Word of the Year: Day 351 - A flurry of gifts


The eagle eyed among you will notice the end count of minus 14 hasn't changed since yesterday. That's because its apparent I can't count and got it wrong. The count is correctly showing 14 days as of today.

I'm no stranger to the archaic word offered up today. It's not that I suffer from it myself, I tend to be up pretty early most days. However, I'm married to a confirmed and determined clinomaniac - think the dormouse from Alice in Wonderland but without the teapot.

This week has seen a flurry of unexpected gifts to the Acreage. It's all been rather mysterious. The Mem'Sahib received a package from China alleging to be a purple Cashmere scarf.

The much appreciated mystery Malbec

Two reasons to be surprised, the first and most obvious is we haven't ordered scarves from China, cashmere or otherwise. The second reason is that after close inspection and feel, the scarf does indeed seem to be made of cashmere and it's more of a small tablecloth than a scarf.

It's entirely possible that the Mem'Sahib is subject to one of the latest brushing scams which I have pointed out. However at the moment, the view appears to be so long as they are sending cashmere scarves/table cloths there isn't any real downside. I'm not sure that's correct. I await the next example of Chinese generosity with interest. The next mystery object to arrive at the Acreage was one I received and was altogether more welcome (goes with more things than a purple scarf). From within the box I retrieved a more than acceptable bottle of Argentine Malbec. However, there was no card, no sender's details and no note.

I could think of several people who might have sent it but there was absolutely no clue. The Mem'Sahib convinced that I'd missed something subtle like a card or label inspected the packaging with the attentiveness usually reserved for a nit-nurse. Having established I hadn't missed anything subtle, exhaustive trawling of social media identified the generous senders to be Mike and Sue Durston - thank you to both of you.

I do hope you kept the receipt as although I can report the bottle is currently operating within normal parameters, I don't think it will be long before its found to be defective. A fate that befalls many bottles in the Shire.

Those of you who know me even moderately well will probably know I'm a bit of a science fiction and fantasy fan - when it's done well

For science fiction, my benchmarks are the Star Trek and Star Wars universes rapidly followed by Babylon 5 and a guilty secret of Blakes's 7, I had read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by age 12 along with much of the CS Lewis cannon.

The Wheel of Time (Amazon Prime 2021)

So, I was surprised to be introduced to something I'd heard of but not seen to date - The Wheel of Time.

Based on a series of 14 books it's 1990's literature which has many of the generic threads you'll find elsewhere - a dark lord (as in Star Wars, Harry Potter and Tolkein), a mystical 'source' allowing those who can channel it to wield strange powers. This of course should not be confused with the force in Star wars which does much the same but in space.

The band of misfits, vagabonds and friends set out on a perilous journey to the eye of the world - not unlike the perilous journey to Mount Doom in Lord of the rings.

This is however totally different, as in the Tolkein work there are elves and trolls and a strange creature consumed by a ring. In start contrast The Wheel of Time has trollocks - not a troll in sight - and a character is consumed by the evil of a dagger so entirely different.

So this sounds like a highly generic ,me-too rip off of other stuff? I could try convincing you that there are very few original stories or claim this is a classy piece of unique literary craft - I could, but I won't.

It's a highly imaginative take on a familiar theme drawing heavily on Tolkein, Lucas and CS Lewis among others. However, it's also very well acted, has good production values and is thoroughly entertaining. So if you're looking for a well made generic tale of good v dark lord with components ripped off from the better end of science fiction and fantasy. that's also compelling viewing roll up, roll up - welcome to the Wheel of Time.

I'm thoroughly enjoying it and would certainly say it's worth a watch if that's your kind of jazz. It's available on Amazon Prime with new episodes released weekly and series 2 already in production. (New episodes weekly? How very 1978).

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