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Friday, June 02, 2006

thankyou...darling...I don't think.

Apologies for the long silence. Beloved has been and gone; Granny celebrated his visit by getting sick. She spent last weekend in bed, groaning. Instead of Beloved realising that London is alright really - she'd planned trips to Tate Modern's Bank Holiday jolly etc etc, -he spent his time tending her. It wasn't anything serious; she is now recovered, while he resorted to cooking as usual - if, this time, mainly for himself. All very tiresome, because her property transactions though going along are doing it in wearisome ways - everyone is getting impatient, except for Granny's mortgage broker, who keeps on hopping off to Spain. She looks to be trapped here, Belovedless, for another month at least. At least it's warming up. A bit.

That's the update then. Let's get on to what females have to put up with, progressively, through their lives. As a child it's 'oh isn't she pretty...' 'look at those eyes/curls' etc etc. Granny didn't have to put up with that one at least; round-faced, straight/dark-haired, spectacled from the age of eight, she was not a pretty child. What she got rather was the kind of face people put on when they don't know what to say. (People in her youth didn't regard girls' brains as anything to boast about; if anything they were an embarrassment; 'who's going to marry a blue-stocking?' etc. Blue eyes were a different matter. As for blond curls... remember Toddilox anyone?) Later come the wolf-whistles and worse. Granny didn't get much of that either till she was older than most, not till she replaced the spectacles with contact lenses, and lost the surplus weight. Wolf-whistles of course are a nuisance too - and equally diminishing in their way; she knows that. However like anyone who went through adolescence unappreciated (and with, in her case, a much more, indeed very appreciated, very pretty twin sister to make things worse) she could never quite avoid a frisson of pleasure that wolf-whistles were at last being directed at her, protestations of disdain or no protestations of disdain. Though she did try to drive the frissons away; (a bit.)

Granny wouldn't disdain wolf-whistles now either, now that there aren't any. She has entered that new phase of male reaction to females they encounter. Possibly it's the most patronising of all. She's not talking about being offered seats on buses and trains. She can even - wrily - be grateful for that. This is the verbal assault - yes, well, you've been there, done that, it's all over for you; LET'S POINT IT OUT. All done with the nicest of intentions; of course, just part of the expected (by them) banter with females - in particular female customers; men have to be nice to customers, don't they? - or seem to be nice to them. Even if it does mean rubbing their noses in what they are all too aware of without such help. Which is, even if they don't realise it, the point. Doesn't it happen to men? asks Beloved. Granny thinks not. But perhaps only men can answer that.

Here's an example. On her island, over the Easter holidays, Granny had a day out with Beloved Son and Daughter-in-law and her two younger grandchildren. When they settled down to have lunch, the waiter advanced on Granny. He addressed her in Spanish; (she will translate for you, being nice.) 'Let us start with the young lady,' he said, more or less. Granny hoped she didn't bridle; she may have done, she was startled - having looked young for her age till quite recently she's not yet used to this openly older woman role. So startled that she may even -just a little - have played up to him. What else can you do when someone in the nicest way is telling you, that you're the old bat of the present company? EVEN IF IT'S TRUE. (On the other hand he might have thought she held the purse strings. She didn't as it happened, not this time round.)

Yesterday, in the farmer's market in Hammersmith, she got the English version. She was buying asparagus, from a male, not young, stallholder. 'It's lovely,' he said 'as young and fresh as you.' This might have been foolish - Granny could have turned round and said, 'if it's as young and fresh as me I don't want it.' She didn't, though. She bought a bunch. The asparagus did look - unlike her - very young and fresh. When she ate it last night it was delicious. Just the same she could have done without the sales talk - that first comment was followed by a string of others. 'Forget the flattery,' she said at last. At which the man said, making sure she hadn't missed the point. 'Would you want to be young again? I wouldn't.'

Granny prefers the invisibility on the whole - that other complaint of ageing women. Much more of this one, she'll clock some fellow - and get herself into the press as 'aggressive granny.' (She could always put on her black hat, her black dress, pad herself, wave an umbrella, go with it, yelling 'Come back, Giles. To those who remember Giles. COME BACK, GILES. )

None of this matters of course. Just to remind you what does, here is a link to Baghdad Burning. That blog of blogs. The brave writer hadn't posted for nearly a month. Granny worried about her a bit, in the city of sudden death. But on Wednesday here she was writing again. That puts everything in perspective. Read her.

As does Amnesty's campaign against internet censorship in various parts of the world. Granny apologises not one whit for political correctness by putting that odd connection on her site underneath her blogroll. Check it out.

As does- maybe; above all, maybe- the Welsh farmer who got stamped on yesterday by a 47 STONE pig. Granny's stallholder, round, roundfaced, pink faced, straw-haired, gap-toothed looked a bit like a pig himself. But when it comes to being stamped on, even she would prefer him.

And so as Pepy's would say 'To bed.' (Actually to Argos, to buy one. Or at least to contemplate buying one.) Tra la. Tra la.


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