Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Blanket Box

The world's highest city, or five blankets and a quilt on the bed. Potosi doesn't do double glazing, central heating or draught proofing. Summer might be coming, but mornings open with a steel blue clear sky, that leaves the long shadows, dark cold. Cockerels garner the new heat against an adobe wall, like cold blooded reptiles. Dogs are loath to set up a chase, content to grumble from their dust nests. My handwritten notes are arthritic, rendered in obscurity font. Yet the new day sun, given time, will heat in an invigorating warmth, that creates an accumulation of thunder heads. They rumble, the sudden wind blast that precedes the rain moans through the daylight cracks in the flyweight door, the glazed panes rattle in their astricle sockets. Just another four o'clock storm.

The Navigator carries an altimeter, as part of the cycle computer, a psychological aid and a remarkably accurate instrument. However, equally infallible for guestamating height are the stacked blankets on the bed. An equation in the order of: (1bx2kg)=800m, or if using the 'lapse rate' scale: add one blanket for every five degrees of centigrade lost. Sums that seem to withstand observational testing. However we haven't felt the need to carry out the empirical experimentation, the 'sleep test', to be drugged by a swaddling of blanket, crushed under a restraint of llama hair. Given the depleted oxygen levels at these heights, any impediment to breathing is not to be encouraged. We resort to goose down.