Dead meat: live meat
Well: the water came back. Turned OUT - as it turned ON - that during the work on the new houses just up the road they had turned the supply off and in turning it on again created an airlock and added a lot of shit too which clogged up Granny and Beloved's pump. All was sorted out, the aljibe filled up and the guests are not having to slum it after all - just as well since they are - would be - paying for the experience. Better still, the animals can be again watered too. Lugging buckets from the next-door house, across the patios and across the land, to the goats/chickens would have been tiresome. Granny could perhaps have presented this to the guests as the ultimate rural experience and had them paying for that too. Or perhaps not.
Guests. unlike animals, do not drink the aljibe water, it sports the odd dead lizard and God knows what else besides. They drink bottled water instead. They also drink a lot of booze - good - it's profitable for their hosts. They like sitting up late, talking, too, which is less good, nice as guests are in all other respects. A lot of their talk is about the walks they've been doing. 'Why doesn't all that walking wear them out?' asks Beloved, as he falls - wearily - into bed. Obviously it doesn't. It just wears out their weary hosts.
Granny is sitting writing this without her stove. Her office, nice as it is, is the coldest room in the house by far, and behind her on the sofa lies a dead animal in a bag. Dead animal is two month old lamb. After several years here, she has managed to source genuine, local, organic meat. Mr Handsome from Blackburn- who among other things it turns out spent years as a butcher -there is nothing Granny can see he hasn't worked at in his life - is coming to cut it up, so that all but the meat for tonight can be put into the freezer. He is bringing his small grandchildren with him to see the live baby; the kid. Granny wonders if he will show them the other, dead, one as an example of all flesh is grass etc....Probably not. People are squeamish about such things these days, unlike the Victorians who when evangelically inclined did not let their children forget such things; with gruesome examples
The lamb was killed on Wednesday. Granny picked it up on Thursday via a long and hairy drive up a couple of hillsides covered in the wild chrysanthemums unique to the north of this island and, she thinks, no other. Her aged Mercedes protested mightily, but made it.The smallholding where the beasts are reared - she could see the meat's siblings gamboling about - oh dear - was a long way from anywhere, out of sight of all other houses, a proper Canarian house, its rooms and outhouses clustered around a large enclosed courtyard out of the wind; very necessary at such a height. The real Canarian experience, thought Granny as a beautiful young man wended his way down the slope towards her, herding a flock of goats. She addressed him in her best Spanish, asking for Jose, the farmer. 'What language do you like,' he answered - in English - 'French? German? Spanish? English? I'll see if Jose is the house therein. My name is Fritz.' So much for authenticity. Though a German working on an organic farm in this particular area is pretty much the authentic - modern - Canarian experience too.
Granny is cooking a lamb tagine tonight with local green peas and tomatoes. She herself will be taking each mouthful thoughtfully. It's only recently she has taken to eating meat again after years of being somewhat vegetarian; not so much because she objects to killing animals, but because she objected - objects - to factory farming. Factory farmed this meat wasn't. Just the same, the so very recent deadness of the animal lying on the sofa behind her, does sit in her mind a little. . All flesh is grass indeed. (Or actually, organic wheat from Barcelona and home-grown alfafa. The farmer was kind enough to show Granny what this dish ate, in between its careless - unrealising-of -its-fate gambols.)
The picture up top by the way - she will spare you the dead one - is of the live meat; Rachel Vinegar no less, recumbant. And below, to raise the tone a little and make botanists rather than carnivore salivate, she presents you with some of the, she thinks, unique Canarian chrysanthemums. Enjoy your meal.