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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?

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