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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Wind blows; and blows. Though at least it's clearer and sunnier and we can see the islands again. Nieves, the cleaner and I had a brief moan together this morning. At this time of year the halcyon days should havie arrived. Two months without much wind! But this year nothing happens as it should do.

It makes hanging the washing out an interesting exercise. Though not as interesting as when the only line was on the roof - the most wonderful place you could imagine for such a domestic task - sea one way, volcanoes the other. But not so wonderful when the wind snatched the sheet or duvet cover or whatever out of your hand as you applied the pegs and practically sent you floating skywards with it. Never found such a task adventurous before - this was - but too adventurous for me. Hence the new, more decorous, line down below.

Actually, hanging out washing is one of the better tasks. My ex-agent, Debbie, who has just built a house in Greece, in a spot also inclined to be windy, said that ridiculous as it was the thing she most liked there was hanging out the washing - going out with laundry basket on hip, fetching in the air-smelling dry stuff. I know what she means. I like it too. More than anything it ties you to generations on generations of women, though I guess not entirely to my bourgeouis forebears who left such pleasures to the servants; they I daresay, amid all the other myriad drudgeries found them much less pleasurable.

I reflect meanwhile on the wisdom of having opted for all white bed-linen. Never understood before the allure of the old ads - 'Persil makes whites whiter'. But look at me now, sighing at any sheets that emerge yellowish, and taking them back to apply hotter temperatures and bleach. As I sigh also, a little, for my single woman in a flat days, with minimal household tasks - here, in my 60s I'm back at it again. Big house, Beloved to keep sweet - admittedly his being a cook too helps - except for the mess he leaves, which is getting a little better thanks to my complaints. Back too to writing in snatched intervals, the way I did when my kids were little. Actually I'm not sure the current effort isn't going to be the better for it; it has had time to breathe. Life's little ironies.

Today, with the pressure of the cleaning coming, I did finally unpack my suitcase. My mother confessed, years ago, that once in her youth she left an unpacked suitcase under he bed for a whole year. So a week wasn't too bad.

Also the old washing machine has gone from the hall, taken to the dump by Handsome. It was probably the source of the cockroach I met in the hall last night - at least its pipe was. Pipe now blocked. Be praised. Cockroaches? yuk yuk yuk. Much worse than mice. Grannyp

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