Lizard skin; and bombs
Lizards proliferate on Granny's island, on her land, her garden. Warmed by the sun they run so fast that neither Feline Lorengar nor the tiresome terrier can catch them, hard as they try. In winter when the lizards slow down, they have more success. Just the same there is a baby currently inhabiting the front courtyard that Granny fears for - there is nowhere for a lizard to escape between stairs, paving stones, whitewashed walls, and he/she/it is very little and not very canny. Granny tries to shoo it out, but vainly. Sometimes it sits absolutely still on the stairs, almost at eye-level so she can look at it closely. As you might suspect, she is of an age to suffer from what is called, unkindly, lizard or reptillian skin - she does suffer it, on her neck, especially - oh what grief that causes her - one of her few physical prides was her long, smooth neck, still long but no longer smooth, alas, alas - shortly she will resort to chokers, like Queen Mary, like her own grandmother, years ago. Looking at the lizards though, she has decided that this comparison is insulting: to lizards at least. Real lizard skin - unlike her version of it - is beautiful. She wouldn't the least mind having the smooth, not quite shiny, neatly fitted scales; that stretch and glimmer as the lizard flickers away, that will never age like her less obliging body covering. No matter how much she plasters her lizard skin with lotions called Age Perfect and so on, it does not not improve - you could call it shutting the stable door perhaps... But if so, there are an awful lot of other people of her age and younger attempting the same thing, no doubt seduced - like her - she should know better - by those TV promises: '10 years younger' - 'because you're worth it - mouthed by models all obviously the right side of 40. During her stay in London, Granny noticed that these not particularly expensive remedies to lizard skin -so called - are now shackled and weighted - or the equivalent - on the shelves of her local London Boots. Obviously she is not the only person fallen prey to the copy writers employed by Oreal, Roc et all; many of her fellows it seems, lacking the cash to buy what they offer, hope for such miracles for free.
Skin problems? Ageing? Oh for goodness sake. Fiddling while Rome burns, she thinks, turning from her blog to reports from the world elsewhere. Bombs raining from the sky in Lebanon; bombs going off at ground level in Iraq. Bodies mangled either way. Blair, madder than ever, it seems to her, is still busy with his form of fiddling, mostly related to his heart. 'In my heart I feel..' etc. Isn't he old enough to realise the heart is no good guide to anything except to its own pangs denoting the immanence of heart attack? Granny makes no apologies for pointing you at Baghdad Burning yet again: Riverbend's posts grow ever more heartrending. To which she will add the website of the most leftwing of Israeli paper Haaretz - it does sometimes talk sense, or more than most coming out in that part of the world. She looked for a Lebanese paper too, but most of them are in Arabic, surprise, surprise, and the only one she did find was largely full of articles by Robert Fisk whom you can just as well read in the Independent, if you are so inclined. It is a sad, awful time. And here she sits in the sun - the weather on her island's turned good now - as if on holiday.
The one sad thing here - though not comparatively so - is that there will be no chicks. Beloved - who as an animal man should know better - decided that he needed to separate the bantam hen, Anina, from her cockerel before the chicks hatched, in case Rocky trod on them or ate them or something equally unpleasant. He never thought to ask Anina first, didn't consider it necessary; she'd treated her mate evilly ever since she started sitting. But the little hen did not like what was done at all. Rocky was her mate, no matter what, if she didn't want him with her in the nesting-box, she still wanted him in her sight. Seeing the wall between them, she came down from the nest and found her way round it. The pair were discovered sweetly huddled up together in the much smaller space to which Rocky had been banished. She did not return to the eggs again. And that was that. No fluff on legs peep-peep-peeping around, not for a long time anyway. Let it be a warning never to make assumptions about animal affections or lack of them. Granny names no names here - let he who should listen, listen.