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Sunday, May 14, 2006

child, bear, camera

Granny is in London for the time being; spared Beloved's trials back on the island (cat-disconnected television, no picture, airlock in water tank resulting from road works, no water; small trials in the scheme of things but tiresome at the time. Beloved sounded fed up, at least. Though Granny's absence may have had something to do with that.)

She herself spent yesterday being a real grandmother; muttering to herself distractedly; 'child, bear, camera' 'child, bear, camera.' This was her day to take middle granddaughter to the theatre. It was just her luck that it also happened to be middle granddaughter's weekend to mind her class bear and to write up his diary. Much as Granny applauds such a creative approach to education, she kind of wishes it had not been her fate to make sure not only middle granddaughter got home in one piece - she was and is a child liable to disappear over the horizon on some project of her own the moment her parent/grandparent turns their back - but also to make sure that the almost as irreplacable bear and the more replaceable but expensive digital camera on which she had to record the bear's exploits did too. Child, bear, camera, Yes.

Bear got photographed on train, outside Tate Modern, inside Tate Modern, drinking granny's coffee in the Tate cafe, viewing St Paul's, crossing the Millennium Bridge, and finally, outside the children's theatre, the aim of the expedition; where Granny, grandchild and bear then viewed an extremely jolly piece about death and ageing..... (Grandchild said when asked by her parents 'it was about a baby that kept getting lost and a granny who died.' No comments were recorded from the bear.) Actually the piece was brilliant. Since the advent of physical theatre, and animators like Pixel in California and the Wallace and Gromit people, taking a child to the theatre or cinema is no longer the feat of endurance it used to be, when Granny's own children were little, let alone when she was. She is now delighted to have the excuse to go, even it means dragging one or or other child along with her. (And, by the way, the pleasure includes some mainstream stuff. Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, now done without the spoonfuls of sugar delighted her too.) In such matters the world has grown up, it seems to her. At least when it comes to children. It's teenage, not to say adulthood has opted for the infantile, all cheap thrills and cheap sex. Forgetful grannies? Dying grannies? Grave yards? Kids don't turn a hair, and an audience full of grandparents entertaining grandchildren, appreciated it better than most. Yikes. Not just 'YIKES!! - it's the name of the piece, which she can't recommend to you, alas - those of you of any age- within reach, because today is the last day. But she would.

It was altogether a better outing than those of the two days before; the first spent treading the pink linoleum - or pink carpets - of the Royal Marsden Hospital. No, granny is not ill again. She is merely having the results of last year's operation tidied up, in a minor way; she has opted to remain one-sided - the alternative, reconstruction, was not only iffy in her case, but also meant being wedded to the hospital for some time to come. SHE CAN'T BE BLOODY BOTHERED - even if it means being wedded instead to that charming thing called 'mastectomy fashion' (ie discreet necklines and artfully shaped pieces of rubber) for the rest of her life. But WHAT THE HELL There's some advantage to ageing after all. (Another was finding, last week, that most Spanish museums are free to 'pensionistas', saving 7 euros or so a pop. Whoopee.) One or two days of the pink linoleum; not to mention the company of the mostly monochrome people waiting, either looking depressed or desperately cheerful (the patients) or the blue-striped or white-coated ones looking desperately busy (the medical staff) is more than enough.

The second day she spent having needles jabbed into her (acupuncture.) And then, as if that hadn't demonstrated her reality enough, proving she existed to estate agents, mortgage lenders, lawyers. So on and so forth. It's one of the features of modern life - terrorism may not blow many of us up but it does add to the delights of the bureaucrats and those like our dear Mr Blair currently bad-mouthing human rights legislation....So get out the passports, the driving licences, the electricity bills, the demands for council tax. Yes. Granny may be one breasted. (That ought to do for 'distinguishing marks' surely.) SHE'S ALSO EXISTS ON PAPER. Doesn't she?

Another feature of modern life: she noted. As she sat in the estate agent's having her documents scrutinised, a stream of young women accompanied by older ones came in and went out. Seems that the only way to afford a flat in London these days as a first time buyer- assuming you're not a young man in the city pointlessly shoving money around - is to have a rich mummy. Or daddy. She didn't have either - but HER first house, bought in the dark ages with husband no 1 cost -wait for it - £3000....Leading her usefully in her more cash-strapped years to the life of a dragon landlady. As well as to current adventures in property. What would she do now, she wonders? Migrate probably. Just like now.

The sale of her flat- she now has a reliable buyer - the acquisition of the council one -goes ahead. Much work will follow. As far as her island is concerned Granny has gone outside for a while. Child; bear; camera. She may be gone for some time.

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