Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Love?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Valentine's Day - Beloved thinks it's all an excuse to make money - Granny points out to him entries in Pepy's Diary which makes clear that the whole thing predated by a long time the florists/supermarkets/card manufacturers who profit from it these days. Then, though - so it appears - your Valentine was whoever you saw first that day - not necessarily your spouse. If you wanted your true love you had to manoevre so as to make sure it was him/her you encountered. Granny is glad there is no longer any such a system; the first person she sees in the mornings apart from Beloved is Mr Handsome; Mr Handsome has his merits; but as her Valentine? - definitely not; (though she suspects his view of her would be the same; he likes his women blond, thin, decollete and young...is Granny any of these things? Guess!) She would of course choose Beloved, but he doesn't believe in it, even though slightly reassured by evidence from Samuel Pepys that the whole thing was not invented by salesmen. Samuel's wife, by the way chose her suitors; or he did. At the same time - wisely - she insisted on being his Valentine. He grumbles that he's had to spend £5 on a ring for her; but that since he would probably have to buy if for her anyway, that was OK; the mean old - well actually not so old - 30 odd - fart. Still it demonstrates that salesmen clearly benefited then too. But for some reason Beloved is less down on seventeen century entrepreneurs; the snob.

Up to a point Granny herself is cynical, but less so. She does - just a little, very secretly - lament that every last one of her suitors/lovers/husbands have taken the same line as Beloved- The only Valentine's card she has ever received - apart, possibly, from the odd ill-spelled one from her children generated by their class-teacher - was aged 15 or so, at boarding-school, as a joke, in the days when she was overweight and spectacled, unlike some of her contemporaries, who, judging by the number of cards they got - and the graphically described kisses from some of them at teenage parties - tongues! - collected suitors like stamps. Which is all she's going to say on that story - she told it in slightly more detail last year at the same time. (Click this link if you're interested. Or not.)

The winds of last week turned and diminished; the turn brought large amounts of rain to most of the island, much less to Granny's part, to her anoyance. The rain clouds sat tantalisingly on the hills to the east the way blue sky does in summer, without coming closer. She drove through the rain to the market on Saturday morning, only to find there was no market - what she got instead was an unintended scenic drive. She didn't mind that. The sun and the rainclouds came and went - at one point there was a rainbow. The green of crops across the land, of the grass cover in unlikely places, was livid livid livid. Even though the red of the earth was livid too, the quality of the green, of the light, of the darkness of sodden stone reminded her of the west coast of Scotland, or of Ireland - all fellow Atlantic islands - hence the likeness no doubt. She arrived home at the same time that the only really good shower hit her land. Afterwards, she walked round it; everything was hung with water drops - the flowers were all opened out as if breathing it in delightedly - the smell was an English smell of a hayfield after rain. Granny cannot describe how miraculous - magical - ecstatic - it seemed to her. Every time she walks on her land these days new flowers have appeared. Even if it is nowhere as lush as last year, it is still quite wonderful. Strange at her age to fall in love with a scrubby patch of around 2 acres inhabited most of the year only by lizards, grasshoppers and the cochineal beetles that live on the prickly pears. (Should she exploit them commercially? Probably not.) She begins to see though where tribal people came from. Why their bit of land, no matter how desertlike mattered to them.

The wind blows from north east again; blows no more rain. It does blow the plumes of smoke from the fires made of vine clippings - this is the time of year when the locals go out pruning their vines. But it is not strong enough to distribute the plastic bags which are a feature of strong winds, flying everywhere - garbage is a problem here; more of it than on any other Canarian island, its disposal and processing caught up in the prevailing mixture of bureaucracy and corruption. More of that next time perhaps. Meantime Beloved is muttering about lunch - which for once will have been made by Granny - a tortilla cooked last night.

As she pottered around doing her jobs earlier she noted Beloved and Mr Handsome in close conference around the chicken runs and still empty donkey shed. Judging by the arm movements they were clearly plotting/planning something. Whatever next? Granny will be cross-questioning her Beloved over lunch very closely. And so to eat.

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