Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Mondays

Monday, May 19, 2008


Beloved doesn't believe in days of the week; 'I do the animals every day, he says, 'I write every day, what difference does it make if it's Sunday?' Well there is a difference down on this farm, whatever he says. Because Granny does believe in separating the days and hers are NOT all the same; even the weekdays are not all the same.

Tuesday, for instance, is the day she goes shopping - or usually goes shopping - because that is the day the Organic Shop - the Tienda Verde - gets its organic produce in from Gran Canaria - on an island, you see, everything not grown here has to come in by boat. While Saturday is the day she goes to the market at the north of the island which has an organic vegetable stall selling produce entirely grown on the island - less and less as the summer wears on - more and more of it through the winter and spring. It is staffed by a man from the mainland and a woman from Yorkshire, daughter of a Quaker farmer imprisoned during the war for conscientious objection and one of the first to keep growing organic crops when all the chemicals came in and Britain's farmers were commanded to go for quantity rather than quality. Quaker daughter has spent most of her adult in Switzerland with a German husband and arrived in Lanzarote two years ago for reasons Granny can never quite make out - except that on a holiday visit she saw a house on a hillside and said 'that's mine.' (Perhaps most expats arrive here on such whims. Granny did in a way, if you can describe Beloved as a whim; well, perhaps not.) Quaker daughter is a very nice, if very serious lady - like all Quakers Granny has ever met. Granny likes Quaker ideas: she even went to a Quaker meeting once herself, but sat through the silence and the not very intellectual discussion that followed - something about rabbits - really - feeling like a parrot - too bright and much too noisy - in a flock of a quiet brown birds. Quaker daughter fits that mould entirely; even if feeling like a parrot - again -Granny likes her, just the same.

There is another organic stall staffed by a man from - Salamanca? - possibly - but certainly not from the island - the very same man from whom Granny and Beloved buy their organic lamb: in the market he sells organic yoghourt, cheese from his goats, and, sometimes vegetables from his garden. It is striking that none of the organic growers seem to originate from the island itself; something to do probably with the hard - and hard growing - life the Lanzarote farmer have always had; hobby farming theirs is not - it's just the means they use to live, and if sprays make their lives easier, that's alright by them. Granny can sympathise a bit and she does buy their produce too at the Sunday market, the entirely local one just up the road, where the few handicrafts sold are also all local ones. The northern market, by comparison is largely run by German and mainland hippy types who moved to the island years ago and make their living in handcrafts of one kind or another - as weavers or painters or silver-smiths or woodcarvers - or organic farmers. Naturally the voices of the didgeridoo and the call of the man who does instant silhouettes up north are not heard at the other, Sunday, market- merely Canarian folk music, canned. While the cakes and biscuits sold there are all local - over sweet - Canarian ones. At the northern market alongside such cakes and biscuits - and a local man who does sell delicious raisin and walnut bread - stands a plump and jolly tri-lingual German woman switching between German Spanish and English to peddle her hefty but delicious German rye bread along with lethally rich loaves drowned in cheese, croissants, pains chocolats and the best cinnamon whirls Granny has ever eaten - known as caracolas - snails - here.

Ah the caracolas. This is one way in which Granny marks Sundays. On Sundays she persuades her Beloved to eat breakfast later than usual. She makes scrambled eggs for them both, and eats her wicked caracola, very slowly, afterwards, along with her coffee. Then she and Beloved go to the local market (Aurelio's wife smiled at her today - no hard feelings, evidently - and Aurelio himself presented her with a bag of tomatoes and an aubergine for free) and afterwards to the newsagent to buy the Saturday Guardian with its wonderful book section. Not feeling obliged at any point to wrestle with her own prose she then retires to the sofa or her hammock with the paper more often not. THIS IS HER DAY OFF.

The problem with days off though is that they followed by DAYS ON. Starting with Monday. Oh dear - if you take Sunday off, Monday has to be faced in all its awfulness; back to the daily struggle - or failure to struggle, almost worse. Still it gives the week and time a shape of sorts. The way time goes, the way each day passes, the way Granny climbs into bed each night and thinks 'yet another day gone' - or 'yet another day older' (if not deeper in debt) she's glad to feel some pattern in its relentlessness - its awful relentlessness.

Granny wishes she could be like the kid that jumps and bounces joyfully in the new paddock at the back of the land - she can see it from her window - having no notion of time whatever, let alone any idea that its time might be up in less than two months now. Poor little thing. Actually she wouldn't want to be that kid, come to think of it. Better to be Granny climbing into bed each night thinking 'I've lived a long time.' And trying not to wonder how much longer she's got - and in what condition. That's a thought to be avoided on the whole. (But not a wholly unavoidable one, nonetheless, particularly given that her Beloved - who is a wise virgin, in this sense - unlike Granny - spends a lot of his time and energy planning for their incapacity, on the one hand, their demise on the other. Beloved likes plans. Granny who doesn't has got herself as far as two wills- one English, one Spanish - and a living will besides - but that's the size of it. Oh dear.)

(Plea to Haloscan - please show comments.... there are some... so what are you about?)

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