Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Out of order day - didn't wake till 10am; Beloved already off. Cloudy - but it dispersed. Brilliant day - sea and islands clear; wind reasonable. Work at literary opus - very dissatisfied. Now make jam; inbetweenwhiles trek to looking at cricket scores on Channel 4 Test match coverage. (England winning at moment; miracle. But West Indies pale reflection of earlier teams.) Still it's a kind of connection with my dad - can't - don't want to follow him to golf or snooker.

Cat and I lay for an hour on sofas on either side of room, cat stretched out inelegantly, belly up, much like a person.

Nothing to say. NOTHING. We don't swim - Beloved has bout of diarrheoia (can't spell it) so we don't swim. Can't be bothered to go alone.

NOTHING, Enough. Grannyp xxx

Friday, July 30, 2004

Phew. Got it. Yesterday's immortal prose, not to say matchless wit, failed to publish properly - came up on index, but couldn't be found when asked for. Granny. not only wit but techical whizz kid happened on idea of trying edit: eureka, there was blog - so she needn't bother to re-construct it as feared...

Telly still a problem; no channel 4. Telefonica after all unable to provide Broad Band. Car definitely has clutch problem and been taken off by fat British mechanic with fat wife driving his own car. Expats can have their uses.

Weather has reverted. No more than 23C, wind, so so. None of it unpleasant. Almost 11am and I am in dressing-gown still after wakefulness at 3 am and much wandering around house drinking sleepy tea  accompanied by lonely cat. Beloved deep in sleep from useful Spanish pill. He was very upset last night - trawling on internet to see who had replaced him at his Oxbridge college discovered that junior colleague  he'd appointed had died of lung cancer aged 38. Much more upsetting of course than death of older colleague, the kind you expect at our age and which happens all the time.  He's gone off shopping now. I am supposed to be working. Ha ha.

My dad used to look at the weather reports every day to see what the weather was like here. Of course what he saw didn't always bear much relation to weather up our way. But still,  the thought of him not being there doing it makes me ache. It was a kind of love, that particular interest.
Granny p

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Wearisome day. Hottish - tho' less hot, but windier; north wind up to 30 mph. Bad night - Beloved departed around 4am and still didn't sleep. I had complicated dream about  George Bush (not restful) and less complicated but equally unrestful dream about a previous (unsatisfactory) beloved that showed him living these days in a motor home in King's Heath Birmingham called 'JoyNick.' A definite demotion. Which I would have pointed out in expiation  when I crawled blearily out of bed -late - and addressed Beloved as 'Nick' had he noticed; fortunately he didn't.  He was bleary too.

Urgent message from carer transpired: old man has to move in with attic woman, following nasty burglary in which he got roughed up. This may turn out permanent arrangement may not - but will help financial state of Beloved and self if former - and might, with luck, cheer up attic woman herself. Meantime we had to hot foot it to island capital to buy a telly, sheets and duvet covers. Car started to smell nasty as we negotiated narrow streets in the course of this - too many 'cortado' as usual. Car most likely has clutch problem: we got home but Handsome from Blackburn had to come to the rescue with our truck, in which I then had to drive him home, another hour or so' driving, while Beloved who has to take attic woman to doctor to try and get her medication altered via input from (in this instance at least) a rather more clued-up granny, slept.

So no swimming, no writing up till now. Aubergines salted, kitchen cleared - hate doing morning's tasks in the evening, but there you go. Radio reception too bad for Radio Clasica, digibox on blink again so can't get radio four; what tragedy. Never mind beheadings and blowings up in Iraq, Afghanistan on brink of imploding and families being burned alive in Dafur. We live in a jolly world.

Beloved may be right on some things. If not on literature. (Found someone quoted in TLS today who claimed not to like novels because they didn't tell him anything he didn't already know; this might almost be Beloved speaking.) Last night, making the bed upstairs - to which we have returned now its cooler - I saw myself in the mirror suddenly and groaned. 'What's the matter?' he asks. I explain that unexpected glimpse of ageing self and large bum not pleasing. 'Why do you worry about it?' He asks. 'What does it matter? What does it matter, looking old?'  He's right of course, it shouldn't matter, especially if you are still in fair physical nick. BUT OH IT DOES MATTER! I HATE IT!  Try to explain that it's hard to let go when you've been brought up all your life - as women are - and increasingly men too - to rate yourself partly on physical appearance in general - and 'youth' in general. He doesn't get it.

I do point out that I don't suffer this defect as much as some; hardly use make-up, slop around most of the time in old not to say shabby clothes. (On the other hand they have to be nice shabby clothes that make me look good as possible on my terms - Beloved at least agrees the shabbiness has to be in good colours and materials; he's the same himself.)

The rest of it he cannot see at all. Looking old? Having a bit of a gut? A double chin? Wrinkles? So what? How admirable he is.......How rare. But rare here in a way I don't want to emulate - never will want to emulate. I love my vanity... or would do if I looked better. So there.  

If there were no mirrors around? Ah. How unselfconscious one can be in a world without mirrors. Maybe it was a reflection in a lake that did for Eve really; not an apple. Why not?



Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Phew. In kindness of heart take Beloved's ...terrier when I walk round before starting work. Can I get her back? No! Yelling etc, no good, had to fetch her eventually. Luckily she hadn't gone out of our land- I couldn't leave her in case she did thereafter. Have also discovered that if truly excited she can scrabble herself to the top of gate of back patio and get out that way, which, rather than carelessness by one or other of us leaving gate open,  explains previous mysterious escapes. She hasn't escaped lately, I daresay, because she's been too hot.  As I am now, sitting at this.

Not so hot, otherwise. Pleasant - 26C in our courtyard at moment - yesterday only up to 32 or so; maybe the same today. Wind down and coming from NE so cooler. Beloved disappears to bank at 8.30, so I have had delicious morning, pottering about, eating breakfast - strawberries, half a nectarine, yoghourt - outside with book- clearing kitchen a bit, putting on a wash. Feeling better than yesterday - some bug definitely. I didn't go out anywhere even to swim: Beloved, going on his own and running dogs thereafter, reported still more campers.

Reading Philip Roth again - Human Stain this time: terrific; am exhilarated by the vitality, verve, intellectual strength of it; (tho' I do wonder if the de-racinated crow isn't a little obvious in relation to the deracination of the chief character. Especially added to the de-racination of the French literature professor.) There's a film. Bad I understand. Pity.  But don't know how not.

Hard to explain to Beloved, who can't see it, how reading great books, listening to great music (or even not so great books/music) makes me feel more alive active operational. When I started reading in bed, he said 'But you've been reading all day!.. why do you want to read more?' Didn't even bother to explain 'because it is a great book.' He is as he is and (mostly!) altogether lovely. Still sleeping in the white room for cool. But we might return upstairs tonight.

Sun due back; summer like this I love.  Little leaves are appearing at last on my denuded citrus trees - it has taken nearly a year! (Or over a year; can't exactly remember when we got them, tho' do remember driving them back in the truck in a furious wind the leaves of the bigger - lemon - tree being blown wildy - naturally they all responded by falling off.)

It looks even as if we might get one lemon...

Enough of joys - and pains - for today. Grannyp


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Another more or less cloudless day. After two days at 40C or thereabout, temperature now - midday - is still only 30C - the wind has gone round to NE. That's the good news. Bad news is it's at strength over 30 mph - worse than yesterday - much. House playing its usual tunes. Picked figs this morning to find them withering on the branches. According to cleaner, Nieves. the white grapes have all burned and are lost - no wine possible. According to attic woman's carer, Urgencias at  the island hospital is full of tourists suffering from dehydration and heat-stroke. The elderly (us??) have been urged to stay indoors. No temptation to do anything much else today - tho' Beloved is visiting attic woman right now. I cried off. Have been feeling a bit off - despite drinking pints of water and taking Dioralyte. A bit stomachy and hot-skinned, like having a mild allergy. Wild dreams with it last night, related to having spent past day or two booking for Edinburgh Festival. We went to see play which was all audience participation - then I was alone, being whirled through partly snow-covered city - finally found myself at back of ?cart being driven by back-turned male driver who just said 'don't talk' and whose horse suddenly keeled over and produced dead twins - vestigial, jellified ones, more like embryos - then got back along with other playgoers met en route to playhouse and different play. Weird.  Enough.

Spanish Radio Classica cannot be found - ?wind - ?heat - only Portuguese with its strange Polish zzzhs. That's it really for today.



Monday, July 26, 2004

HOT HOT HOTTEST. Also windiest. 33C up here already and wind 25mph - earlier it was 30. A real calima, dust everywhere; no sea, no island, hills hazy; light red/yellow. Tomatoes burning not ripening. Figs cooking ditto. Grannyp in shoe-string top and shorts (who cares in this heat if it's lamb rather than mutton.) House banging wailing, shaking. Interested to see if model paper airplane which has been dangling from phone wires on far edge of local town will have survived. Yesterday it was up to 40C here in the hills -  103F? - too much. We go down to swimming pool on coast where there is some fresher seawind and dowse ourselves, cool briefly; relief. Sit outside late - stifling even then but better. Even inside of house - stone-walled so normally cool - is sultry. Slept downstairs with fan, on bed big enough to divide in two and have separate sheets so we sleep better. Dreams heavy just the same.

Last week I dreamed of Blair family; Beloved when questioned turns out never to have heard that people have dreams of being with Queen, Prime Minister, etc. They do.  They do.  He rarely remembers his dreams; perhaps that's it. Blair dream probably resulted from article about his children exposed to media now for seven years. Wonder how they'll see it as adults; their childhood home in Downing Street inaccessible. Can relate a tiny bit to this because my dad's job in the House of Commons meant we could go in and out we liked, merely saying 'Mr F...' to the policeman on the door. I went to debates too. Now if I wanted to get in - so I'm told by present Clerk of the House who came to dad's funeral- that I'd have to apply to my MP, or stand in a queue with everyone else - and it's all more difficult since purple flour incident. Thanks. Expulsion from Eden? Not quite. But. Minor indignation just the same.

Book is developing complicated plot. I had to get up last night to write new ideas down. Something to do maybe with writing in such little bits; much more the way I did when the children were little. Maybe better; who knows.

Wild life scarce in this weather; apart from shrike - or shrikes - they are always single now - one in a  castor oil bush a dusk last night, cawing like a crow. Kestrels not around. Lizards a-plenty. Cat baffled by fact our enthusiasm for his catching mice does not apply to catching lizards; still less salamanders - geckoes - which are not only lucky guests to be cherished, but much rarer. (They turn the colour of their surrounding. We saw white one once on bathroom tiles. ) We rescued a tailless gecko last night and put it back in the garden.

More figs later. Yesterday it was fig compote with ginger. Today I will pick and start on another lot of jam. Ginger fig, with lemon??

To work. Tra la. How much I want to get to it; how much I DON'T!! Grannyp

Sunday, July 25, 2004

FUCKING HELL! Just wrote nice long blog and in off moment succeeded in navigating away from page and losing it all. Well, that's it. Not going to write it all again I have to work. Just say it's hot hot hot, windless, relatively,  but what there is from East (contrary to advice of weather sites.) 30C already up here. Brushing off the odd fly - they like the sweat, I must set to work. More tomorrow - perhaps to reconstruct what I put today. But NOT NOW. Farewell from hot hot hot Grannyp (temperaturewise. No porn here.)

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Funny things weather reports: it is hot hot hot today -11.43a.m. and 31 already; on the coast it's 34C - or 99F  according to which report you read. Hotter than yesterday. However one -Yahoo - says wind is 18mph from north - t'other, BBC, says 19mph NW. Outside my window clouds sail merrily from E, more or less - which certainly would explain extreme heat.  Wind, up from last two days, is a relief in this weather. Keeps it from intolerable.  Means we eat outside at night, a not always common thing here (and then usually we retreat to the sunny side, out of the wind, not on the back patio which loses the sun much sooner. )

Beloved off down at the other house. I have my Saturday morning orgy of music, courtesy Simon Russell Beale whose parents live opposite where my friend JVH used to be. At Avebury. He chooses a carol on basis of the bleakness of the place in wind, the druidical sense of it - without revealing where it is. But I know. A not particularly worthy sense of pleasure at being up on the secret.

Sunlight is hazy - has been since Thursday. No sea, no island.  I slope around virtually in tanktop and shorts or kneelength pants bought at market in Spain without underwear for cool, saggy tits and all.  When I came back over the road from the supermarket to the car yesterday, Beloved suddenly grabbed and kissed me. 'What was that about?' 'You looked so young..'  'Provided you didn't notice vein on back of left leg, wrinkled neck, greying hair...?' 'I don't look for things like that....'  Oh the lovely man.

Last night we both took sleeping pills against the bad sleep of the night before. I woke up at 4 or so in spite - but did go back to sleep again this time, to dream of my mother. In my sleep I thought - and said - 'now I'm making up for the time with you I didn't have.' So in a way it was. I woke smiling and happy. But then was suffused all over again with the loss and wept a little. Over 41 years now since she died. And there it was all over again. Grief doesn't die, only those you grieve for. Think of my dad too, with an ache.  Much of it of course, I guess, for all those lost years of mine, too. Never to be regained. Gone so fast, so fast, and getting ever faster. BUGGER IT.  Which doesn't stop the time till you think you can stop struggling with work going ever slower.

Animals lie about on cool floors. Don't blame them. Forget the jacuzzi. We think of letting it cool right down and using it to cool off in.



Friday, July 23, 2004

Well well: 'windy' said the Yahoo weather forecast all yesterday as the wind ever diminished and a yellowish haze covered everything. (Said 'musky' by mistake for 'murky' I think in previous post. But actually to my feeling, 'musky' tho' in olifactory terms a smell originating in the sexual organs of deer, if you think of it visually applies well enough; ditto 'musty.'  Musty murky musky weather.) Both weather forecasts still suggesting higher wind in other directions - but actually it remains small and in the east; ie a calima - wind from the Sahara -which, admittedly, forecasts rarely catch in advance.

Fortunately it is not a high wind. Last thing I read about Africa concerned likely plagues of locusts. Last high east winds we had in February brought locusts in fair numbers, if not a plague, not enough to eat us up, though I was told they had problems up towards the north of the island. But if they come now... Part of me is curious to see a real plague of locusts I must say - this isn't a time of year when there are many crops to ruin - don't know if locusts eat grapes or only the leaves? And everything would grow back after, once the rains come. Beloved, though, points out that it woul;d mean the garden not looking good for visitors.  Not looking wonderful at the moment anyway. Bourgainvillea is in its periodic decline - new shoots come, but flowers just brown husks. Its last splendour was, of course, while we were away.  I water assiduously: reasonably so. Handsome still not quite risen from his bed of sickness, plants have to make do with us.

Just rescued lentils which I was cooking for a salad lunch. Almost burned: not quite. Think as I do so how differently meals frame the day when there were two cooks.  In previous existances I thought oh god what are we going to eat tonight, surveyed existing provisions or acquired new ones, cooked in due course and that was it. Now it's all more ceremonious: are you cooking? Or am I? What are you going to cook? etc. Admittedly I sometimes opt for fast cooking options with minimal pans - and do my best to limit Beloved's tendency to create vast anounts of washing-up. He likes slow cooking. I am less keen on slow clearing-up.  I also dispute his notion that a quickly and simply prepared meal is a necessarily uninteresting one.

Twins: ever interesting, not to say sad subject for me. Two lots this week; murdered twins in Yorkshire: babies on Supernanny. Supernanny called in to deal with obstreperous elder brother of latter. Not once was it acknowledged that given the simultaneous arrival of two siblings he might have had a point, and should be given quite special, separate, love and attention. Supernanny's advice effective though; but to the mind of this twin, remembering our elder brother, not enough.

Other twins non-identical females; the first one murdered - by her boyfriend - had a 'dysfunctional relationship' with her family - and presumably her twin.  I imagine this. Wonder about the dynamic and what the second twin - who came to look for her sister and got murdered herself - did for a living - her sister worked in a factory. This is not an entirely irrelevent thought.  Was she the 'bright' achieving one? Or what? Would my twin's potentially violent, often dysfunctional husband have killed her in the end, if the cancer hadn't got there first? He threatened to kill others, after all. This is not a happy thought and the whole situation haunts me - particularly given my violent bro'-in-law's attitude to me as his dead wife's twin.

Too hot in night. Woke sometime after 4 to find Beloved who also couldn't sleep had gone. Didn't sleep again till he came back around 7.45, despite all efforts - and finishing Hilary Mantel's autobiographical book,about not least, her appalling misuse by the medical profession, only bearable to read because of her wit; and her prose.

Sun coming out: it's hot. Enough. Off to hang washing out and think of contents of flat in Birmingham. Grannypxx


Thursday, July 22, 2004

NO WIND!! (or virtually none.) But mist instead - cloud lifts - all the tops of hills can now be seen but no sky. Quiet and musky light. Adds to sense of somnulence I get at this season, wind or no wind.

Each night I am like the old women of the north in Perseus story - the Grae.... take out my eyes, take out my ears. (Keep my teeth tho' such as I have.) Contact lenses and hearing aid. Signs of age? Not necessarily - could have had contact lenses at 20 had they been available; had them at 30. As for poor hearing that's hereditary and comes early in our family. Driving everyone mad so they beg you to get aid. I got it. (Beloved claims I'm lucky because it means I don't hear a) wind b) dogs c) snoring (mine.) Actually I hear everything - including the snoring (his) - but much less intensely. It doesn't usually keep me awake, unlike him.  Tho' less so since he cured the banshee shrieking emitted by the bathroom window when it's blowing.)

More sign of age will be that next year I may have difficulty getting travel health insurance, which I shall resent deeply given that I am fitter than many if not most people of 50 or even 40. (Granny congratulates herself here on healthy lifestyle - true, mostly, but if she's honest also has to admit that genes help. Hers are long-living ones -apart from the little glitch of the breast cancer BRAC1 defect, which she does though mitigate by all means; so far successfully.)

Nothing to report except writing one new page. Odd to be focussing on Birmingham, sitting here. Had odd moment of nostalgia and regret. Is currently describing high-rise block in which lived brain-damaged Debbie. Not a salubrious place, really.

Over the wall from us a tree full of lemons. The citrus trees I've planted don't even run to leaves. Heigh-ho. Will they ever?

Nothing to say. The quietness of the day is filling granny's head. Cat sleeps, so does she. xxx



Wednesday, July 21, 2004

All kinds of avoiding actions this morning even to write this. (Have just, eg, made a second pot of coffee which I do NOT need.) A summer holiday lethargy has settled over the world. All my kids (natural and, as it were, adopted) are away. Noone sends emails. Here it is summer and not summer. No sun up here yet this morning, Most days there are this pattern - early glimpses of sun then mostly cloud which gradually lightens till at lunchtime there's as much sun as cloud - even, on rare days, hardly cloud at all. Towards evening the cloud comes back till the sky is wholly covered; except on rare days where the sun remains and we eat outside, in front of the house where it is still sunny and we are (mostly) protected from the wind. Two days like that last week. Down on the coast meanwhile it is mostly all sun and too hot for me. I'm glad to come back up, though, most days too, here and there, I could also wish for less wind. There were some quieter days last week. This week it is windy again,  but' not the gales of two weeks back.

This morning not even the patches of blue sky and sun.  Almost midday - it  appears to be lightning up, and the island is clearer; but nothing more. I just saw a hoopoe flying its loops over our land. The pig people made a bonfire earlier, which has died down somewhat, but is still sending some smoke drifting across. After one of the family cooperative (Dionysio I think) wheeled his squeaky barrow along  the wall with pig feed, the animals set up a hideous squealing as if one of them was being removed, or worse still slaughtered. (This happens. Once a small pig with its back legs tied was wailing in the road; two men were trying to load it into the boot of one of them's car. We also think we have seen a slaughterer there in an apron. Even though I suspect, everything ought to be sent to the slaughterhouse down on the road to Tahiche, almost opposite the animal rescue place...)

Went swimming yesterday - fears for its effects on my sore rib not realised.  In fact yesterday was first day when Granny didn't feel wholly miserable with it. This makes a difference to spirits.

Cleaner came and went - the usual inadequate (on my part) communication in limited Spanish. Cat sits on windowsill yowling to come in.  Dog lies on sofa outside. Beloved is down to other house with other dog.  I am left space to write in - but only write this.

Yesterday I erradicated, sadly, my dad's old phone number and address from my addressbook. Had difficulty not lifting the phone just to try if he was still there after all.  When he was so not there, his old self, even when alive, why do I miss the thought of his familiar body there just the same?

Yesterday I bottled a compote of figs with lemon and almonds.  To judge by state of tree when I inspected it earlier I will have to pick more this afternoon.  Jam with orange and ginger? Groan. Grannyp.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Here we go. Long blog yesterday wiped by inadvertant change in our system. (Too boring to go into.) A gloomy one - starting out with misquote - I think therefore I am not; or rather wish I wasn't.  Due, probably to bad night, cloudy sky, wind, pain in bruised rib etc etc. Nothing live on dry land except the odd blue butterfly and lizard and then only when sun out (which it wasn't.) Dogs (sod it I;ve lost half of all this again; what's with things? And I've only got half an hour!!) dogs run away so have to be chained like all other local dogs, poor things. Still worse last night and bad dreams to boot - not nice ones about river and family and friends of night before. This time large furry poisonous spiders and dear painter friend still insisting on staying away - woke crying but came down to discover aches much less and even sun appearing. Compared to old schoolfriend in Northern Ireland rung yesterday who turns out to have has colon cancer, to Attic woman taken out to lunch on Saturday who says nothing but 'I'm stuck' (she is, ) to bottle blond friend who came to lunch on Sunday and doesn't talk to her family - whereas I found myself extolling mine - even politically reprehensible brother! - suppose I'm well off really. To be freer of aches is almost worth having had them.  
Read my union rag - The Author - was deeply depressed by the lengths the poor writer has to go to sell herself these days. Always had to up to a point but Granny never into that - arrogance? idleness/inertia? a mixture of both probably and more - to agent's dismay.  Proactivity is for others. Isn't it? (I'm a meditative Mary, you're depressed, she's lazy...)
Enough. It's here. Won't lose this will I?  Maybe do some work before setting out for meeting re attic woman. Ageing Jane Eyre/Granny pxx

Friday, July 16, 2004

Telly has now gone wrong - digital problem - engineer off to Morocco for weekend; such is life.   As if it mattered!  (Not really....) Other problem is continual re-appearance of nasty smell in white room bathroom. Why is technological world so cantankerous?
Also: Granny slipped last evening getting over the little wall at the back of the burgeoning figtree when the stone she was holding to balance herself turned out treacherous; has bruised left hand floating rib, and now moves like the ageing woman she is - she doesn't normally- she hopes!  - problem exacerbated by stiffness from stretches restarted yesterday .. Usual horror of hauling herself out of bed in the morning still worse than usual.
Grey, only marginally windy.  She and Beloved have  been down to the coast - west - black lava beaches - the last two days to what they used to call the ghost village - now being re-colonised by locals driven away from tourist haunts on east.  The rock pools are the attraction for them, not sunbathing.  Purpose at the moment not to collect animals for their own, kitchen, rock pool, but just to look.  Amid normal gobies, blennies, granny at first trip saw much bigger, dark blue, partly irridescent one - very handsome - a goby of some kind to judge by its sucker flippers but more dramatic and rare than the rest.  This particular rock pool seething with life - gobies - blennies and small fry of both, plus some little schooling fish - two or three doing their synchronised swimming act in upper water; a small crab, arguing with blennies over snails etc.  Beloved, the animal man, says food supply must be particularly good in this pool, though not obviously different from others; a bit deeper maybe. Big blue gobie has large rock from under which it emerges only to chase out invaders or to fight for food, including some limpets gathered and dropped in by Beloved.  Mesmerising as usual; can sit for hours. Dogs did a disappearing act yesterday, so didn't need this trip.  Much less interrupted view of pool without them rooting round and frightening the fish. This kind of expedition, along with Beloved, justifies granny's exile.   
Courtesy of Nieves the cleaner (why is 'Snow' a popular name on this island which has never in its existance seen snow?) tenants have been acquired for two weeks at the end of August, studio and white room - when GP and B will be away and they don't have to get into the house. Colombians - from the coast by the look of it, not speaking the pure Spanish of middle-class Colombians - quite hard to understand.  Mother and ?husband plus 'hijos' - mistakenly thought at first to be children - but no, young marrieds. (Presumably one 'hijo' an in-law - or are we encouraging incest?) Two camas matrimoniales required. Good. They're there anyway so much less trouble.
To work. Mozart requiem on radio has ended. Grannypxx

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Granny's spirits up: wind down, sun up - sunny all yesterday afternoon. She and Beloved swimming 3 days in a row helps.

All the maize fields now have neat heaps of brown/yellow stalks in rows. Field next door is burning something on the other side of the wall; looks like vine cuttings - can't think why at this time of year, unless it was that so much had to be pruned because of the extra growth caused by the rain earlier in the year. Grapes ripening. The harvest should be at the end of this month; given the oddity if this year's weather who knows? The Canarians complain about it. Crops have been burnt by recent high winds. Can't think what crops - there don't seem to be many now, in the dry season, but that's what I'm told. My citrus trees don't like it for sure; all still pretty leafless but have also been told they never stop sulking for a year or two after planting here - and to judge from the wood they are still pretty much alive. Let's see. My nasturtiums also pretty much alive and re-seeding themselves, despite reported depredations of small green caterpillars. Olive trees also look healthy enough. Are growing. Good. Wonder if we can make olive oil in due course. Will have to consult Granadian CID man who knows about such things.

Listening to Bach organ music on Spanish radio; we are due to get Broadband - ASDL here - in two weeks or so; at last. (Not doubt there will be teething problems...) Means I can listen to Radio Three - or Spanish Radio Clasica - at all times of day, without adding to the phone bill or disabling phone; what bliss. Not sure Beloved quite sees it that way, so compromises will have to be made. He's off now down to bank, shop, see attic woman etc, which gives me morning to myself - and the music!

Yesterday we spent much time watching ITN and Channel4 news re Butler report. Much as expected - at least as far as exonerations are concerned - Blair still grinning, saying he believes what he did was RIGHT- never mind that without the evidence it was ILLEGAL.

Think about my dad a lot. Why did he have a moustache all his life, particularly after Hitler? Black line across his upper lip. He looked much more handsome as 18year old without it. Better once grey too. Till seeing all the pictures forgot how thin he used to be too. Family albums haven't yet come up with snaps of him in Homburg hat, waisted overcoat, umbrella, briefcase setting off down drive every morning. (Realised where it all came from on seeing Soames Forsyte in first TV adaption of the Forsyte Saga.) Nor have I seen back and front of my mother in same driveway riding the Corgi scooter they bought her to save money on car costs. (Both of them were always desperate about money; spending everything they had on our expensive educations.) Both 20 if not 30 years younger than I am now, heartbreakingly enough.

My uncommunicative father came up behind me in his front doorway while my second marriage was breaking up, put his hands on my shoulders and said softly he was sorry I was having such a hard time. In the middle of all the irritation at his geriatric obstinacy about other things. I can't forget that. He did learn things my old dad.


Enough of nostalgia. Work.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Miracle of miracles: yesterday the sun came out. This morning it's cloudy but more benignly so, and is lightening up all the time. Wind quite quiet. Walk round land with dogs - grasses grown during rain are yellow, prickly pears green and there are patches of a bright red succulent everywhere. Everywhere else shades of brown, beige, grey. Figs ripening in large numbers, but will wait till tomorrow for next lot of processing. Still haven't labelled first lot.

Things quiet otherwise. Handsome from Blackburn suffering from bronchitis and not at work, which leaves us watering. That's OK. Beloved and I on good terms, mostly - last night, it's true, he started inveighing against how stupid opera was. Better not go far along that line, it leads to other indictments of granny - it did - so I changed subject and all was well. How strange to be with someone who regards most cultural manifestations - with the exception, just, of art, with an A - as mere 'entertainment' as against life which is 'doing' as opposed to looking, listenimg, reading. Actually it doesn't matter. Explanations re profundity of eg, Cosi fan Tutte, didn't work with last scientist husband either, tho' he did adore opera in general. Unlike this one. 'How can all these talented people involve themselves with such stupid stories,' etc, etc. Agree that when opera is bad it's truly horrid. For the rest..... Don't feel I need to pursue these arguments to the bitter end any more - what it is to be old - or aging! - can quietly get on with loving what I love and loving my beloved without opposing them; so I do. Such differences then don't matter.

Butler report due out at 12.30. We shall be watching. Another whitewash of Tony Blair, I daresay. Who said yesterday, unbelievably, that as a result of invasion of Iraq 'world is now a safer place.' Can he truly believe this? 10 killed only this morning in a suicide bomb in Baghdad.

Went swimming yesterday. Picked our tomatoes. Made Moroccan carrots to go with fish stew made by Beloved. Nice evening, despite argument, which was aborted before it could truly spoil it. Think it was partly due anyway to my having failed to point out and let Beloved have the copy of the Observer acquired on Monday. 'Why do you always keep newspapers to yourself?' Here it must be said he has a point. Memo to Granny; do better!

To work. Yoicks. Grannyp

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

What writer - even of a blog - doesn't understand Bartleby? 'I am not willing.' No, I don't feel willing to write anything today; but will do my best.

Life goes on. Wind has abated somewhat, but murkiness increases. No sign of sun. Think I'm suffering - or will suffer soon - from hill Canarian summer version of SAD. Can be abated somewhat by going down to the coast - but there it's all work - for us - plus tourists.

Beloved's beloved K has gone home. Beloved and granny now have to supply attic woman's food and household goods; yesterday's trip to sun was also trip to cash and carry and hunt for washing powder, loo paper, etc, also items like tinned fruit and soup which granny only bought under protest on island where fresh fruit and vegetables in season all year round, thereby making above items redundant as well as a) unhealthy and b) expensive to boot....: full of zeal and righteousness, this member of the food police will sail into action with carers, nothing raises the spirits more than feeling RIGHT!! - in this mood she might even offer carers cooking lessons, but doubts if this will go down well either. Handsome from Blackburn is slated to do the shopping hereafter, but as far as fresh food goes granny doesn't think she trusts him, so will undertake that herself.

Cash and Carry's gloomy aisles full of over-weight expat bar owners etc buying large amounts of processed foods...more opportunities for feeling superior. Oh God. (And for not eating at said bars either..)

Good olive oil though - better than that likely to be on offer atany English equivalent.

First lot of fig jam etc made. 3 jars of rosewater and cardomum flavoured, two larger jars of compote flavoured with star anise; a good pudding, I think, with Greek yogourt which you can get here. Picked six pounds of figs on Sunday, there'll probably be as many today; granny will have to decide what to do with them this time.

Still reading her friend Mira's book; appositely there was a programme on Channel 4 last night about Himmler and the mad expedition to Tibet that he set up to look for signs of a Master Race in a whole lot of baffled Tibetans. Followed by similar more lethal experiments on Jew and gypsies etc back in the Fatherland. Granny comes away from both reminded of and as ever astonished - as well as horrified - by the wholly casual as well as determined brutality of it all.

Beloved off delivering money to attic woman's carers.

Granny has to plug in her Dysgo any minute and look at book abandoned in such haste on the day her daddy died. Not a welcome prospect, but necessary. I AM UNWILLING.

Perhaps will walk dogs first. (They have to be shut up now after developing tendency to disappear to distant field in search of God knows what, which might make Beloved and Grannyp deeply unpopular locally so must be aborted.)

Bloody cat got out last night and spent darkness pursuing outside animalitos rather than the ones within which he's there for. Signs of mice diminish admittedly. No sign of more cockroaches either, other than one Handsome swore at Saturday lunchtime was waving its tentacles underneath the door to the back, spying out the ground, but which turned out merely to be an old thread of something or other.

Two downstairs showers started letting out noisesome smells again and had to be dealt with hastily. Some better remedy has to be found - but what?

Land all dead; except for some yellow flowers on hardy bushes. And Granny did find one of the bright blue 'forgetmenots' which, since acquiring plant book, she now knows to be a variety of pimpernel, nothing to do with forgetmenots really.

Few birds now; but a shrike or two has been seen.

One triumph. Cat's pulling phone off desk and breaking it meant trip to acquire another, post Cash and Carry; this a) has removable handset so phone can now be heard other than in kitchen; and b) can be plugged along with computer into double jack meaning granny and her beloved will no longer, either, be cut off from world by forgetting to replace computer jack with phone jack when they go offline.

Eureka. Some people sell writings - research - talents for millions. WE JUST HAVE A WORKABLE PHONE. Almost makes up for next year's writing course being cancelled owing to vagaries of students. (NOT A TRIUMPH EXACTLY.)

Cleaner cleaning house too, so today all will be beautiful and clean(ish). Good.

Hasta luego. Granny Pxxx

Dvorak's cello concerto on Radio Classica could be worse.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

North wind still blows. Doesn't bring cold let alone snow. Merely murkiness up here. Though it looks to be sunny over to the east. Down there on the coast yesterday too, sky was bright blue, everyone, locals and tourists, in holiday gear, palms tossing about like mad, but still....Beloved's daughter, K, and I were shopping, nominally for the attic woman, but ended buying shirts earrings for ourselves too. Mine partly to replace stuff lost on trip across Spain. When will I ever succeed in staying in places and not leaving half my gear behind? Not forgetfulness of old age. Just forgetfulness.

Write this while downloading real player so I can get London Radio 3 on this computer too - old one on way to menders; its keys all stick. Music will soothe murkiness - I hope - at least in my head. Alas it won't reach the sky.

Have hardly been on land - but today have to go to collect first batch of figs. Jam? Compote? Let's see. 3 weeks slavery begins. All is brown and burnt now. Burnt by wind as much as sun. But figs ripen and turn black.

Beloved off with truck collecting gear. Beloved's (and beloved) daughter still asleep. Yesterday we had to get going earlier than she and I liked for AGM of our so-called association here - planning courses, etc. Beloved spent all day before stuffing this and that - all fiddly stuff - snall squid, bits of pepper etc, for lunch while I made the most intense, wonderful chocolate icecream, courtesy of the Independent newspaper. I ate too much while making it of course. Handsome and Handsome's wife had come for meal and meeting - Handsome ate a lot of it - made up slightly I think for my spurning his - to me- uncalled for agitation with (slightly) broken ramp to our parking place. Prefer he got on with housing chickens... eventually. ..

Oh the bliss of the empty kitchen. No sight of a cockroach this morning. Cat not quite so vociferous for food so must have been fed.

Another bomb in Tel Aviv. Big Brother takes up too much of TV. Evicted Muslim housemate who talked of nothing but her sexual exploits spurned by her family. I only get this by report. (Sometimes from K.) Beloved unwilling to entertain such things- though he does admit to enjoying wife swap - not much else available here after all. I fight him over opera etc. Not too upset by missing mostly tedious BB, so why bother?

In betweenwhiles I read an account of how my old friend Mira fled from Poland aged fourteen before the Germans got her. Take in with wry feelings her sideways observations on England and the English where she ended up. All the more interesting from exile here.

Windows to north - one just above me here - covered in layer of salt - trade wind deposit - hardly any point cleaning it any more than scraping mental equally unsightly deposits off self. Merely have to do it all over again tomorrow.

No word from offender painter, whom I miss badly. Long dreams last night, on the other hand, basically confirming Beloved is the Beloved, despite all the ghosts. Of course. Grannypxx

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Did I say it was blowing? OK then. Today it is BLOWING. (ie over 30mph) and scheduled to go on doing so ad infinitum (or as far as the 5 day forecasts go.) Window in front of me rattles and bangs. 0nly comfort is that it's worse elsewhere... nearer 40mph in Gran Canaria - and wet as well in London and UK generally. K, Beloved's daughter whose holiday this in between visiting her sad mother, is fed up. Me I huddle indoors - and have to no option but to get to work. So far all I do is put ISP on new computer, old one temporarily sick. All files, luckily, on a Dysgo and transferable to this. The wonders of technology.

Another cockroach seen. Handsome wants us to have total definfestation at 140 euros, but it seems excessive given that the bloody things only seem to emanate from one source. Beloved and I to discuss matters later.

Granny, as can be gathered, generally gloomy - usual process of re-entry anyway; wind etc makes it worse. Recourse to endless copies of TLS and Giardian Weekly, arrived during absence doesn't help much. Would go to bed with thrillers if I had them but I don't. Mostly more improving stuff. Yoicks.

Some sun coming our way, from sea over stone walls, fields. Doubt it'll stay long. Grapes will be ripe soon. Vines and figtrees have green leaves still. Not much else.

At least window in our bathroom upstairs has stopped enitting banshee whistle, thanks to Beloved's ingeniousness. He can't do anything about the bangs and crashes elsewhere. All wind-proofing that can be done is done.

Better venture outside briefly. Granny P

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sitting in kitchen to the soound of the hoover (actually Bosch) while cleaner rids cupboards of mouse shit. Beloved and daughter off taking attic woman out to lunch. Cloudy, windy, as ever. But walking round now burnt, brown, dessicated land have brief sense of belonging and being at home. Cat, dogs now restored to the family, cockroaches vanquished, fustiness ditto, figs aren't rotting on trees as expected, but multiple and not yet ripe: fear now is that they won't be ripe enough to process before we go away again... At least this will leave time to write and think. Even if writing only turns to hilarious writer's time-wasting programme as set out by Hugo Williams in the exile's TLS read upstairs while waiting for cleaner to finish kitchen...

Think much of aged dad. No proper time to mourn, so now it all comes back. When I was last here, I realise, he was still alive, the world even if expected to turn round on itself had not yet done so. It has now. I weep. And contemplate sadly/joyfully/wonderingly the photo, ten days before he died, of old man and baby Sonny, his youngest great grandchild aged 6 weeks, gazing at each other; extreme age and extreme youth. All of our lives in one.

Wind howls. Palm tree on horizon dances about. Sun looks as if it may show itself, or pass us by, either. Grannyp

Monday, July 05, 2004

The horror, the horror...home again on our island. List: a plague of cockroaches in the white room, electricity shorting owing, it turns out, to the old dishwasher packing up, meantime we were in the dark, everything going mouldy - eg my shorter Oxford dictionary - and half the keys on this machine aren't functioning properly, beloved didn't empty fridge before leaving so it all stinks....it's cloudy, windy, trade wind weather, haven't dared look at figs yet.. let's RUN back to London. Only good thing, sort of, is that 500 euros lost by Beloved turns out to be locked in his computer case...

Beloved's beloved daughter here - last night we were talking about my twin's sister's kids whom she knew and their family story - not such a nice one after their mother died; went to bed upset and couldn't sleep.

Animals back and creating...


Sunday, July 04, 2004

Almost ready to leave. Beloved in Oxfordshire, but granny not alone for night as visited by niece, her dead twin's daughter - a necessary visit - much talk of twin. But niece stayed night, so precious time a bit truncated, not that it matters, and not that beloved would understand it. Hard to explain that you love someone to bits but still sometimes like to spend days nights alone to someone who never feels that need.

Wild life - from worms to raptors - seems to be the leitmotif of this visit: last night a very moth-eaten fox was to be soon sloping along our West London pavement in broad daylight. A cat - yowls all night in the gardens outside.

Our island seems unreal. But tonight that's where we will be - in the middle of the Greece/Portugal Euro 2004 final, which means we will have to take a taxi to Handsome from Blackburn's place to pick up our truck, rather than being met in style.... Ah well.

Must end. Time to finish clearing up for other (Aussie) niece who is to inhabit the flat in our absence. What an obliging - and closish - family we are; one good reminder from aged pa's death. As is rapprochement with unpc brother. Blood, as my usually untribal, anti such conventions daughter said while we walked in West Wales; blood really is thicker than water. Heigh ho

Thursday, July 01, 2004

And now it's July - time rockets past. Still in London, where time to sit down with this can rarely be found. Granny herself rockets between Suffolk and West Wales, and back here again. No time really to think of aged dad - now rotting, presumably, in his grave, in Westerham, above her mother's bones, and under the flowers from the West Sussex garden, thrown by her and her Aussie sister on top of his coffin; a big posy to commemorate their mum, sprigs of poppies and rosemary in memory of her dead twin. Afterwards the family retired to salve its grief in the Grasshopper Inn, 10 doors or so along from the house where the elder three of them first grew all those years ago. Leaving the corpse to the worms. (Of course there's always the miracle preservation of saintly bodies, but doubt if aged pa would lay claim to that. Any anyway what point? Dead is dead.) Eldest granddaughter asks many questions about this process. 'What's happened to great grandfather's body NOW?' When granny went to her house in Bristol over the weekend there were stacks of pictorial accounts for children of hospitals and illnesses and doctors, she wondered if that had anything to do with the death - beloved daughter assured her that no, it was that section of the library she went to at the moment,for books about 'problems' - eg family breakup, death -last time it had been a book about a child dying of leukaemia. Jolly stuff. (I only liked stories myself, but there you go; thinks granny. Grandaughter too likes such stories but read to her, rather than reading them to herself. Arthur Ransome, currently.)

Suffolk and Pembrokeshire meant birds mostly; granny likes those - especially seabird and wading bird and raptor birds because they're big, the only kind she could see properly when young, short-sighted and forbidden to wear glasses owing to her mother being influenced by Aldous Huxley and someone called Bates who claimed short sight was the result of lazy eyes which shouldn't be made lazier by spectacles etc. (That's one nutty theory no longer holding water, unlike others, eg echinacea, eg herbal cures for cancer etc, that granny p herself has been known to swear by. So she can't talk.) So: marsh harriers, avocets, redshanks (and a possible bittern sighting by beloved 'no, darling, if brown and short-necked it can't have been a heron') on one side of our island, peregrines, guillemots, razor bills, fulmars on the other - oh and a flock of gannets almost granny's favourite birds, indicating the presence of porpoises that indeed proceeded to leap about the small boat in a choppy Ramsay Sound in which granny and beloved daughter were being thrown around. A good few days. Reminiscent in small ways of the other Atlantic island where she lives. Sea and land off sea, an atlantic climate, has a similar smell and feel to it, a wideness, a marineness, cloud and wind and rock, recognisable in all parts: north and south. Granny feels at home.

Beloved and granny in good humour together - only one argument, something around Beloved's current obsession with the origins of gender in language which granny assumes is mainly something to do with the fact that human beings, the users of language, come in male and female genders - but scientist Beloved, unwilling to accept anything so obvious without more evidence, proclaimed it loudly - too loudly for a small flat surrounded by others in the middle of the night - too loudly for a weary granny -.... Otherwise things good; not to say loving in a funny disrupted time. In which waves of grief rise and fall like the waves of the sea. In which granny finds herself constantly intoning, mentally, sometimes even aloud- 'Fear no more the heat of the sun' - and feeling melancholy with it. In thirty years time where will I be? she thinks. Old. Too old to travel, walk, dance, I daresay. Alas. (But then 30 years ago she was young. Ish. Younger she realises than both her kids.)

Grief added to by (she hopes) temporary disappearance of the dear painter friend, who came jetlagged to her birthday party and took offence at granny's reference to ex-girlfriend (another story) whose side he thinks she is too much on... not so - but painter touchy, and not entirely without reason; he's had a bad year and was badly treated by girlfriend. And he's a complicated, obsessional fellow in the way of artists. All this leaves granny with the odd painting, plus some Calvin Klein underpants he left behind on his last visit - about which she feels nostalgic - so unwilling to release. Should she take them to bed to hug instead? - probably not - Beloved might get the wrong idea - quite the wrong idea - about this; but she's tempted. Dearest friends are hard to lose; life is too short for that. (Even aged pa's 96 years seems short now; that's what happen when you start getting old.)

On Sunday home again. To where the figs no doubt are already rotting on the trees. A thought she can't quite register. London is where she is now. In every sense.
Granny pxxx

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