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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

ice cream therapy

Granny is SORE. This morning she was pulled and pushed by chiropracter. Her neck is now perfectly aligned in case you were interested. The muscles in her arm are far from it; - deeply bruised, said Ms Chiropracter; proceeding, apparently, to bruise them still more. Granny is sure that isn't what she actually did, but that was what it felt like. The results were not helped by the mammogram operative whose attentions she was obliged to seek in the afternoon - routine, but tiresome.

Hospitals, she observes, are the only large public buildings in the entrance of which your bags aren't searched these days by what look like imported heavies, none of them patient with Granny's fumblings. She's manually clumsy at the best of times - brain-damaged, Beloved has sometimes suggested, kindly; she is a left-handed twin from a family of dyslexics after all. These days clumsy is too minor a word to describe the droppings and slippings and accompanying groans and curses as she struggles to extract arms from straps, open zips, haul out scruffy contents, etc etc, more or less one-handed - and her right hand at that. People waiting behind her are not happy with the process either. The already lengthy queues outside the Albert Hall before the Prom she went to lengthened. Luckily they were many fewer people fighting to get into the British Library. So that was alright.

In all other respects London is adorable as ever. More so in summer - she thinks - it always is. Sky is blue, wind gentle. She has so far forgotten to be frightened of public transport that yesterday, deep in all the confusing 'al-' this and 'al-' that of her book - still, appropriately, AL-QUAEDA - she forgot to get off it. Thereby making herself late for dinner with psychoanalyst friend - whose not so psychoanalytical partner had to be informed by her about Kafka - you see what lofty things Granny and the psychoanalytic friend discuss between gossiping about their children and grandchildren. Both partners were on a diet; no booze therefore. The vegetables were delicious.

Adorable summer London is not only green and sunny, but lively. In the parks people lie about the grass. Today Granny rewarded herself for all the pains she had suffered with bitter coffee ice-cream and a macchiato in a trendy Italian cafe. She is about to go to dinner with another friend whose title also starts 'psych' - a psychiatrist this time. (Granny's friends seem to be into the mind these days, why's that?) Among the other pleasures of which is that HER flat - unlike Granny's - has a bath, into which she proposes to immerse her aches. Blissful. (The psychiatrist doesn't know this yet. But she will.)

Incidentally; publically transported Granny has never noticed before how virtually every travelling male of every nationality, ethnicity, colour, between the ages of 15 and 40 carries a backpack. If they don't keep bombs in them, what do they put there? Is it the male response to not being allowed handbags, she wonders? Beloved has a handbag - a fairly macho brown leather shoulder one nicked from the Attic woman. But then Beloved is a bag man - who keeps 40 black bags - as opposed to thieves - in HIS jars, otherwise known as wardrobes; he is also old enough and male enough not to generate suspicious looks.

Not that he'd care a damn if he did. If there's anything Granny envies in her Beloved it's his total lack of self-consciousness. She can't say the same about herself. An ageing, so invisible woman she may be; but she's no more able to believe - let alone enjoy - that than most women. Vanity dies harder than anything else. She will not, she suspects, be the only one enquiring anxiously if her bum looks big in her shroud. The worms won't appreciate the beauty of our corpses. But so what?

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