We ' homo sapiens have expanded. The time to travel from point A to point B has been reduced dramatically in contrast to the standards of one hundred years ago. Communications are now relaid in nano seconds, the speed of light is as it was when first discovered (186,000 miles per second- 671,ooo,ooo mph) the red flag preceding an automobile is now in a museum
Sunlight takes about 8 minuets 7 seconds to travel the average distance from the surface of the sun to the earth.
I have been on holiday, what has that got to do with a shrinking world, I hear you say, lots of people, millions, go on holiday, true, but here is another context of " it's a small world"
I have on three separate occasions in the last six years taken my holiday in Playa del Ingles on the island of Gran Canaria staying at the Hotel IFA buenaventura.
Some part of most days I walk to San Austin,about six miles round trip. Usually setting off after breakfast, at about 10.30am. Within the hour I am just reaching the outskirts of San Agustin ready for a refreshing drink so I rest my old bones in this wonderful open air coffee bar on the left hand side across a wooden bridge ( Bar Terraza ) ordering a large beer and perhaps a sandwich ,as you do.
On previous visits I have always just asked for a 'beer/larger'and quaffed whatever came along. I have this image in my head of a camel with it's head in the refreshing oasis water after weeks trekking across the desert under a burning sun.
This time as I waite to be served I pick up the drinks menu , when, there , in the beer /larger list a named brew jumps off the page at me, shouting, choose me, choose me! a name I had not expected to see , here in Gran Canaria, or indeed apart from the Hebburn and Neighbours notice board anywhere ! " Jarra " it is next to the top of the price list 4 euros a pint, hang the expense ,it's a I must have.
The barman approaches, are you ready to order Sir? he obviously recognises a bit of good english stock' si I reply- note my command of the Spanish language ,a pint of Jarra por favor, I pronounce it phonetically as it is spelt Jarra. He gives me a polite smile as he point his pen at Jarra, it is pronounced ' Harra' the letter J has the sound of 'h' -a double hh- in 'have'. You learn something every day. Gracias I reply, muchas gracias uno gran Harra por favor ( note again) how I slip with ease into the local lingo. My linguistic command impresses me, but, I get the impression that not every one is in agreement , I am not embarrassed , I do try.
I would love to tell the waiter all that the name 'Jarra' means to me. So many boyhood memories. Pictures that flash across my minds eye with lighting speed, each one as clear as a bell, he could not know or under stand.
The big things-like , the means test man, the Jarrow marchers, the day war was declared-3rd September 1939 at 11am, air raid sirens, evacuation, dad not at home.
Then there are the smaller things, but no less influential that push the unhappy ones to one side, somehow putting all in prespective.
Sunny showers, when the rain and sun play together making everything sparkle with dancing light having butter rubbed onto your knees to remove melted tar that had somehow managed to attach its sticky self, goodness knows how, to hands knees and bumps a daisy, an extra penny to buy liquorice root to steep( soak) in a bottle of water to make a drink, games in the early winter evenings under the soft glow from the only gas lamp at the top of the street, your best friend inviting you to his home for tea with fresh baked scones his ma has just made, bonfire night, ash coated , almost cremated taities/ spuds raked from the embers, dookie apple time, bomb baiter day, to make a wish as you try to blow the seed head off a dandelion, one blow it would be granted this year, twice you would have to waite until next year, thrice that meant sometime , four attempts, bad news, that meant never. One important rule! not to tell anyone, not even your best friend your secret wish or it would not be granted so, no one knew if any wishes were ever granted, a big con trick really, so many, so many a never ending list.
How could he know ?
I walk on further to San Agustin my head phones plugged into my iPod listening to the music of Mark Knopfler, of Dire Straits fame, music that my son has down loaded ready for this holiday when WHAM!! on number 11 track I hear a Geordie voice belting out " Why Aye Man" "Why Aye Man' if that isn't another geordie saying taking me back I divint knaa what is.
The world for me has suddenly become even smaller.Two bolts from the blue on the same day,has made my day.
"Why Aye Mn"