Thursday, February 9, 2012

Intrepid Tourists


Another black and white photo from the days of long ago,
When tourism was not run-of-the-mill.
Here are my parents in Egypt riding camels to and fro,
And getting a really overwhelming thrill.
They'd never been out of England and I paid for their trip*
To visit me in Rhodesia for a while.
Afterwards they journeyed home to England on a ship,
And really did the whole darned thing in style.
This was the nineteen-fifties and part of their delight
Was telling the folks back home about it all.
Photos like these impressed the family all right;
It proved to them they'd really had a ball.
They never again 'went overseas'; this was the only time.
They 'dined on it' for ever I believe;
And now I celebrate it in a funny little rhyme.
Another little memory to retrieve.

* This was not as generous as it sounds! The Rhodesian Government paid for teachers from England to go 'home' every two years and I merely cashed-in my allowance to give my parents a trip.



Say Mr Mandelbrot, how can it be
You discovered a pattern that grows like a tree?
When we see your discovery, there on the screen,
There's a part that we see and a part that's unseen.
A bit like a beetle, it sits there quite still,
And there's not the least hint of its wonders until
With a click of our 'mouse' we move in and lo!
An invisible world comes to light! What a show!
We move in more closely and focus our gaze
On a newly-found country, all beaches and bays.
See, look! There's a headland and there is a lake,
And that blue part resembles the eye of a snake.
And, if this is the eastern shore, this must be west,
With the south and the north just the same as the rest.
With repeat and repeat going on evermore,
From hilltop to island and back to the shore.
Mountain and lowland and heartland designs,
Created from blending and curving of lines!
Move in! Undulations now rise up and meet us.
The first pattern's gone but these new patterns greet us.
This one is flower-shape, petals full-flare,
And see! There's another one, right over there!
Another one up and another one down,
All seemingly decked out like jewels in a crown.
Seek further! Whose fingers are these I see splayed?
They point and they part, childish fingers new-made!
With copies all round them that go on for ever!
Ah yes, Mr Mandelbrot, you've been so clever;
To discover a pattern and give it your name!
A pattern that changes and yet seems the same!
A pattern that fascinates; leaves us in awe,
For we are the first generation that saw
A Mandelbrot Set with its ravishing sights,
All there on our screen and all pricked out in lights.
Oh Mr Mandelbrot, how could it be
You discovered a pattern that grows like a tree?


Kay L. Davies said...

Whether the Rhodesian government paid for it or not, Brenda, this was obviously the thrill of a lifetime for your parents.
I always wanted to visit Egypt a la Agatha Christie, but those days are long gone. It looks like your parents were able to do it, however. Fabulous!

Margaret Gosden said...

I don't recall hearing about that! Was this before you met Malcolm, I wonder. She looks just as I recall her which was probably when I last saw her in Margate.