Almost Forgotten – Writing Challenge Day Three


Almost, but not quite forgotten. The challenge, that is. Today has been a busier day than I intended, filled with exciting things like breakfast, birch tea, tree-hugging, talking about films, and a tiny bit of driving on a horrible night that should belong in the middle of a deep dark Winter somewhere far away and cold. The day started off a little different than usual, with a tree workshop in Antrim Castle Gardens. Marian Partridge, one of mum’s friends, is a herbalist and generally all things plant lady who runs different workshops, including this one which involved the folklore and traditions around trees. I found the association between trees and the Ogham (pronounced Oam) alphabet, an early Medieval alphabet used to write the Irish language, particularly interesting. Each letter consists of a vertical line with a number of lines intersecting it, and can form part of a word and also represent a particular species of tree. For example, the letter ‘a’ is represented by ‘+’ and the corresponding tree is white fir. Ogham is read from the bottom to the top, the opposite of English, and was used to inscribe stones, sticks and trees.

Marian's name in Ogham
Marian’s in Ogham

We also walked around the gardens observing the different trees, of which there are a lot of, and generally doing tree associated activity. I enjoyed it more than I thought it would, and even though I’m not into feeling the energy flow of trees and listening to them and what not, it was rather interesting. Not to mention we got to hug trees in front of a bunch of people, looking completely insane, but it was a laugh. And another life experience. My name consists of the pine, the oak, the pine again, and the blackberry. I’m sandwiched between two pine trees, which apparently makes me strong or something. Who knew other people thought about trees quite so much?

I felt like Gulliver in the Land of Lillliput
I felt like Gulliver in the Land of Lillliput. Note the brown shoes, my only pair of shoes not in Belfast…

That’s Art?

I didn’t even get on to my visit to the MAC with Calum on Tuesday. Art is a controversial topic at the best of times, and this was almost certainly not the best of times. We headed up to one of the galleries, and it appeared to be strangely empty. “Ah”, thought I, “They must be setting up the exhibition; that’s why there is that empty metal framing and one or two other objects”. Turns out that was the art. That is all I have to say on the subject.

Venture into Adventure

A final note on adventure games. Going back and playing DOS games like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island has so far been a pained experience – I can happily go back as far as mid nineties, but before that starts to go down hill. Some of the writing is fantastic, and hilarious, but the navigation and interaction mechanics feel very dated, and nowhere as sophisticated as later games like Grim Fandango. One big advantage is that they are free to download now because of their age, and can be played in conjunction with a piece of software called ScummVM, which consists of game engine recreations. If you are patient enough and a fan of adventure games, it is a great option for free and worth a look. Don’t expect them to be perfect though; no matter how much people reminisce about the good old days of gaming, things have changed and improved for the better. Perhaps not story wise, but in many technical elements which also add to the overall experience. And I’m finished just before the official end of the day!

Day of the Tentacle
Day of the Tentacle

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