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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Silly Me

Granny had an idea - a nice idea - of getting herself slowly, luxuriously, back into life on the island. But no, it has not worked out like that. Silly me, she thinks; she had better explain that life with Beloved is never - can never be - quite like that; that life with Beloved is a bit like being in a state of permanently moving house.

Furniture starts in one place, turns up in another. Bookcases - let alone books - migrate from room to room. Shelves spring up in places where no shelves sprung before - and vice versa, vice versa. New bits of wood - useful and otherwise - appear as if by magic (or the local furniture store.) Most exasperating is a miscellaneous collection of truly awful bedlinen which appears to have stuck to Beloved between one life, one house - he has had many houses - and the present. As usual in such circumstances, this linen has been dumped in the sitting-room, taking up not just one but two sofas. 'What are we going to do with it?' enquires Beloved. 'WE?' thinks Granny. A good bonfire is - as usual - her first thought. Followed by guilt at the conspicious wastage of perfectly good sheets - if you like nylon ones - etc etc - in a world where many people are wholly lacking things like that. In England she would salve her ecological conscience by dumping them in an Oxfam box. There is no such thing as an Oxfam box on the Canaries. Beloved has therefore stashed them away again till next time. Tomorrow most likely.

The current state of housemoving is, possibly, a bit more extreme than most. The studio room previously occupied by the late lamented -in the lives of Granny and Beloved that is - Lady with the Big and Little Dogs - is about to be taken over by a thin German woman who runs a Wellbeing Centre in a German hotel, and who offer a little of what she calls 'cosmetic massage' herself. She is to be accommodated free in order than she can help out with things like bed linen when G and P have a houseful and also mind the Tiresome Terrier, Beautiful Wimp and Feline Houdini while they go off gallivanting the way retired people are supposed to be able to do - when they don't lumber themselves with chickens, gardens, animals, etc etc. This is all Beloved's idea and a good one Granny thinks; it means more time around her grandchildren for one. The only problem is that the Thin German Cosmetic Masseur wants her entire room emptied of its furniture, mostly acquired especially. Granny will not repeat the litany of shifting wood above. But try as she might to keep out of the resulting whirlwind, she cannot entirely. Her hammock, what's that? As for soulful roaming round her land to re-acquaint herself with every part, or time spent re-learning the character of each of her chickens; forget it.Thoughts of a much-worked-on nostalgia piece about the Goldhawk Road, of a sensitive-think-post on what it REALLY feels like to lose a part of your long lived-in body have had to be put aside for this hammer and nails-type rant. She's SO sorry about that.

Matters are made more complicated by complaints from Mr Handsome from Blackburn. 'I've much more knowledge of the world than you two,' he tells Granny. 'You should have let me vet the woman. I don't want to see you taken for a ride the way you were with HER.' (By 'HER' Mr Handsome means the Lady with the Big and Little Dog.) Granny forbears to disagree with his assessment of their relative quota of wordly wisdom. She certainly does NOT point out that the problems with the Lady mostly resulted from Mr Handsome's falling out with her, for reasons unspecified, though suspected to be partly due to his offence at her unwillingness to flirt with him- and more. (Since the new tenant is only a few years younger than Granny, she does not think that problem will arise this time.) She simply points out the presence at the farm of the Thin German Cosmetic Masseur will scarcely ever coincide with Mr H's presence there; for him at least she should not be a problem. Mr Handsome looks dubious. Shaking his head he goes back to finishing off the barbecue he has been making, which G and P have come back in time - just about - to stop its chimney being so tall it would be visible for miles out at sea. (Come to think of it they could always have put a light on top and made it double up as lighthouse ....)

Next week the TGCM will move in. It will be Beloved's task to break her in - gently - to the animals. Granny wonders how she will manage - or not - the Tiresome Terrier. She will also need to have some therapy to get over her alarm at the prospect of mice caught by Feline Houdini. Cockroaches - cucharachas - she can live with, she says; mice, no. Granny regards this as weird; mice to her may be a nuisance, hence the importation of Feline Houdini, but at base - especially the ones here - they are altogether harmless and rather charming little rodents. Cockroaches on the other hand, nasty scuttling things, freak her out entirely. Luckily, unlike mice, they do not see too many up in these parts. If they did, she'd be back in London tomorrow. She hopes that the mice will not have the same effect on the TGCM; not least given the prospect thereafter of Mr Handsome looking smug and saying 'I told you so...' Fortunately the weather on the island is a good deal better than that of the new lady's home town, Dusseldorf. She can live in hope.

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