faces on lamp-posts
Granny is back on her little island; with her usual regretful backwards look at her big one which was looking delectably beautiful when she left it yesterday. Too bad it not only sulked most of the time she was there, rained on her, blew on her, but chose to wake up just as she was leaving. The Sussex countryside through which she rode in the Gatwick Express along with large numbers of inattentive people humping large amounts of luggage, chucked a variety of greens at her in the most abandoned way, all of it bathed in sun. She could have eaten it. But it was all too late. No doubt it will remain idyllic until she goes back in July to attend such pleasures as eldest grand-daughter's school play -Twelfth Night (or a version of it, which Shakespeare himself might not recognise; never mind). And in which eldest granddaughter will be playing Viola. And then the rain will fall again. But Granddaughter as Viola will make up for that. Won't she?
The vines are green back here. But that's about it. Grass? What's that? No grass. What this land has sprouted is faces; faces on lamp-posts, multiple faces on hoardings, faces on walls, houses, fences, all of them grinning and looking as if butter would not melt in their mouths; as if they weren't running after the butter which sticks to their bread so readily in political life here. And all of them addressing us in the most familiar terms. 'Tu' they say - 'you' - not the formal version of the word you use to strangers - 'tu y yo' ('you and me') 'tu y yo' will move mountains, shift the world. Etc.
Oh and flags have sprouted too; flags everywhere. And an array of the flat figures, blue, black, orange, propped up at the sides of roads, which is the means by which the more alternative party - or what's left of it, after a fratricidal split - chooses to publish itself. Its split part advertises itself with little flags instead. Either way the lack of faces is a relief. As good a reason to vote for the alternative parties as any. We are talking local elections here; election day on Sunday. All very exciting. (Joke.)
Granny and Beloved are allowed to vote this year, as local householders. At least they are allowed to vote for their local council, this is why their mailbox is stuffed with circulars, quite as fulsome as their English equivalents, which Granny has to translate, owing to Beloved's lack of Spanish. She can translate them in any way she wants. She is in the perfect position to manipulate his vote. No husband here telling wife what box she has to tick. The reverse. This is POWER. At last.
The problem is, she hasn't a clue. She's not likely to vote for Canarian Nationalist parties, is she, let alone island nationalist ones. (There are two; hard to see the difference between them; except that the head of one is currently in prison for corruption; enough said.) This leaves the equivalent of the Tory Party - whose meeting she attended - and of the Labour Party, neither them exactly reliable so far from the centre of Spanish government. Beloved's idea was to design and sell a T-shirt saying 'Vote for an Honest Mayor' Spanish in front, English at rear, but he never got round to it, not least because, given the impossibility of telling which previously honest candidate will remain honest once elected, it would have been a waste of effort. This leaves the two alternative parties, both with the right ideas - they don't want the island covered in concrete any more than Granny does; but both factions are run by unreliable leaders, and when they are not too busy fighting among themselves to take notice of what's going on around them, tend to turn Russian and say 'nyet' to every proposal, without offering any alternatives, least of all constructive ones. Oh dear.
Granny could always believe the literature - promises to improve roads/schools/health care/accommodation etc etc, the usual stuff from absolutely everyone - but given what hasn't happened since the last election when the same promises were made, she doesn't think that is a particularly helpful option. So what way will she use her two votes (ie hers and Beloved's)? HEAVEN KNOWS.
Maybe she'll just go for the fancy local hat and designer stubble of the alternative man who was delivering literature today and turns out to be the candidate for mayor. A liking for a fancy hat and a dislike of not so fancy faces grinning at her from every lamp-post and addressing her in such familiar terms- tu y yo? no thanks- are probably good reasons as any for casting a vote one way rather than another. She'll recommend it to Beloved.
Well that sorts that out then. Doesn't it?
PS. It's beautiful here. Not really so bad to be back.