who is that someone? Hahaha. You guess.
We arrive at England on the morning Saturday,October 5, 1940 but I am immediately detained by the coast guards who place me in separate secret police custody and taken to London. Obviously I look more like a spy than the father and daughter who have proper papers on them to prove they are British citizens. We part company and I thank them for the delicious Tandoori chicken meal and the faith-filled boat ride with the giant birds who come for our rescue. Am I now Johnny England or James Bond? I wonder. They do not remove anything from me. They seem to be oblivious of my two high tech gadgets: the mobile phone and the robot which doubles up as a time travel portal. Despite their futile but intensive interrogation and unbelief of who I really am, and despite the food shortage, they give me enough food and a single room in confinement. They later receive the command to take me to London. They eventually escort me to the underground shelter near St Paul’s Cathedral London. I arrive there on the evening of 29th December 1940.
I quote this following historical passage which best describes the fateful night which I stumble upon. “It had been a Christmas underground for many people, who slept in underground stations or festively-decorated air raid shelters. For two nights, the German bomber planes had not come, and the anti-aircraft guns remained silent. That peculiar silence had already been broken as dusk fell on 29 December. The enemy aircraft had returned, dropping incendiary devices and parachute mines in many tens of thousands. Their target? The City of London. By 1830 GMT on that cold Sunday evening, the Square Mile was in flames. Banks, offices, churches and homes were under threat. Bombs rained down on the cathedral. Volunteer firewatchers patrolled its myriad corridors, armed with sandbags and water pumps to douse the flames. At about 2100 GMT, an incendiary device lodged on the roof. As it burned, the lead of the iconic dome began to melt. But luck was on the side of the firewatchers. The bomb dislodged, fell to the floor of the Stone Gallery, and was smothered with a sandbag. St Paul’s was saved.”
p/s: sorry, nerd pals, I am still on horrible history to wrap up this episode. Next episode will be purely futuristic, I promise. Anyway the lady who complains that my photos are ugly should be pleased with today’s photos. This photo of St. Paul’s Cathedral in flames is not mine. You just have to complain to BBC if you like.)
(To be continued)
“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
(Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express) Looking at the formidable raging sea on this side of the channel, my heart sinks. It is an impossible task to cross tonight. Yet the man and the girl are full of hope. This is what they say to me, “Don’t give up, stay positive and speak good words.”
The man who cooked the delicious Tanddori chicken and Naan bread is not the British soldier who did his solo escape from Dunkirk to England in 1940. This man is an Anglo-Indian chef stranded in the European great war and is determined to take his daughter back to England where she can be safe as she is half Jewish. His English-Jewish wife died in the war and he has vowed to keep the daughter alive.
My mind is full of stored data and as usual, I try to browse through and search out the more positive ones about making the impossible become possible. “Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!” (Lewis Carroll)
“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up)
The man and his daughter have a story to tell. But they are not telling much. Instead, they read the Bible, sing praise hymns and pray. I keep to myself and cannot help but wonder why I am here. Why me? Why do I appear and cross the channel with them tonight under such precarious condition. The Great War is raging. There are mines under water. The Nazis strafing the waters around you, bombs landing nearby. The weather seems unpromising too. Everything seems to go against us three going to sea and crossing the English channel. Then the man says, “come, it’s time.”
“Nothing is more imminent than the impossible . . . what we must always foresee is the unforeseen.”(Victor Hugo, Les Misérables) Their house is quite near the sea. They have hidden a boat at a deserted spot. It is a small 1940s fishing boat which the Brittany fishermen commonly used. The man says it was badly damaged during the fateful evacuation at Dunkirk!
Late May, 1940, was a desperate time for the Allies. France, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Norway had been invaded by the Germans, and Holland and Belgium had formally surrendered. Strafed by the Luftwaffe, hopelessly outgunned by the German Army, the troops of the British Expeditionary Forces retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk, France. There was little hope of rescue by navy ships because of the shallow waters of the channel. A call went out from the British Admiralty for small boats that could be used in the rescue of the trapped British and French soldiers. Then came a miracle, over 800 boats–pleasure boats, fishing smacks, trawlers, lifeboats, paddle steamers and many other types of craft, captained by sailors of the Royal Navy and by ordinary civilians–set sail to save these men by either transporting them directly back to England or ferrying them out to British destroyers waiting offshore in deeper waters. 338,000 British troops were saved from annihilation from the Nazi onslaught in June 1940 by the “little boats.” (This paragraph is quoted from: https://theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/memorial-day-2013-dunkirk-englands-finest-hour/)
The nameless chef volunteered to ferry the British troops too during that rescue operation. His boat was badly damaged. He has since repaired it and is now ready to take his daughter back to England. “You will witness the impossible coming to pass tonight.” The man is confident. Then he says, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Yes, we set sail towards England at midnight. (To be continued)
Note: Is this going to be a miracle? The fact that I am still alive and writing this Dronexit# blog means it shall be a miracle. I even anticipate hearing my senior family members singing endless praises to God when I safely return to my timezone at the end of this time travel adventure. I am an optimistic millennial, remember?
For the benefit of those nerds interested in how the time portal looks or feels like, here are today’s pictures of two perspectives of the time portal: A dark side and a bright side. It depends on your own perspective. Cool.
As my time runs out and the time strikes twelve I get set, press the button ON, and go. What happens? I shall talk about it when I reach there. For the young nerds to be, my advice is, it is not that cool. Don’t try without parental guidance. PG rating.