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Friday, November 25, 2005

Not the Goldhawk road

Part of Granny still hangs on in London - but she's grateful just now for the fact it's virtually speaking only. Oh yes, she's seen the weather forecasts, looked at the pretty snow-clad pictures. Brrr. Here, though the wind has got up a bit and swung back round to the North east, so is chillier, it's still not much below 20C at midday; she has been swimming outdoors, eaten lunch out in the sun. At this time of the year by day at least it's warmer outside than in.

Inside she puts on sweaters. Inside the stove is lit at night. Outside, the yearly miracle that happens after the rains start is beginning to manifest itself. The grass grows apace - all the more lushly because of the seeds laid by the phenomenal rains last spring. Green is visible from afar now on the flat raised stretch on the right hand side of her land. For two days in a row the chickens have been let out of their runs to peck at the new growth. Chickens are jungle fowl after all, reared to live on green shoots in the rain forest. Except for those provided by Granny and Beloved (the chooks particularly love lettuce, no matter how tatty) there's not much in the way of green shoots here between June and November. Like none. All their energy presumably is going on enjoying this new bounty instead of laying eggs. They are not laying eggs - or not many. Does Granny begrudge them? Only a bit. She does like her new laid eggs.

Today has been peaceful relatively. Yesterday was not. Yesterday both Mr and Mrs Handsome appeared in order to move furniture out of the studio shortly to be inhabited by the Thin German Cosmetic Masseuse. Good. Into Granny and Beloved's spaces. Mostly bad; no, Granny was not craving a wardrobe in her office. But she's got one now, admittedly with an altogether fancier sofa bed than the one that was there before, which has been dispatched to the dump poor thing. (Let's hope it finds a proper home (ecology) and doesn't just end up as yet more landfill.) Inbetweenwhiles, Mrs Handsome took it on herself to assist Granny in making Christmas pudding - an activity Granny settled on because more contemplative ones were clearly out of the question amidst the heaves and groans and "where's this going and where's that?' Most of this assistance consisted of putting away the various substances Granny had put out; Christmas pudding, even her light, fat free minimal sugar CP - it's delicious really - preferred in her family for years - does needs some things put into it, no matter how healthy. A fact Mrs H -a demon tidier at all times - clearly hadn't appreciated. She endeared herself more by her comments on the new and unwelcome arrangements for ironing which Beloved had made in Granny's absence, cutting her perfectly good ironing iron in half and hanging it awkwardly in what was before and now isn't an equally useful cupboard; an arrangement Granny has been cursing for days. (OK she doesn't do much ironing, but has clear ideas on what is needed when she does. Beloved who has never ironed anything in his life clearly has not.) 'Hmm,' said Mrs Handsome, 'Alright for ironing baby clothes. Are you expecting one?'

Granny overcame some of her irritation briefly; always a traditionalist, she made everyone gather to stir the pudding and wish before sealing the mixture in pudding basins and filling the kitchen with steam for four hours while she boiled them. She knows what SHE wanted to wish. Well actually she didn't - much too short-term - but it did cross her mind to.

Today was freer then. To write?? Hmm. The problem here is: Beloved's editor. Beloved is attempting to make an abstruse but actually quite interesting scientific subject accessible to lay reader - ie those into popular science. Writing popular science has not so far been one of his talents, let alone activities. 'Put some narrative in,' urges Ms Editor. 'Narrative' is the buzz word these days among those with even a distant acquaintance with now outdated postmodernist theory; the influence of which lingers in respects like this; especially among those like Beloved very own Ms editor. Linger round Beloved it doesn't. It never reached him in the first place.

'"Narrative"' means telling a story doesn't it?' he asks. Reader you may guess - some of you may guess, given Granny's admitted if lagging profession - what comes next. 'Could you put some kind of story into it?' Beloved asks her. Oh dear. Oh dear, Oh dear. He doesn't mean a scientific version of Harry Potter, fortunately. He wants links and ongoing themes and funnier (but not facetious) bits.) Well you can guess the kind of thing. The kind Richard Dawkins does well, at his best superbly. The kind that on the whole, the serious scientist, Beloved doesn't. So he puts his faith in Granny instead. Or hopes to. The only problem is, her name isn't Richard Dawkins either.

Another chicken note to end with. The chicken sexer who sold Granny and Beloved their bunch of aristocratic hens must have been having an off day. Dolly seems most likely to have been Dickie; Daphne as already said, is certainly Damian. No dog got Dolly/Dickie it is now suspected. Certainly no dog got the the original cockerel, David. Ex Daphne, Demon Damien - definitely the top male - appears to have done for both of them. He certainly looks demonic; forget his previously and still demure grey back. His neck is black, his comb and wattles red. His eyes are glaring. His tail shows signs of becoming stupendous. It means at least that when his hens are mature he should do his job well. Meantime, Daisy the speckled hen, Dora the brown one, scuttle about just the way he orders. In poultry terms, clearly, he's a wife-beater. Who says gender is immaterial? Not among chickens for sure. This male is never going to want to play with a poulterer's version of Barbie dolls or even action man. He IS action man. And soon, we hope, into - or onto - Daisy and Dora. Chicks for Easter...why not? But let's get over Christmas first.

Tomorrow - or at least Sunday - Granny will hope to be able to extract her narrative skills long enough to do her own thing, To walk virtually down the Goldhawk Road, perhaps? Who knows?

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