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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Eastern approaches

Grey sky today and Granny had one of her more sleepless nights. What it is getting old(er). Beloved is in an orgy of cooking next door (almost) to her office. Chop chop, clatter clatter, chink chink. Maybe it's just chicken food. Probably not.

The water situation approves a little but not much. A small amount of water comes in by night but that's it. Granny who needs to do a lot of washing ahead of Beloved's scientific workshop is thoroughly frustrated. As she is also frustrated by the fact that few of the happy hens on the island, including theirs, are laying eggs - it's the local chicken equivalent of northern Europe in winter. Friendly cleaner Nieves advocates some special feed, but that will take time to work and meantime Granny needs to be making cakes etc for the freezer but can't. And no she will NOT use commercial eggs, not nice, animal-friendly her. The commercial hens on this island are kept in conditions too disgusting to believe. She knows her boycott will not have the SMALLEST effect. But she continues it, just the same.

Meantime the big local festival/pilgrimage - biggest on the island - biggest in the Canaries - is gearing itself up: Dolores. (If you want to know about that go here.) Part of it is a big craft fair which opened last night. Granny and Beloved took themselves up there - partly because this sees the start of their hunting for Christmas presents and some of the best stuff goes early; and partly this year out of simply curiosity; for some mysterious reason an Indonesian element has been incorporated, meaning a tent full of baffled-looking Indonesians selling batik stuff, sarongs, shadow puppets, etc. None of the Indonesians spoke a word of Spanish, which might have caused problems with the local buyers: most of them spoke a little English, so it was fine for Granny and Beloved. And all of them knew the word 'euro' in any language. There were also four Indonesian dancers, all female, one exquisite, with speaking prehensile hands, with speaking prehensile feet, dancing to canned gamelan music, three more galumphing, dancing to jazzed up gamelan music; exquisite not quite the word here. In this case it was the locals appeared baffled. The applause was polite, merely.

Granny and Beloved met one of their neighbours, Aurora, who keeps large amounts of goats, chickens etc in a not very large space behind her house, contravening, Granny is sure all the rules that say animals cannot be less than 50 or a 100 metres from human habitation. But noone seems to mind: no 'denuncia' has ever been sent to the police. Aurora has a fearsome and effective fly trap which probably helps. Beloved asked Granny to inquire if she knew where they could find a billy goat to impregnate Beloved's females when the time comes. 'You can have my husband, he's a billy-goat,' she said. (Beloved who understood this as her husband having billy-goats had to have the joke explained to him. Which made it marginally less funny.) As it turned out Aurora also owns two non-metaphorical billies, and will be happy to bring one over; so that's one problem solved, even as it creates others; both nannies being liable to have two kids next time round, there's going to be something of a cabrine surplus. 'We'll castrate the males, then eat them,' says Beloved. Oh thanks. Granny is not a great meat-eater at the best of times; but goat - even a kid, even a castrated one, is meat too far: YUK. YUK too to the notion of Beloved wielding his knife - or his elastic band - round the babies' tenderest parts. What it is for a sensitive woman like her to find she's taken up, inadvertently, with a farmer..... Why wasn't she warned?

God knows why Aurora's place doesn't stink, though: have you ever smelt a billy goat? They are really the most gross devilish of animals. But somehow it doesn't.

When she is not tending stock, devilish or otherwise, Aurora crochets fancy bags and scarves, mostly in pink. As you can see she's a versatile woman. Unfortunately she's suffering bad arthritis at the moment - 'mucha pena' she complained. Granny was sorry about that. Aurora is another riproaring - not to say much put-upon - grandmother - (her husband is not only a macho cabrio but also a real cabron ..you'll have to look that up). She doesn't like seeing her tamed by bodily ills, unable to perform the neat salsa she demonstrates or did demonstrate - at the slightest whiff of a party. Shame.

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