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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Clear view

The sun is out - some of the time. For the last two days - the first time since Granny and Beloved arrived back - the light is strong, the sea and islands visible. The shades of brown, red orange and yellow across the dry landscape are vividly differentiated, not shrouded to monochrome. As for the green green vines.... in the mornings and evenings men are out with cans on their backs spraying assiduously. Granny doesn't like to think what with. (Growing grapes for wine is something done by all ages, unlike other kinds of agriculture here, mostly carried on the middle-aged and old.)

It's her birthday today; she wishes it wasn't... she had too many years on her already without this added one. Beloved has produced a hammock for her to rock in and a picture of her on her travels, pack on back. Her passport, mobile, ticket etc, are shown running away from her on little legs..... She'd like to state, for the record, that his ditto have been known to do the same. It's nice, though,

She's still working on this. It's amazing how adding - better still removing words - changes things. She hopes it does. It's called editing...why not? Meantime too, apart from the merry domestic round, she reads. In Elizabeth Jane Howard's Slipstream, a memoir, recommended to to her by Morphess - alas, currently silent - she finds this: she's not sure if she finds it comforting or not: or if it isn't just another version of Growing Old Gracefully; in which she's not the least interested. (Though she will admit to admiring the dignity of the still black-clad widows here - as against the half-naked pastel-clad visiting ones down in the tourist resorts. Would she wear black as a widow? Probably not.)

One of the good things about living longer is that we have more time to learn HOW to be old. It's clear to me now that inside the conspiracy of silence about age [..] there is the possibility of art: that is it can be made into something worth trying to do well...

nd of course EJH is right. All the old people Granny has admired from Dora Russell to Naomi Mitchison, to name but two, do just that.

On the other hand... Granny and Beloved both have been suffering a bit this week. Their heads may feel lively, as ever, shame their bodies don't follow that good example. Beloved's chronic back problems have walked off in a new direction. Granny has a long-term ache in the top of her left arm- difficult to rest because she is left-handed - which has lately got much worse. Earlier in the week it was compounded by painful arthritic twinges in her right wrist - an old problem which comes and goes mysteriously for no reason she can fathom. She's been lucky for quite a while - then this: on Sunday use of either hand was accompanied by 'OUCH.' It's gone again now, though the sore arm remains. And both remind her of how her body is likely to go on. If old age can be turned into ART it's Francis Bacon, say, at his most distorted- or Frida Kalho with her iron splints and nails in. Renoir it definitely isn't.

Granny can't complain really. Compared to many her body - for her age - is still pretty spring chicken. But such aches make her realise this may not last.

The real chickens in their English garden shed turned chicken house, though eggless as yet, are a great comfort. She has named them all; Connie, Cora, Kitty, Karen, Cassie and Cathy; not forgetting Colin who is growing wattles and aggressive both, but is not yet able to crow. Maybe she will write about them tomorrow- once she's recovered from her hangover. Beloved, bless him, is taking her out to dinner.

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