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Friday, April 27, 2007

Huff puff - or don't blow the (chicken) house down

More puffs; not for Granny this time. First try the wonderful Blaugustine unique and extraordinary God Interviews. Go here.

You'll also see a new widget on her sidebar - oh what lovely technical words Granny knows these days. If you don't want to go in search of Adam yourself, you could always try Caroline Smailes' In Search of Adam - the book - when it turns up in your local Waterstones.

Already lurking there will be Lucy Diamond's Any Way You Want Me. You could look up that too. Or try Lucy's website


Back to the island. Where the wind blows wildly, where Mr Handsome from Blackburn has at last got over his grump that Chelsea beat Blackburn in the FA Cup semi-final - it lasted over a week, a long time even for him - and where the little goat gambols. Beloved tethers its mother outside each morning and Rachel Vinegar is allowed to run free. She jumps and skitters and runs and jumps again. Sad to think that in a few months time she'll have to be shut up, like her elders. Just like kids of the human kind, locked into schools before they know it, and given the impression - some of them - that they aren't any good at anything. Granny believes it's called education. Disabuse her if you will. (And that's nothing compared to the subsequent locking up into what her old dad called sweetly 'daily breading.' Oh dear; oh dear.) It's daily milking in the case of goats. Oh dear again. The more so given that Rachel Vinegar has most likely inherited her mother's very small teats: Beloved will have difficulty milking her too. 'They used to use the women for milking goats like that. They've got smaller hands,' he says looking at Granny. She won't repeat her response. So it goes. SO IT GOES - to quote the late, wonderful, much lamented Kurt Vonnegut. Not only that, it went.

The game bantam, Amina, still sits on her eggs - getting on five weeks now, chicks there can't be. Such attention to duty is touching. Were the eggs too many? Did they get cold? Were they not fertilised? Who knows. What a good, sad mother. Granny thinks she should be released. Beloved says she will release herself in her own good time. Meantime one of her daughters, one of the very chicks Granny and her Beloved saw emerge from her last lot of eggs, her own, is broody, so is now sitting herself, on three hens' eggs this time. Three weeks will prove the case. Or not as it may be. Two of her sisters have been given to Juan , their neighbour, the red-faced man who turns up on his doorstep every morning, eleven a.m latest, knocking back a glass of the disgusting wine he makes himself; hence the red face probably; and the surprisingly red belly he reveals when the sun comes out and he opens up his shirt. What with that, his black hair, his moustache, he reminds Granny of a seedy character from a Central European drama set among soldiers. Wozzeck perhaps.

Juan is somewhat bemused by British neighbours who don't sit around the pool (what pool?) but grow goats chickens and vegetables just like real locals. Shame Beloved's lack of Spanish doesn't enable conversation. Mr Handsome makes up for it. 'Vale,' he says in his Blackburn accent, 'vale.' 'Vale' says Juan, and retreats, back to his wine probably. And to his white Tenerife bantams, of which he is immensely proud. He is not surrendering any of them. But with luck he will pass a crossbreed or two Granny's way, once his cockerel gets to work on Amina's babies.

Oh and the prickly pears are producing their flowers, meaning in due course their fruit. Shame they don't taste of anything. And that if you try to harvest them they so fill your fingers with prickles, it's better not to trying at all. They even defeated that sterling cook, Jane Grigson. A woman of much sterner stuff than Granny.

Here's Beloved's garden for you, maize coming up nicely; with a corner of the chicken house made out of what must be the only English garden shed on the island, bought from an expat acquaintance who brought it over for his use and then decided he didn't want it.

And here are some prickly pears. Fine, waxy flowers, almost indecent. As for the new leaves...

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