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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Great Yodelling Barnacles

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas FEBRUARY. 03, 2021

[186-365] 3rd. February 2021- We ventured in a new direction today because the weather looked a little more promising. It's a beach out on the peninsula, and although not very far as the crow flies it can be a bit hair raising because the roads are very narrow and very twisty. In fact one route is tidal and the road disappears twice a day but that is closed at the moment because of a landslide. The photo is the barnacle laden jetty for the small passenger ferry.

I was expecting a coffee delivery today as my stocks were running low and I got an automated email saying they were to be expected this afternoon. The delivery company is Yodel which I think is a great name for a delivery company.

Yodel - Yodeling (also jodeling) is a form of singing which involves repeated and rapid changes of pitch between the low-pitch chest register (or "chest voice") and the high-pitch head register or falsetto. The English word yodel is derived from the German (and originally Austro-Bavarian) word jodeln, meaning "to utter the syllable jo" (pronounced "yo" in English). This vocal technique is used in many cultures worldwide.

Personally if it were my company I would insist that all new delivery drivers had to be trained in the art of yodelling. Yodelling would in fact be extremely advantageous to delivery drivers, particularly around here where the 4G signal fades in and out as you twist around the narrow lanes. There is a Yodel App but it doesn't seem to feature yodelling which is disappointing. A lot of properties are remote and hard to find and the Yodel driver when finding himself in a 4G blackspot could just wind down his window and yodel out the customers names and see if there was any response.

Most experts agree that yodeling was used in the Central Alps by herders calling their stock or to communicate between Alpine villages. The multi-pitched "yelling" later became part of the region's traditional lore and musical expression. The earliest record of a yodel is in 1545, where it is described as "the call of a cowherd from Appenzell".

It is notable that this singing derives from a mountainous region. Mountain cultures all over the world have developed different forms of high pitched communication as sound travels better that way in that type of geography. There is an island in the Canaries called Gomera where there is a rare whistling language which evolved for the same reason.

Back on the farm in Wales my Grandmother had a mountain language all of her own, which had only one word and was for calling in my uncle for meals. It was a sort of high pitched whistle screech which sounded something like Peeeeweeeeiiiiiiiittttttt! which used to emanate from the farm gate at the other side of the farm yard and seemed to be effective for about four farms in every direction. Wildlife would panic and stampede, cars went careering off the road in town and birds would drop from telegraph wires. Uncle Dai's meals though, never went cold.

Points of interest to insert here.

1.The Canary islands have nothing to do with little yellow caged birds as some people assume, they are in fact named for the wild dogs or canines that roamed there back in the day.

2. Appenzeller is one of my favourite cheeses. It is similar to Gruyere but nuttier and sweeter, in my opinion. Gruyere may be Champagne but Appenzeller is Champagne Liqueur.

But I digress. Before we left the house I left a note on the door for the man from Yodel. Giving him permission to leave my coffee delivery in a safe place, and off we wound, down the lanes, hoping not to meet a tractor coming the other way, and failing to predict that we would meet a tractor pulling two trailers just to be really difficult. Much bleeping of parking sensors and reversing warnings later we managed to start going forwards again, smiling at the farmer through gritted teeth as he waved a jolly wave. Never be rude to waiters or farmers they handle our food.

We were not sure if having a lovely walk on a beach warranted arrest and detention these days so we proceeded cautiously on the lookout for blue flashing lights ahead. In any event we got there and went for our much needed exercise in a brisk sea breeze, dodging the devious waves on the beach and only spied five other people and three dogs. Our social distancing proving to be more like 200 meters than two.

Waves on a beach are cleverly timed to lull you in to a sense of false security so that you wander closer and closer to the waters edge, and then pow one takes you by surprise and you find yourself doing a panicked backward shuffle, hopefully not ending up horizontal like a certain British politician called Kinnock. So we managed to avoid wet feet and doing a "Kinnock" so life is good.

We got back in the car and parking sensored our way back home only to turn a sharp bend at one point to nearly impact head on the Yodel man, in his van. Thus proving my point about his lack of Yodelling skills. If he had been yodelling out of his window we would have heard him before the possible impact. He didn't know it but he had just left home, our home, and left us our next cup of coffee in ground and podded format ready for us to break it open when we got home and brew a couple of warming cups of Java. Or in this case Mysore.

Mysore is a state of India, not a state of mind, that was New York. Although the parody of that song "Newport State of Mind" is way better, Newport is a small city in South Wales, not New South Wales which is the furthest point on the surface of the globe from South Wales. Unfortunately the parody version is hard to find because the artistes who made "New York State of Mind" had no joy or humour and had it wiped from the internet. But I found it.

"New York State of Mind" would have been a fantastic song if they had appreciated the wit of the parody more. I think if you take yourself too seriously others take you less seriously. I like to think we Brits always laugh at ourselves first before we laugh at others, and that parody was very much laughing at ourselves.

Mysore had a Maharajah, who, as a child, I witnessed in full bejewelled regalia ascending special steps to get on board his equally bejewelled elephant at which point his bejewelled turban hit the roof of the howdah and fell all the way back to the ground, but that is another story for another day. You will have to hold your bejewelled breath for that one.

And the title of this post? It's a tribute to, "Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!" which was Captain Haddock's longest curse from the Tin Tin books by Hergé . And the best thing about the Tin Tin films? The opening line, with a booming voice as the narrator shouts, Hergés Adventures of Tin Tin.

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