Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005

Friday, July 29, 2005


1) Watching chickens better than yoga. Chickens don't tie you in knots. But they do take up more space.

2) Males are perverse. Husband no 2 wore jeans once described by legal friend as 'tub-shy." (A comment that says as much about legal friend as jeans.) He wouldn't be seen dead in a t-shirt - or a short-sleeved shirt come to that, even walking up the Himalayas. Beloved on the other hand won't wear anything except t-shirts. (Clean one = smart informal; new one = formal. Really.) But he won't be seen dead in jeans. Weird. Especially as what he mostly wears are calf-length pants - or trousers if you insist. Long ones are too hot, he says. Even in winter.

Last night G and B discovered a view of island not defined by dour locals or tattooed tourists. More like going to any art opening anywhere. Flowing caftans and men with beards, etc, etc. And little bits of pretty food on trays. They met a trendy Scottish estate agent (beardless, in black) with trophy Belgian wife who said property boom was over, and the remaining small coastal village are likely to remain that way. Good. (On the other hand what happens when G and P want to sell their house? Oh let's not worry about that.) All this through people met via the internet via the USA - weird. (But thanks, Lin.) Beloved - wait for it - wore clean calf-length pants and clean t-shirt - when Granny said 'why not a shirt just for once?' - he said; 'But it comes from the Guggenheim!' It did too. Granny went so far as to iron it for him.

Granny can see him at her funeral in black versions of the above. Why not? So long as they're clean. (And maybe - she won't have had to do it - ironed?) She doubts if her ex will wear jeans. Not to a funeral - he's a doctor, come on. He doesn't even own a leather jacket. It's only psychiatrists do that.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dead land

It is DRY here now. Almost the only plants left in the fields apart from some low-lying ones - marrows probably or pumpkins - are the maize plants all of them drying out - they're like country full of hollow men rattling and clacking in the wind. The local veg producers are about to take their summer break; 'nothing is growing now they say; we've nothing to sell.' Except for stuff grown hydroponically on the neighbouring dry island the green stuff has to come from the wet islands; or Spain. Here just grows agaves; you can't eat their yellow heads. In earlier times it must have been the equivalent of winter in Northern Europe; meagre pickings; root vegetables stored from the wet seasons, plus dried mais - maize - and not a whole lot else. There's the grapes of course- but they'll be picked in a week or two, and anyway they are for wine not eating. And there's the figs of course; the bloody figs. But you can get tired of figs. The locals dry theirs mostly. The fig trees have more green leaves on them this year because of the rain earlier; which makes them still more tiresome to pick.

So far Granny has made a fig and orange compote, fig preserve with star anis, fig jam with cardomum and rose water - odd but interesting. She has also made passion fruit ice cream, fig icecream, and ironed linen for up to five beds, on behalf of the scientists coming in September - she never irons them for herself and Beloved. She hopes the scientists will appreciate the extent to which the latter at least is against her principles. She hopes they will also appreciate the figs. The passion fruit icecream she will not be modest about. It is delectable.

And then there's the ongoing chicken watch. Each morning, each evening, the procession goes down. Beautiful Wimp, Tiresome Terrier, Granny, Beloved, both bearing bowls with the remains of lettuces, water melon and so forth, all of which they devour eagerly. (They are jungle fowl and like green shoots. There are no green shoots here. Beloved has to provide them.) Feline Houdini also skulks along as above, unless prevented on behalf of trapped birds; 3 turtle doves this morning. Fortunately FH for once was too interested in his breakfast to follow.

Another chicken has started laying. White eggs this time.

You can see this is not a literary week. But all of it stops Granny brooding on London, to which she is bound next week; various London friends have said 'Stay out.' But she won't.

She'll try and write about all that tomorrow. Figs, hollow men and chickens will do for now.

But you could try Tariq Ramadan's site if you you want some qood sense in the meantime

Monday, July 25, 2005

Chook-watching. Or how to make a Canarian Oven

Beloved thought Jane Eyre was a film - Charlotte Bronte passes him by. On the other hand he's the only expat on this island ever to have planned and made (with Mr Handsome's help -that's his backside etc - and Mrs Handsome's too) a Canarian bread oven. He claims he will make bread in it. In which case Granny will eat it. (Possibly.) She might even admire it in the end. But herself she prefers the chickens. And eating eggs. (And roofs which don't leak. Sssh. Maybe the workers will get to that sometime.) Mr Handsome has several deep cuts in his hand as a result of this hard labour. He doesn't hold it against anyone, merely spends time in the hospital having them stitched, etc, instead of finishing the oven, let alone fixing the roof. (He and Mrs H as you can see are getting on rather better.)

Down at the chicken-run Cassie is still laying into Caron. This is not just teenage politics, you understand; this is playing at being real grown-ups. They're the only ones to have full-formed combs and wattles and to be laying. Cassie got there first; Caron is the young pretender. The others, developmentally challenged, aren't anywhere near that yet, so nothing like as suspect.

The new little chooks go cheep cheep still; not cluck cluck. The bold one - Dora - has already shown herself. Brown trumps black so far. A long time till they start laying.

Update. Blogger has now condescended to upload images. Here you have it in glorious technicolor. Whoopee.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

vital fluids..

Granny's act as apprentice hedgehog continues till Monday. It takes up a lot of time...

Meantime; technology - or rather failed technology. Aged Mercedes won't start. Water pump has failed. No car, no water.

What you have to understand is that the water situation here is not quite like that on the dear island back home. There is no running water whatever. A (very) few lucky people have wells, getting water from the only deep underwater sources on the island. The rest of us have to rely on getting the wet stuff in two ways. The first - this used to be the only other way- via rains; of which there are virtually none between April and November. (In desperate seasons in the past when there wasn't any it had to be send over by ship from some of the wetter islands. But this couldn't happen very often.) The second way is via desalination plant and water tanker if you are very remote - or via town supply pumped into your tank twice a day - assuming no technical problems, if you are not. In the middle of last summer a dispute between the water company and the electricity company led to no water being pumped for three weeks. Rumour claimed this was due to an electricity bill unpaid by water company, whether because of insolvency, embezzlement or inefficiency is unclear; given the way things work - or don't work here - it could have been mixture of all 3. In any event consumers weren't warned, most of us learning the hard way when we found our water tanks were virtually empty.

As in Southern Spain, water tanks here are called 'aljibes' ; clearly an Arabic word. Every house has one, and th0ugh the water that comes via the water supply is purified, noone drinks it. The bottled water companies do good business. You can see why if you take off the wooden cover and prostrate yourself over Granny's aljibe; dead lizards, flies etc may not be that lethal, but the sight of them does disincline you from swallowing any water from it, unboiled.

It also has to be pumped up. This can be done by wind power - should be really - Granny and Beloved are thinking of investigating this and adding to the little windmills you see on some rural properties like theirs. But mostly it's electricity; if the electricity fails you get no water. If the pump fails as ours did, you don't get any water either. Merrily, merrily. Stinky loos for 24 hours in this case, not least. That's not to mention a stinky Granny. (It would be unkind not to say improper to mention an equally stinky Beloved.)

Water is a vexed issue in all ways. Granny and Beloved like everyone else do try to conserve it. Granny for instance, resists her beloved hot baths most of the time, (Having a hot tub helps. Probably they shouldn't really have one of these either.) It is only the desalination plants that have enabled the huge growth not only in tourism but in the population of the island - to give but two examples one entire resort has been built since 1985, while the charming little fishing village Granny stayed in in 1984 is now yet another resort and has doubled in size even since 2001 when she revisited for the first time before moving here to live in 2002. It is no longer charming.

Desalination plants of course use a lot of electricity. Tourists use a lot of water - despite discouragements from doing so. Hotel rooms are still provided with baths as well as showers. They shouldn't be. All of it adds to global warning, of which Granny is painfully aware. Probably she and Beloved shouldn't be here either. Really. But they are. Even if they are in an old house, which would otherwise have crumbled away like so many other old houses here - just as in Ireland, EU membership has led to many good citizens to building spanking new des res(s) alongside, leaving the old casa or finca to crumble, just like the Irish crofts. Shame really. The new houses built of 'bloques' ( breeze blocks to you) are much less effective in keeping out heat/weather/wind or keeping in warmth/dry too. This leads to the use of still more electricity. Just as the planes which G and D use to travel home to England at frequent intervals also help pollute the world still further.


But well, at least their eggs will come from happy, ecological chickens, fed on all kinds of good things like water melon and manky lettuce leaves (how they love lettuce.)

The plebian brown hens have been added to by four much more aristocratic fowl - black, speckled and brown - fetched yesterday from the woman with a stall at the up-island market. Meet David, Dora, Dolly, Daisy and Daphne.

Also Feline Houdini has taken to thinking he's a chicken. He hangs out in the hen house and was one day discovered taking his ease in a nesting box. The chickens don't seem to mind. The suspicion is he is there as much as anything to catch the birds that get caught in the closed run just outside. His known haul so far has been a sparrow and a ring dove. Heaven help him if he traps one of the much rarer turtle doves who've also been attracted these days by the supplies of free grain. Garotted feline? Possibly.

Beloved says; next thing we'll find him sitting on a clutch of eggs. Cat-reared chicks? Hm. That will be interesting. Needs a Vit maybe to draw it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pin pricks

30C today; hazy sun out. Wind has abated and the fact it's still from north is for once welcome; it cools things. Granny is feeling a little more friendly to her island - summer the time she likes here least. The figs though are ripening. The slavery - bottling, freezing, jamming - begins. Care for a working holiday anyone?

If she doesn't write much just now, she apologises. Partly she has found herself in heavy correspondence with Anan - see Base Details post - partly she and Beloved have embarked on a course of needle therapy; acupuncture to you. A course recommended by the football lover, Mr Handsome from Blackburn of all people; who claimed that this was what cured his bad back a few years ago. In consequence, the two of them are to be found, from 11am each morning till 11.30am, at right angles to each other, prone, in an office opening straight onto an narrow, unprepossessing not to say industrial street, part of the one way system down into the main town, opposite a Shell petrol station and the main Mercedes dealer.

A topless Granny lies on her right side with thin needles sticking out of her arm and shoulders, one of them plugged into an electrical device which beats steadily and makes her feel her heart has migrated to her arm. A trouserless Beloved lies on his front with rather bigger needles sticking out of his bum and thigh; big enough to make him bleed. The acupuncturist meantime sits behind her desk talking in rapid Chinese with some Spanish phrases thrown in. To her left side is a Chinese calendar and her diploma from a Spanish institution. To her right a cupboard out of which she takes her equipment. Above her a large figure like a standing Buddha stands on a shelf, arms straight by its side, palms turned out, lines and script all over it detailing every muscle and vein and organ. Charts of the same are on the wall above her prone patients' heads.

The door is open against the heat, the flow of Chinese backed by traffic noise. It makes for a strange, intense experience of displacement. It's not painful exactly - though from the yelps, the insertion of Beloved's bigger needles this morning was more painful than the sensation of being punched which accompanies the insertion of granny's. 'Pica?' asks the practitioner tenderly. Yes. It picas a bit, but not as much as Granny feared. Better than the dentist for sure.

Does it work? After yesterday's session, Granny felt a welcome relief, which abated as time went on. After this morning's she could raise her arm higher than before. Beloved was better yesterday, less so today. Handsome claims improvement comes and goes like this; he felt worse after second session, totally alright after the last. So, who knows. All Granny does know that it is costing if not quite the arm and the leg they meekly present for insertion - a lot less than Harley Street, for sure - probably about the same as a chiropractor, it's enough. More than enough if it doesn't work.

But if it cures them; if it saves Granny having to go on to anti-inflammatories with a list of side-effects running off the page...it will be worth it.

She will report.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dead politics

If you're a politician longing for everyone to love you: here's how. HAVE A BABY. Better still - effect lasts longer -DIE.

Look at what even his arch enemy, M.Thatcher, is saying about Ted Heath. Hard to remember - for those of us old enough to - how we jeered at his pronouncements during the three day week.

Come to think of it; a third option - which Ted adopted much sooner - is to get an M.Thatcher or a Dubya to succeed you. That certainly improves your reputation, even if it's small comfort to the rest of us.

Talking of which the Chatham House Report is saying it publically - at last. Granny especially likes bit about Britain 'riding pillion' with the USA. Can't you just imagine Tony, arms round Dubya, helmeted head laid fondly on his back, as they scorch up Route 66 - Bob Dylan on soundtrack. Yeah yeah yeah.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath

I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,

And speed glum heroes up the line to death.

You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,

Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,

Reading the Roll of Honour. "Poor young chap,"

I'd say -- "I used to know his father well;

Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap."

And when the war is done and youth stone dead

I'd toddle safely home and die -- in bed.

Siegfried Sassoon

Hearing Habib Hussein et al described as 'foot soldiers' Granny keeps remembering this poem. Now she knows that the majors described above don't physically fit the picture of the fanatics who travel across Europe or the Middle East to teach their poor brain-washed foot soldiers how to set up their own - and others' - deaths. Most likely they are not so puffy and scarlet. But she feels that their role is much the same. When are they going to seek martyrdom? - their 52 virgins? Are they not that keen to embrace them, perhaps? Or are they nobly foregoing them in order to further the will of Allah by setting up the murder of more innocents, their own young men not least?

Just wondering. That's all.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

talking sense to the senseless

Granny still 'under the weather' (where DOES that silly phrase come from? Suppose you are sitting on a hill and over it? Silly question. Too bad). Will point you merely at comment in Guardian by Seumus Milne which echoes what she has always felt, that it was Tony Blair's war set Brits up as target, rather than any real yearning - among the misguided bomber boys also the victims of lying leaders - for some universal Muslim caliphate. And to a very good full well-rounded piece by Mark Gamon. It's a relief when you've been swimming around for a week in mental soup to find someone giving it an identifiable taste -if not turning it into vichysoisse. (She doesn't expect answers you understand. At this point it's the quality of the questions that matter.)

How about this. The bus service here is lousy. Everyone is expected to have their own transport. Granny and Beloved's Toyota truck and (very) ancient 5th-hand Mercedes are typical. To get from the south of the island to the main town, on the at most 2 buses a day, takes 2 hours as opposed to the half hour normal for anyone under their own steam. There are no obvious moves to improvement here. The bus company has decided instead to upgrade the bus stops - not only do all now have neat little shelters and seats, they have been given names. This is easy enough where the stop is in the centre of a village; on the outskirts or in the middle of rural land imagination seems to have been called for. The one nearest to Granny and Beloved's regenerated farmhouse is called 'Calvario' - Calvary - for some reason she can't quite fathom; OK it's a windy spot; but not that penitential. Weird.

One more thing. A discussion by Melvyn Bragg et al on BBC Radio 4 this morning- on the philosopher voted the greatest by his listeners- concluded with the delicious statement that the best Marxist of all was Margaret Thatcher; who also believed that there was no longer such a thing as society and that the only real individual motivations are economic. (Well she'd know wouldn't she? Look at her dad, look at her marriage to Denis; look at Mark. Don't think he backed those mercenaries on behalf of the local African populace; do you?) Granny does hope she was listening. Alas, most probably not.

Granny will now retire to her sofa, clutching the little bag of frozen beans to her sore neck, with a good book. (Alan Sillitoe's Man of his Time) in case you're wondering; somewhat the worse for wear for having been dropped in the hot tub yesterday, during another attempt to sort out her aches. She can also recommend Siri Hustved's What I have Loved. General malaise is good excuse to catch up with her reading. Not that she needs much excuse.

"Surely you haven't finished that book already?" asks Beloved. Most likely, yes she has. So what next?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

hard times

Granny has some sort of bug, her arm still aches so does her head and her gut, after a day again in front of telly getting news that bombers were US - or at least ours. SCARY. She has spent today mostly sitting on a sofa with a book. Dragged herself finally to her feet to make a chocolate cake to put in the freezer for the autumn's descent of many scientists. Too late, discovered that she had made, not the chocolate cake of cakes she hoped she was making, but the second grade version she'd tried out before. Definitely that kind of day. It will just have to do. And at least it gave her the excuse to eat chocolate; which will do her head and her gut no good at all. Too bad. Even second grade chocolate cake smells good, though. Any moment she will have to fetch it out of the oven.

Though the blue sky - and with it the sun - has deigned to heave itself over our side of the hills the past two or three days instead of leaning tantalisingly not to say insouciantly (can't think how to spell it, no dictionary to hand, dyslexia strikes again, too bad) against the rear of them, leaving our stretch of country covered in a murky belt of cloud, the wind continues to blow relentlessly. Last night, all night, it set a door banging and banging. She was sleepless on top of everything else. So not much here. But she will point you to a brave blog by one of last Thursdays survivors being put out on the BBC website. And hope to do better tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Wow! Blogger has new facility which enables you to add pictures without going near Flickr or anything else. It works! It also wipes the pictures if you are not very careful. Granny did have two up here but can't be bothered to put the lost one back. Anyway this will do - it brings the message..... Behold, Colin and Cora, enclosed in chicken wire. And yes, THE FIRST EGGS HAVE BEEN LAID. Beloved brought in 3 on Saturday! The layers won't have included Colin unless he's some kind of mutant. On the other hand they could have included Cora - she, Cassie and Caron have the biggest combs so far. Granny and Beloved ate the eggs for Sunday breakfast.

Yum yum yum.

On sadder note. TV picture that persists in G's head from Thursday is helmeted, overall-clad policeman being pulled along by eager little black sniffer dog. Useful but unaware.

Also if you want effective rage read another Londoner in exile Vit... and Londoner in situ Anna.

That's enough.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

More griefs of children.

It's hard to write in the present just now. Granny has been working on another family piece. Here it is.

Middle and upper-middle class women of granny’s grandparents’ generation did not expect to look after their own children. They hired nannies instead, many of them good as well as competent women, loved by their charges more than the mothers they stood in for. Some, on the other hand, treated their charges in ways that would now be termed child abuse. A recent documentary about the Duke of Windsor suggested that in order to ensure the good-looking boy remained her baby his nanny used to pinch and otherwise torment him before he went in to see his parents, thus making him appear so timid and frightened that his father despised him. (This might possibly, explain poor Eddy's subsequent enthralment to Wallis Simpson, an abusive child minder if ever there was one.)

Granny has written already about the housemaids delegated to take care of her after-thought father. No evidence of abuse there – not of a lot of interest in him either. But she does have vague memories of a terrible story her mother told her about the nursemaid who looked after her before her mother’s death. Females in her family are strong, not at all easy to deal with. (She knows; she was one; she reared one; she watches her son and her daughter rearing others.) Her mother was a famously stroppy child. When she was around eighteen months the nursemaid tried to tame her by setting her down on a chamber-pot full of boiling water. Granny assumes this was something of an exaggeration- burns resulting from that would have put the nursemaid in prison. Even so, the water was hot enough to shock the child into the first of her asthma attacks. The next nursemaid – it could even have been the same one - was suspected then of drugging Granny’s mother to make her more docile. Granny has seen a picture of her mother at about that age which makes this seem more than likely.

It was taken in a photographer’s studio, the kind with props. The prop in this case was a sickle moon, set before a backcloth painted with stars. Her mother, still less than two at the time, sits on the arm of the sickle moon; her more docile elder sister leans against the tip. Behind the moon stands the nursemaid, a dark, smart young woman in a boater hat, and with a nipped-in waist – think Mary Poppins, in looks alone. She shows no sign of interest in the children. No-one in this photo is touching anyone; an anomaly in a photograph of an adult with such young children. What interests the nurse far more is the photographer at whom she appears to be making eyes. Granny’s mother makes eyes at noone. She isn’t saying ‘cheese’. She lolls and gapes, her face flushed and dopy. Maybe she has just woken up. Maybe she hasn’t.

Her parents certainly suspected something was going on. Her father hid in the night-nursery one night, to see if he could catch the nursemaid administering a drug. All he saw, much to his embarrassment was the nursemaid taking her clothes off. Both parents were in their thirties then, but judging by this story as innocent as chickens. Granny doesn’t know if his spying came before or after the chamber-pot incident, she doesn’t know if, with or without the evidence,the flirt was given the sack. She hopes so.

One thing clear about her grandfather from almost every story she was told was that though he may have been a very good naval officer he understood nothing about young children. Very fond of practical jokes, he turned up at the family house one day pretending to be a stranger, Mr X, his face disguised by a beard. His youngest daughter, Granny’s mother made, reluctantly to sit on Mr X’s knee, heard a familiar voice above her head suddenly calling her name. The screams when she turned to find the beard coming off, her father’s face behind it, echo in Granny’s head even as she writes this.

It was still worse after her mother died. Her father so adored his wife that about six months before, tired of the way his first love, the Royal Navy, was always taking him from her he resigned his commission. At her death, locked into his own grief, he insisted on everything in the house being sold. Even his children’s toys, even their teddy-bears, spoke too much of his dead wife to be allowed to stay. They were replaced of course. But that is not at all the same thing. Every time Granny viewed and views first her children’s, now her grandchildren’s, passionate attachments – when she rehearsed - and rehearses - the litany of Fenchurch Bear, of Euston Bear, of ‘my cuddly’, of Teddy Taylor (knitted in blue wool) of Snow Bear, of ‘Doggy’ – or tries to comfort the distress if one of these goes missing, she remembers her mother. Such toys may just be pieces of craftily stuffed cloth; - in the case of ‘my cuddly’ they are, simply, pieces of -often tattered - cloth. Yet for a small child, the particular texture of the cloth, its particular smell, the sudden, brutal, absence of it stands for every grief there is. Her mother’s grief is unbearable to imagine even now.

Granny’s mother adored her father, nonetheless. But Granny’s father harrumphed slightly whenever he was mentioned. Granny does not think his opinion of his father-in-law was high - ‘a Walter Mitty character,’ he called him. Comparing too, not entirely favourably, the slight battiness of the family from which this Walter Mitty came, to his own more stolid, not to say conventional one.

The battiness is not so obvious in the portrait photograph of Granny’s grandfather wearing his naval uniform. He was not a tall man – only five foot four, but in a head-and-shoulders shot that is not apparent. He looks very stern and imposing, every inch the seaman, staring out into some distant horizon. Even in black-and-white the extraordinary blue blaze of the family eyes (not inherited by Granny) leaps out. His family, batty or not, is and was proud of its Viking descent. In Denmark years later, visiting austere and beautiful Danish castles, the portraits on the walls of past paterfamilias – their eyes in particular - reminded Granny of him.

After his wife’s death, his daughters were passed round a series of unwilling relations, while he went back into the Navy to captain a minesweeper for the duration of the First World War. A reservist owing to his previous resignation, he was not allowed to stay on when it ended, much to his regret. He spent the rest of his life in a series of jobs he hated, cooking up wild schemes for making money. Though he took a second wife - the daughter of the organist at St Alban’s Cathedral - though he did have a son with her, he never really settled. At just over sixty, having lost money, not much money – a pathetic amount of money in fact- on yet another scheme, betting on greyhound and horse racing, he put his head in a gas oven – or shot himself. Granny doesn’t know which. (She only learned of it when her own mother lay dying; though it explained a lot of things, it left no time for asking questions.) At the time of his suicide her mother was pregnant with her first child. Grief continued passing itself down; in this as in other ways.

The story goes on.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Post Mortem

Thanks to all who wrote to Granny yesterday. Like everyone else, home and away, who had connections - or more - with London, she spent most of the day - when she was not phoning/texting/emailing friends and family to find out if they were OK -in front of the television set. At least two beloveds she knew could have been in the middle of it all. As the day went on, and the precise details came out, it became clearer that they ought to have missed it. They had. She got the final reassurance at 8pm.

Perspective begins to assert itself. It is appalling to see streets you have trodden many times over, stations you have taken trains from often and often, spewing out streams of bloodied and distraught people. Especially when you imagine ones you care about among them. At the same time, Granny feels grateful that the emergency services functioned so wonderfully and promptly, thereby saving so many lives. Grateful too that even the final toll will clearly be much lower than that of Madrid, let alone 9/11. She also thinks of Iraq where such horrors are suffered daily. How can the experience of Londoners, dreadful as it was, compare? None of us for one moment should forget that.

Other things too. She spoke to her son last night - he does not work in central London, she'd had no fears for him. None the less family communication matters a lot at such times. 'I'm glad you rang,' he said. And then: 'Milly has something to tell you which might help cheer you up.' On comes middle granddaughter aged 7. 'I'VE GOT A WOBBLY TOOTH!' (Belated; and her first.)

Life goes on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Granny has been a Londoner most of her life. She is still a Londoner at heart. At lunchtime yesterday - to her own surprise - she was cheering. Today she is in front of the television weeping. She wants to be at home. That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Call from Africa to sisters in Christ..

Though my siblings in Christ might like to respond to this - provided it's not for personal use. This one turned up today in bulk mail. They should get points for trying don't you think? There must be some suckers out there fall for it - otherwise why would they bother? Maybe I'll send a copy to Tony Blair and the rest of them. VANITY OF VANITIES. (At least this one can spell a bit. Not so sure about the grammar.) Cheers.

From mrsmaryokondu@alive.cz

Trust in God.
Dearly Beloved In Christ,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am former Mrs Saidat Aisha Okondu, now Mrs. Mary Okondu, a widow to late Mr Issac AhmedOkondu, I am 70 years old, I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. From all indications, my condition is serious and is quite obvious that I may not live more than six months, because the cancer stage has gotten to a very severe state and my doctor has told me this. My late Husband was killed during the Gulf war, and during the period of our marriage we had a son, who also died in an autocrash.

My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth. As my doctor told me that I may not live for more than six months, I am so scared about this. So, I now decided to divide part of the inherited wealth, by contributing to the development of evangelism in part of the world.

This mission which will no doubt be tasking had made me to recently relocated to Nigeria, Africa where I live presently. I selected you after visiting the website for this purpose and prayed over it, I am willing to donate the sum of US$10.000,000.00(Ten Million USD) to your Ministry for the development of evangelism and also as aids for the less privileged around you.

Please note that, this fund is lying with a Security Company and my family lawyer will file an immediate application for the transfer of the money in the name of your ministry. Please, do not reply me if you Have the intention of using this fund for personal use.

Lastly, I want your ministry to keep praying for me as regarding my health because I have come to find out since my spiritual birth recently that wealth acquisition without Jesus Christ in one's life is Vanity upon vanity. If you have to die says the Lord, keep fit and I will give you the crown of life.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forevermore. AMEN.

Please reply me through my alternate email
address: ( mrsmaryokondu@sify.com )

I await your reply.

Yours In His Vineyard,

Mrs. Mary Okondu.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

This Africa

At the time we are all urging G8 leaders to think of Africa, Granny and Beloved are being deluged by one form of African self-help, sent to the email address attached to their website. All of it attempting - via seeming attempts to join poetry courses, rent accommodation, accept investment - to gain details of their commercial bank account. Since they barely have one this is likely to avail the wily ones nothing. In the case of the poetry courses etc they write back demanding cheques upfront. Naturally there are no replies. In the case of the investment opportunism they ignore them. (Any thought of taking them seriously would be cancelled by Google reports on previous outbreaks of this scam.) One that arrived this morning was so particularly and wonderfully outrageous Granny thought you might enjoy it too.


ATTENTION: My friend

This letter might surprise you because we have not
met neither in person nor by correspondence. But I
believe it is one day that you got to know some body
either in physicalor through correspondence. I got
your contact through discreet inquiry from the
chambers of commerce and industry, you and your
organization were revealed as being quite astute in
private entrepreneurship, one has no doubt in your
ability to handle a financial business transaction.
However, I am Prince GIPSIN BEN the first Son of the
lateHis Royal Majesty ,DAVID BEN the traditional
Ruler of Eleme Province in the oil producing area of
River State of Bakassi Peninsula. I am making this
contact to you inrespect of US$ 40,000,000.00
(Fourty Million United State Dollars), which I
inherited,from my late father. This money was
accumulated from royalties paid to my father as
compensation by the oil firms located in our area as
a result of oil presence on our land, which hamper
agriculture, which is our major source of
livelihood. Unfortunately my father died from
protracted diabetes. But before his death he called
my attention and informed me that he lodged some
funds on a two boxes with me the next of kin status.
The lodgment security code number was also revealed
to me, he then advised me to look for a reliable
business partner abroad, that will assist me in
investing the money in a lucrative business as a
result of economic instability in Bakassi Peninsula.
So this is the main reason why I am contacting you
for us to move this m oney from the security firm to
any Country of your choice for investment purpose.
So I will like you to be the ultimate beneficiary,
so that the funds can be moved in your name and
particulars to any Country of your choice where it
will be claimed and invested. Hence my father have
had intimated the security firm personnel that the
beneficiary of the box is his foreign partner whose
particulars will be forwarded to the firm when due.
But I will guide you accordingly.
As soon as the funds reach, I will then come over to
meet you in person, so that we can discuss
physically on investment potentials. Based on this
assistance my Family and I have unanimously decided
to give you 20% of the total money, 2% for Charity

home, 3% for expenses, which may arise during this

transaction, Fax and phone bills inclusive. The
balance of 75% you will invest and manage for my
Family. I hereby guarantee you that this is not
government money, it is not drug money and it is not
money from arms deal. Though you have to maintain
high degree of confidentiality on this matter. I
will give more details and proofs as soon as I
receive your favorable reply. Please reply to my
Email I hope this will be the beginning of a
prosperous relationship between my family and your
family. Nevertheless if you are for any reason not
interested, kindly inform me immediately so that I
will look for another contact.I am waiting for your
quick response.I promise that you will never
regret any association with my family .As soon as i hear
from you i shall give to you my mobnile telephone
number where you can reach me any time. I am in
london , england here just to solicit an assistance
from some of my fathers friends but all my effort
prooved abbotve since they are requesting for 50/50

Please thank you for your help too.

Yours faithfully,

What an offer. Can we afford to decline? Please advise..

Monday, July 04, 2005

Monday morning

Wind blows, cloud covers, Beloved back aches, Granny's neck - plus connected arm - aches. What's new?

She sits at her desk, Beautiful Wimp at her feet.

This is a new regime. Owing to fact that every new attempt to contain the BW last two days before he learns to wriggle over, under, through, and out, and that he therefore has to be tied up outside - which he hates; owing also to fact that the land, after the abundance of spring, is now covered in vicious burrs, half of which end up in his fur. Since BW IS a WIMP, getting them out leaves him feeling unloved/abused, even more neurotic than usual. Beloved says he needs to feel loved. Sitting under Granny's desk he thinks will help. So here BW is, sometimes nibbling at himself in indecent places, sometime licking her toes, inbetweenwhiles looking as melancholy as ever. He is that sort of dog.

He has an odd relationship with the chickens. They terrify him. He jumps down into the run in which they are not and then can't get out again. (Memo. Maybe this is one means of shutting him up.) Sometimes he makes rushes at them from outside the wire. They now ignore him. As they also ignore Feline Houdini who has taken to hanging about in their run, probably in hope of nabbing one of the marauding sparrows; so far in vain. He's clearly decided that the chickens are out of his league.

As for the Tiresome Terrier. Granny doubts if she thinks the chickens are beyond her. She is just biding her time until the gate gets left open. It doesn't get left open.

Chook society evolves by the day. The cockerel is beginning to assert himself a bit; but the testosterone clearly isn't flowing yet. He chases the odd impertinant member of his future harem out of his way from the time to time. But that's about it.

Feeding time is what defines the rest of them. Beloved tends to think naming chooks is a waste of time, but it's through this that Granny has learned to identify their different behaviours. The top pair, the ones with white tails, Cora and Connie, leap onto the food dish and try to hide it from the others. They also hang out together in betweenwhiles. The bully girls, Cathy and Cassie - both of them with white sprayed hackles and quite hard to tell apart - Beloved thinks they're probably genetically quite close - attempt to chase the others away. Cora and Connie aren't much bothered - of the loners, Kitty, too, is mostly left alone; she's a bit thick; almost always the last to notice where the dish is coming. The other loner, the prettiest of all of them, with plumage between chestnut and amber, Caron, is chased away all the time. This might be a problem if she wasn't very canny and very cheeky. She gets into the dish first each time, grabbing what she can while the bullies are too busy to notice. When they do chase her out, she wanders around looking for her chance and seizes prize morsels - green stuff especially - they all love greenstuff - from under the feet of the others when they drop them. Or even from their beaks when they emerge. She's even been seen to hassle the cockerel, and seize what he drops. She then disappears to a corner to eat whatever it is. None of the others seem to realise that if they want to hang onto something they need to get right out of the way. Bottom of the pecking order though Caron may be, Granny is not concerned about her. She knows how to look after herself. She's even fun.

A loner herself, Granny rather favours Caron- you may have noticed - even though Caron in her rush to get to the dish did peck her once. Dimly, from her father's chickens more than half a century ago, she remembers there almost always was 'a character' who tended to be allowed to hang around, even after she'd stopped laying, while sisters became 'boiling fowl' and disappeared into the pressure cooker to become wonderfully intense chicken stock. She suspects that Beloved will not be so sentimental. We shall see.

What she does like is seeing these erstwhile battery hens, once so timid they wouldn't come out of their shed, colonise every corner of their run, of their chicken society. THIS IS A GOOD THING. A happy rescue. She wishes she could do the same for all the island's chickens. Poultry 'Husbandry' (horrible word in relation to animals) may have improved a bit elsewhere in Europe. It hasn't happened here.

Well you got the chicken piece after all. Aren't you lucky bunnies? It's probably because the alternative was getting to the NEW BOOK. Of which Granny, as yet, has only the dimmest idea. Terrifying. TERRIFYING.

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