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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Home again. Looking out of the plane window as we touched down with usual sense of dismay - not to say exile - accompanied by unsought smile of pleasure at prospect of seeing Beloved - he preceded me by four days, giving me some space and separate time with grandchildren; neither of these unwelcome. But still the smile of pleasure at being back with him arrives, along with the ambivalence - the sense of loss.

After two years here though, I begin to see how the year turns. Able to say soon it will be Dolores- or Carnival- soon it will start to rain - soon comes the grape harvest. This is I like. The utter dryness here is therefore expected of course; another cause of wrench tho' now, because England after all the rain - enough of which fell on us, though we were lucky, on the whole - was so lush and green in the sun of a late summer which arrived the last few days and brought everyone out into the air. For the rest in my head a haze of water and lake and hill and rain and sun and the A68 up and down which we drove every day to the Edinburgh Festival and a mishmash of music and dance and theatre with which we crammed ourselves to make up for the derth of such things here. And in which Beloved and I discovered more aesthetic pleasures in common than I would have expected. All of this latter overshadowed perhaps by his remark as we looked at Las Meninas in Madrid on our way out. 'That mirror - I can imagine we ought to be looking at ourselves in it...' which has had me thinking ever since.

I haven't even walked round our land yet; no time. Birds are few; flowers non-existant apart from garden-nurtured ones. My citrus trees leaves have survived but look parched - no doubt because there was another Calima. None of the lemons made it. One fig tree is finished, the other turning out a few much smaller fruit which I must now process. The sun is out. The wind is still blowing, though it should diminish soon. This morning was taken up by a long discussion down at a sea-side cafe by the attic woman's house - wearisome - about arrangements for her; currently she's in hospital after breaking her hip and driving everyone mad there too. Came away with usual sense of the weight of family matters - Beloved's. Being away is an escape. And a relief. For him especially; but his burden is, of course, through electing to be here with him mine too. No point in complaining. Just the smallest and faintest of sighs.

I'm reading the ultimate family book though, a memoir, fiction, lifestory, of an Israeli writer friend; complete with loving, not to say hyperbolic inscription made by latter at the book's launch party. Beloved hasn't yet seen this. (Um.) Book wonderful and set to take up every spare minute for a while. Reminding me that some exiles are obligatory. So why should I complain? I don't, mostly. Especially won't once writing again.

Beloved off swimming and running dogs. I will accompany him tomorrow, so gradually taking up pace of life here again. Not unwelcome, I think. Mixed feelings are no more than normal re-entry problems.

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