Back to earth
Sunny morning. Empty kitchen. Washing-machine spinning. Something forgotten by Beloved is bubbling on the stove. (Turn it off, Granny, we don't need yet another burned saucepan.) There's a smell of woodsmoke- just beyond granny's wall someone is burning vine-shoots. Across the whole landscape other people are planting in no-longer dead land. Grass is poking up all over her land too; the top right hand side, always the first for some reason, is green already. Good. Good. Good. No flowers yet. Don't be impatient, Granny.
(Peace rudely broken suddenly by sound of electric drill from next-door studio which Granny and Beloved are about to let to the Lady with the Big Dog (this one never saw Yalta) in order to raise money for the Attic Woman's care. Bugger. Still, you can't have everything, can you?)
An odd week. Aged cousin, awaiting hip operation so in considerable pain, didn't want to be parted from his Beloved for one moment. She, in between rainstorms (considerable) wanted to see something of the island. He would have preferred to sit, yet insisted on accompanying her. Aside from his stoic agonies getting in and out of vehicle, Aged C was inconveniently prone to car-sickness, a problem where roads are up, down and circuitous, as here. Chauffeur Granny, glancing anxiously sideways from time to time at the now green yet still stoic countenance of Aged Cousin, concluded that love and stoicism, both, are over-rated qualities.
Beloved meanwhile always had convenient assignations with carpenters, banks, mechanics etc. Lucky him. Only delightful Spanish Girlfriend suffered along with Granny and Aged C. She too, fortunately, though devoted to her Beloved, has a ribald sense of humour. While Beloved and Aged C - such family likeness in manner and aura - such otherness in terms of outlook and interests - talked past each other ever more loudly over the dinner-table wine bottles, she and Granny giggled complicitly in the kitchen and exchanged life-stories, their growing friendship the best part of an otherwise exhausting week. One of the chief pleasures of exile in a delightful place - and the main drawback - Granny realises is that people come to stay. And stay. And stay. Beloved is OK. He just keeps on cooking. Granny, on the other hand, makes friends. Or doesn't.
The lights went on and off. The rain fell. Granny and Beloved's bed ended in middle of the floor, while the water dripped where their heads had been. When the wind shifted next day, the roof leaked in the corner of the Aged C's room. The main town was in chaos, half the buildings flooded, roads deep in water. The Christmas lights everywhere seemed strangely unaffected. On the worst night of all, Aged Cousin invited everyone out to dinner - they drove back at midnight to see the huge electric windmill at the entrance to the local community manically turning and flashing amid driving wind and rain. A sudden short-circuit might have been even more spectacular. But whatever the other limitations of electrical systems here, these lights seem inviolate; the political future of the mostly - spectacularly -bent town-hall and island maffias depending on such things - their role in this community so far as Granny and Beloved can see, is far less bread than circuses. The bread is being won across the landscape, now, by their electorate.
To work. AT LONG LAST.