Some things never change. One corner of every big store at Christmas remains as it has been ever since Granny remembers. (Which must seem, for most, if not all of you wombats, a long time.) It is the part devoted to racks full of slippers; fluffy mules, tartan slip-ons, pink slippers edged with fake fur; so on, so forth. Do some people give and get slippers every Christmas? Still? It's sweet; even reassuring somehow, amid the contempory glitz and expensive, electronic everything else. But god help anyone who thinks that given her age and status they are just the present for Granny. (Though actually she does have a pair of small discreet, black, genuine sheepskin boots which, during the winter she wears around whichever home she's in, and doesn't she love them. But don't let anyone DARE call them slippers.)
Yes, there was a tornado in London yesterday. And furious rain storms. And hail the size of ping-pong ball. Granny, meantime, was trotting here, there and everywhere; buying raisin bread from the farmer's market, replacing her lost hearing-aid down at the hospital, meeting a friend at the National Gallery for lunch and that great god Velazquez' exhibition, Christmas shopping for books and DVD's. As she was about to go into the hospital/gallery/shop/underground, she would look up at the sky and see a furious cloud looming. 'It's going to rain,' she'd think, 'lucky I'm going inside.' By the time she came out, water would be lying everywhere, but the sun would have come out, the umbrellas were all put away. As for tornadoes... the only sign of that was the newspaper sellers' placards- 'tornado in Kensal Rise' etc, etc.. But hardly a drop of rain fell on her all day, let alone anything else. She was lucky.
She found her lost hearing-aid, by the way; she now has a spare. Good. But she has not found/won't find the other victims of this trip; her favourite scarf; one of her favourite pair of earrings; her lost wallet. Though she did get a polite email from the Lost Property Office - wonders will never cease - to say they hadn't found it. It's always like that for Granny going round London at this time of year - even more than at most times of year. Too many coats, jackets, scarves, bags etc floating around and off her person the moment she loses concentration. It's her version - she excuses herself - of the family dyslexia; manual clumsiness; a vagueness at the ends of herself. 'Brain damage' Beloved calls it. And -'Wouldn't I love to test you in my psychology lab.' Granny is glad he hasn't got a psychology lab any more. She's lived with these lacks - or add-ons - far too long to want him finding scientific names for them.
Beloved meantime is ringing her with lists of what he wants her to bring back. 'Sage,' he says. 'Turmeric.' So on and so forth. He remains unconvinced when Granny assures him that all these things are available on their island, if you know where to look. Oppressed by far too much else, she finds herself scowling into the telephone with some of the fury of Valezquez' Martha, pounding and pounding with a pestle and mortar while her sister Mary sits in the next room philosophizing with the men. Not that Beloved deserves any such thing. Sorry, Beloved: sorry.
Memo to self; on no account forget to take back to the island black sheepskin sli.....no, no, no, BOOTS.