Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Well here goes: having been 'tagged' - oh all these new words she's learning - Granny will try and answer these questions.

Music on computer? None. She merely feeds in cds to play directly or else listens to BB C radio 3 online as now, or Spanish classical radio, offline.

2. Last CD bought? Jordi Savall's Villancicos y Danzas Criollas - one among many recordings recently of early music from the Spanish occupation of Latin America - which incorporate - wonderfully - sounds and rhythms of indigenous music alongside the European - Spanish - baroque and pre-baroque forms.

3. Favourite songs? Granny here has to admit to being quite unreasonably ecletic; a fancy way of saying her likings spans the lowest grade of pop, via rock, jazz, folk, bluegrass, blues, Indian classical, African music from all over the continent, latin American ditto - you name it. And above all classical... Difficult to separate out 'songs' from Haydn quarters, opera, etc etc. And she can't possibly limit it to 5. Her totally unmusical dad did like what he called 'a good tune' - she inherits that, along with liking for more sophisticated stuff. The pop comes in here - most of it evokes too particular people and particular times of her life. Let's start at the bottom and move upwards (or at top and move downwards...)

1. Rolling Stones - Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows?
2 Don Maclean. American Pie. (Sung too full voice, often, by middle grandaughter when aged 4, following Madonna's recording
3. Sugar Sugar sung by a non-existant group (except for this song) The Archies.
4. Anything sung by Cesara Evora
5. Almost anything from South Africa, Mozambique, Mali; starting with the South African National Anthem - Nkosi, etc, which makes me cry; still
6. Anything by Jimi Hendrix,
7. ditto Janis Joplin

Lots of more recent stuff too heard in which I can't name because it passes in and out - the problem of ageing. Head stuffed with far too much. Guess all the above dates me: who cares.

Classical (at the moment)
1: song by Tarquinio Merula, sung by fabulous singer, Monserrat Figueres (wife of Jordi Savall, above) Folle e ben che si crede - on CD Arie e Capriccio which has enchanted anyone I've ever played it to - to the extent I don't currently have a copy because I gave mine to the last person.
2Duet from Handel's L'allegro, il penseroso ed il Moderato. Can't name it. CD's in London! Both these so langorous - tender - she melts.
3 opera All of Verdi's Falstaff, Berg's Lulu, Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, Last Act of Wagner's Valkerie.
4. Szymonowski's Stabat Mater.
5. All of Haydn's opus 76 quartets...

Is this cheating? Probably. Too bad.

Monday, May 30, 2005


This cheered granny up on a grey morning. She wonders what the law is in Spain. Memo to self. Keep chickens in run...(She'd give you the link; but blogger doesn't allow it for MACs. So she's gone the whole way and copied it, you lucky reader...) MAC doesn't allow her to put it in a different, fancy print either.... bugger it.

stop press: she has uploaded Maxilla Firefox (who comes up with all these names?) All or most of the lovely buttons are back. So she will now amend this post slightly.

US chicken ducks jaywalking fine

A chicken fined $54 for illegally crossing a road in California has had the charge thrown out by a court.

The fine was dismissed after a lawyer for the bird's owners argued that the fowl was domesticated and could not be classified as livestock.

California law bans livestock from highways, but not domestic animals.

Linc and Helena Moore had been fined on 26 March after their chicken wandered onto a road in the small rural mining town of Johannesburg in Kern county.

They were warned by their lawyer that if the bird continued to cross the road unattended they could face a minor misdemeanour infraction, the Daily Independent newspaper reported.

The Moores say they were fined because of their repeated complaints that local authorities had not done enough to curb off-road drivers.

"For the last two-and-a-half years, no-one has been able to stop the kids riding their bikes in the middle of the road or the neighbours' dogs running around our neighbourhood," Linc Moore was quoted as saying.

"But when our chicken escaped and crossed the road once it became a huge issue."

Officials from the sheriff's department rejected the allegations.

The couple are now seeking legal assistance to file harassment charges against Kern County's Sheriff Department.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bones week

Tutankamun wasn't murdered...he just fell off a chariot. Info Granny can give you because she saw it on Channel Four last night - complete with bones, mummified head, etc. Many bones, skulls of others too... All likely to have been more lively Granny thinks than well-fleshed bones displayed on Big Brother that followed. No, she did not stay to view, despite mild curiosity vis a vis 40 year old black Tory speechwriter and 30 year old female white witch, disporting themselves among the (almost certainly) vapid vivacity of the would-be famous and much younger rest. There: she had to get all that in. Dyspeptic grandmothers for ever. (BBC please put your satellite back...PLEASE.)

It was so chilly last night that Granny and Beloved even lit a fire. This is supposed to be the forever summer, sunny Canaries. Please note, Him up there. She's emigrating otherwise.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Just tried to write a blogger post online. Blogger won’t let me in. So here we go, to be put up later.

Island in a sulk – at least Granny’s part of it. Low cloud – some rain – wind rising. Yesterday on land covered in prickly remains of all the flowers – oh the burrs on them, many of which seem to end up on the dogs – granny found one solitary, very small tomato. She ate it. It was sweet.

Citrus meanwhile have lost all potential fruit despite protection put round them.

Main news: the Lady with the Big and Little Dog has upped and gone. Handsome from Blackburn all too much for her, it seems. Granny and Beloved came back to find her absent, but knew she’d been planning a holiday so thought nothing of that. Her chair was under the pergola, her curtains drawn. Beloved finally looked inside. Nothing. No books, no sofa, no cooking pots, no clothes. Not a word either. Let alone keys.

Granny is surprisingly upset. Bottle Blondshell has departed for Tenerife, Lady is god knows where, the only female friend left is Mrs Handsome, ever more manic these days. Who cares if BBS and the Lady were not exactly soulmates; they were FEMALE. She never thought she’d miss that. But she does. If things go on this way she will be forced to start a book group…

Blogger seems to be working again; she will put this up. With one last comment – the island. Which is as never. Normally when it dries up there is nothing but greyish-brownish earth and stones. But this year it is colours; dead grass, pale sand colour like fine fur; dead plants darker, tawny or russet. Deep red patches of succulents. Vines have more leaves than usual, are green green green, so are fig trees, their leaves usually withering by now. There are patches of dead brown maize and others of young green maize. There are onion fields, unpulled, their big heads fading – presumably kept for seed. Everywhere against this are the unplanted black fields covered in volcano stone – picon. Towards the north where Granny and Beloved went this morning there are hills lined with terraces like contour lines on a life-sized 3-dimensional map – each one as if high-lighted with the pale grass or the redder once-flowers. Even on a gloomy day like this the colours are powerful; smudged yet brilliant pastels. Not one bit like English water-colours, but subtle just the same. Even longing for the Mediterranean as Granny is just now, she can appreciate it. She does.

As she appreciates, coming via the web, on headphones, a thumping and ringing glory of African music from Radio Three. OK she’s melancholy. But what melancholy when fed by this.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A year ago

This morning I - granny doesn't feel like writing this post in the third person, as usual - I woke up early; Beloved was already downstairs and I lay thinking about getting up myself - and other such random thoughts; as usual doing nothing about it. Suddenly in my mind was another image - of the last time I saw my old dad, dead, face upwards in the hospital mortuary. Along with it came deep grief. It was I realised suddenly exactly a year ago that he died, aged 96, after years of longing for it. How strange to remember it like that, though, so precisely. I hadn't thought about him in days, if not in weeks.

Last year, my brother rang around the same time that I lay there, this morning, remembering. 'He's dying,' he said. I packed myself up fast, shaking, Beloved took me to the airport, by midday I was in the air. Dad died not long after - the first I knew was when I called Beloved Son from the railway station at Luton, around 3 o'clock, hoping I wasn't too late. I sat on the train afterwards, tears pouring down my face, not caring who saw it.

It was the grief that surprised me - then and when I felt it again this morning. As I feel it now, writing this. He had been longing to die, and so for his sake had we all been longing for it too. He had outlived his friends, his life, his time. And now he was where he wanted to be. And all of us were free from our routine trudges to see him - distressing and thankless often enough. Who wants to see their dad, in a home which was nice as any home could be, but which he hated, in a wheel chair, with pressure sores, unable to walk, incontinent, sunk in depression? Even before he got so bad, the visits were hardly fun. He couldn't hear, he repeated himself, he kept on saying I want to die; and so forth. Every time too he would wave at the pictures of his great-granddaughters on his window-sill - 'Aren't they the prettiest little lot of little girls you could wish to see?' - I would be almost repeating the words, irritably, after him - they never varied. At the same time I was glad at least that it was the one thing still made him smile. Before he discarded his hearing-aid, I could sometimes rouse him, we'd talk about the past, both remembering things together; we had some good times like that. But once the hearing-aid was gone, he could never hear enough to make it possible.

And now he was dead; so why this grief? Hadn't he infuriated, bored, driven me mad all my life? - still, now, for all but one year of my life? And still, if I think about him, I feel that same rush of annoyance, frustration - you pig-headed old bugger I say to him in my head - not that I could ever have said it as plain as that to him; though he got versions of it from time to time. And yet...On 26th May last year, my youngest granddaughter - his youngest great-granddaughter had just turned 3. My eldest granddaughter - his eldest great grand-daughter - had just turned 8. Today, a year later, they've turned 4 and 9 - and Dad will have rotted to nothing more or less, in his grave in Kent, next to the bones of my forty-year dead mother, his wife. So life goes on. And I am still bemused by the grief I feel. 'Let go, dad,' I say. 'Let go, you old bugger.' But he doesn't. Nor would I want him to.

Forgive this mawkish stuff. Death does that to you. Put on your fishnet stockings, skeleton, lipstick your teeth, skull. Why not?

Outside it's sun. Temperature 32C, Back in England God knows what. My old dad has no more clue about it now than I do. That's one thing that's changed. He always kept records of the weather. English weather. The ones I keep are for much farther away.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Well well. Granny is back home. Land is brown, burnt, but owing to remains of the many plants still standing it's also PRICKLY. Only useful thing she's done so far is UNPACK. (Oh the virtue...) She's also set up her MAC here, to discover it will only access her email if she dials expensive UK number. Oh dear.

Apart from which, after week, 10 days, of looking at boats, olive trees, citrus trees laden with unpicked fruit (unlike her poor little wind-blown things) she has little to say. She did not find her long-lost 3 times grandmother on Minorca, only streets of 18th century mansions with sash windows where she might have been brought up. Otherwise it was an array of small and pointed hills, dairy farms with Friesian cows, reminding granny of her own native home county, Kent, and little roads which led nowhere: central Minorca remains untouched. Meanwhile the coast has sprouted discreetly placed but over large holiday villages ('dream homes') red-roofed, white-walled, like gnome towns, complete with chimneys, lamps perched on fake dead trees, rustic olive-wood balconies, etc etc. Beloved swore he saw a fake well somewhere too. Tourists have to play the part of gnomes; they do it all too well, if in different kinds of hat. Said tourists alas, briefly, included Granny, Beloved and Aged Cousin, who got there by mistake; or rather by not organising themselves, instead trusting beautiful travel agent in Mallorca/Majorca. (Aged Cousin always has beautiful female functionaries. Some of them are efficient. Some he has been known to get off with; though, alas, he has screwed it up with his other beautiful travel industry love. She came to dinner, he twitched, she was cool. Some people (mostly male?) never learn - even by the time they are 70 odd.)

Beloved of course had forgotten to bring his driving licence. Person most interested in landscape of both islands - ie Granny - was forced to do all the driving. Aged cousin sat in back, sleeping. Beloved sat in front, crying at intervals 'Watch the road.' Granny changed gear, turned corners, etc, etc, as required. But she did catch the odd prehistoric monument just the same at great danger to all, no doubt,

She will pick up proper threads in due course. Lovely agent wants her to try and pull some of the family stuff together, She may try. But not until she ceases to feel lost in no-man's land, the inevitable follow-up to a whole month away. Feline Houdini was pleased to have a cuddle. This cheered her up too no end. By the sounds and smells emanating from the kitchen, Beloved is bringing himself back into land by starting to cook.

Granny will try to catch up with her blogging friends now. Back tomorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Granny is off again tomorrow with Beloved to visit Beloved's Aged Cousin in Mallorca. She may or may not be able to access this before she arrives home on her island in 10 days or so time.

Meantime: she has been delighted by:

1) A dance of sex-mad grannies on zimmerframes. (Try her... Or, lucky Londoners, get a ticket to The Producers, The rest of you will have to wait for the film. Beloved HATES musicals. He didn't hate this.)

2. Holding a live mouse. It BUZZED. Sensation you understand; not sound. This was not a BEE. More like a little live electric current, Only electric currents, even live ones, don't peer at you with button black eyes, explore you with little pink hands and long pink noses. It had ears like curled fingernails. Very charming. As long as it doesn't live in your cupboard and deposits its less charming turds all over your packets of rice etc. In which case you bring in a cat. This one lives in a cage with 2 equally charming siblings, property of Granny's eight year old god-daughter. So that's all right.

The politics in England continue to be boring and the weather cold. What's new? Actually, looking at politics elsewhere, maybe boredom is A GOOD THING.

PS Will this lead to a correspondance about mice, Granny wonders? Or sex-crazed grannies?? HA...

Monday, May 09, 2005


Don't get excited anyone. Granny after days of dealing with technology and playing mummy, has nothing of interest to say, in this country abuzz with leadership crises. As buzzing news - courtesy of Sunday Independent which she can't quote because for some reason neither of the MAC internet systems seems to allow Blogger link- is that the countries beekeepers are at war with one another. Fancy that. Otherwise she has spent the whole morning trying vainly, with the help of expensive phone calls, to download word files from her memory sticks. Seems it can't be done unless you have the Mac version of Word up, otherwise it sends you nasty little error messages, Neither of the two help lines accessed twigged this. Granny only discovered it entirely by accident after three hours. Cursing all the while because MACand PC's were supposed to be compatible.... well they are. BUT.

So what are the beekeepers doing to each other the while? Breeding killer bees and sending them to each other in parcels? Who knows. She now has to clear up shit heap called flat in order to entertain her niece. It's all go here you see, Cheers.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

der der der DER der. The Valkyrie cometh

Quick post before Granny departs for laptop less country till Tuesday. Primroses! She hopes. Even in London she's assailed by scents of flowers - blown in hot winds and cold.

Her cultural level well upped between minding grandchildren (mostly the youngest.) French Film 5 times 2 (why does this machine not have a multiplication sign?) Joseph Beuys at Tate Modern - taking in thereby - and taken in by - man selling bird whistles outside. Crossing the Milleneum Bridge Granny is serenaded by bird song she assumes as always emitted by a real bird - blackbird? - thrush? - sitting on one of the young birch trees planted outside the building -before realising it's a mere man blowing on a piece of wood. Also taking in spectacularly beautiful new very modernist glass building between St Paul's and the bridge which has scriptural text scrawled across it and turns out to belong to the Salvation Army. Evidently they decided not only the devil should be deprived of some of the best tunes but also one of the best buildings. Granny approves. (She may not go with SA theology but she goes with what they do. And the fact that unlike most of the Jesus group they don't try to convert those they work with, by threatening them with hell fire.)

She also got, quickly, to see Lucien Freud's new self-portrait with admirer clutching his leg. And no, Mark Gamon who commented on last mention - link to MG on right- it is not mysoginist. (Can't spell it.) Glad you agreed. Just melancholy and mysterious. Who is looking at who? - where is the mirror? It's at the Portrait Gallery for a while, all you lucky Londoners; go, see. Last night's finale; five hours of Wagner; Gotterdamerung. In company of ex-husband and 3 New Zealanders - his brother, sister-in-law, 16 year old niece - none of them had seen any opera ever; beloved ex didn't think they'd survive this. But did - and revelled like the rest of us. Wonderful stuff. Granny forgets. Shame it's her present Beloved's idea of hell. But you can't have everything. (Brunhilde incidentally was minute - and got up like the fifties housewife Granny was supposed to be; Siegfriend arrive in check shirt and backpack. Granny was irresistably reminded of a Teutonic Sylvia and Ted. Brooding Heroic male - etc etc. She doesn't know if this was the effect intended. Even if not it worked - and boo to the critics who didn't. A lot of stuffy old male gits, opera critics.)

Shame the time here is spent in such a rush. Trouble with small children is always having to look at your watch - getting to school - fetching from school and all ways round. Sitting outside youngest gdaughter's gym class surrounded by mothers and small children, granny felt wholly out of place. At same time realised she always did feel out of place in such groups, even when it was her own generation, her own child. Something to do with working; having a head always slightly in another place. Motherly chat not her thing.

She realises too that one merit of her exile on the island away from this - away from adult family crises, this and that, is that it leaves her free to work. Once she gets back to England. give or take the odd cultural orgy, she turns into everyone's mother... Focus disappears. Oh all you younger readers who have the happy illusion that when everyone grows up you're free. Not so. Bigger the person, bigger the problems. Anyway such distraction is reason for these hasty cultural and domestic ramblings.

Back home on the island ranch, incidentally, wind and cloud have disappeared. So has Handsome Number Two. Beloved has chopped him, waiting till Granny was out of the way. Shame, Morphess, (link right Trivial Pursuit) Beloved has no orchard in which to isolate him. Anyway Beloved too practical to mourn such things. Handsome (the man) and Lady with Big and Little Dogs are also at loggerheads. Which is awkward. Given they'll be left confronting each other for two weeks without Granny and Beloved to smooth them over. Did Granny say work? focus? Still it all blows up on one site, doesn't involve endless trips on the tube/bus to play mother. As here.

As she said to the two grandchildren beating each other up in their bath/ 'Birds in their little nests agree.' Not that they took the blindest bit of notice. But oh the pleasure of THEM; both in turn after, cuddling up in her lap, wrapped in towels, playing the parcel game. 'Here's a parcel for mummy' - etc. Granny may not go with the other mother society bit of maternal experience; but this she can live with.

Handsome and Lady can't be wrapped up in towels and cuddled to calm them down. Alas. It's the problem with grown-ups. Anyway if she played the parcel game with them, who would granny send them to? There are no mummies left. How about Siberia?

Click Here