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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Catch up

Sorry world - small world maybe but still all Granny's- at least for the moments this world spends reading her not-so-immortal prose. What with one thing and another she's been busy. At the moment, in particular, she is right back in her distant past, entertaining oldest of old friends, the only one she kept from her old school - the one Princess Diana attended later. (Old friend taught Diana art briefly - she went back to the school to teach for a while - and said she was a very ordinary, not very bright little girl, good only at swimming and looking after the school guinea-pigs....try and extrapolate the future from that. Granny can't.)

Granny, many years ago, stole old friend's grandfather's house and turned it into Aviary Hall, the background to her first children's novel - The Summer Birds - and the third too, and, though by this time at long distance, even for Charlotte Sometimes. Aged thirteen/fourteen /fifteen she remembers Sunday lunches in this house that were so interminable that she is surprised the lunches are not still going on, now, this minute. Old friend seems very forgiving of the thievery. Good. For the rest she and Granny delve into, play about with, memories, stories of till now long-forgotten people, long-forgotten events, filling in each other's gaps. It's VERY boring for Beloved - who puts up with it, just about. The importance of this particular friend, Granny realises more and more, is that she is the only person anywhere in Granny's life who knew her family, her long-dead mother, her long-dead twin - her old friend was also very close friends with her; for a time a much closer friend than Granny was with either, family life being what it is. Past lives, all gone, surface: bits of life stories, of the life lizard's life tails/ tales, long cut off, flicker back sometimes painfully, sometimes enjoyably into the present. Ah time. TIME. What a bugger it is, stealing so much away, hiding it: destroying it.

Before then Granny was writing and re-writing Going Mental - which has now, much shorter, more plotted, been dispatched back to editor for further comment. Granny's second husband, the doctor, also an academic and writer, couldn't make out Granny's method of working at all. 'Your books are all afterthoughts!' he complained. Which says it exactly. That's how writing - narrative - plot-fixing - is.

Meantime, island life goes on; lots of rain fell; lots of wind blew and dried it all up again. Locals have been pruning their vines and burning the clippings. Granny can tell the way the wind blows - that kind of wind - from the direction of the smoke. And oh, it's carnival time again. New lights have gone up where some of the Christmas lights were- cats with masks on this time. Yesterday, towards dusk, the carnival procession wended its way through the town. The main carnival float prize this year was won by a devil-worshipper's temple - creepy stuff - the third prize was a penguin. (Really.) The second prize float did not turn up. No Brazilian stuff up here, either- vast feathery head-dresses - camp choreography - semi-nudity - nor the local, ancient, diabolitos. But there was some very nice bees with stings on, complete with baby bee. A good time seemed to be being had by all, judging by the noise and the flourished beer cans; the music went on all night.

Luckily Granny, Beloved, old friend, live too far away to hear.

Cheers, world: sometimes she loves you. No, no, of course not, she always loves you. CHEERS.

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