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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vine leaves

The politics of a place in which everyone, no matter their party, is related to everyone else means nothing ever gets done here - unless it makes someone a lot of crooked money. The island auditorium has had a site allocated - even a sign put up - for nearly ten years now. The sign has collapsed already; no sign of any building still. The plans for improving the island capital have been shelved, yet again. Despite much talk, the illegal hotels show no sign of being legalised - where the illegalities are small - or demolished - where the illegalities put crooked man, on crooked road, in crooked town to shame. At a guess tourists will still be staying in these illegal, theoretically even demolished edifices in ten years time. This is a small island, darling. Disinterest? civic virtue? what's that?

Oh and in a month's time it's August. The whole island shuts down then, apart from tourism. Wouldn't you know. The tents and caravans are already heading for Granny - and her dog's - nearest bit of coast. Noone, anywhere, lives more than twenty minutes from the sea, but that doesn't stop people liking to get up close and personal, spending all the many fiestas/holidays from Easter to October. parked right on top of it, on various grottier - ie non-tourist beaches, (Granny wouldn't mind if only her dog, the Beautiful Wimp, wasn't so fond of rooting about in the garbage left hanging around - he's a greedy animal with disgusting tastes: this does rather disrupt their walks along her non-tourist, grottier beach of choice. One of life's smaller problems maybe; but you've heard the one about the hair - or rather straw - and the camel.... how many hairs - or rather straws - does it take?)

Some things work though in all seasons - neighbourliness for one - provided the weather is cooperative - provided it doesn't, for instance, send a calima and temperatures of over 40 degrees when the grapes are near to being harvested as it did last year. At the moment all is well. Granny and Beloved's neighbours are pruning the vines so that the grapes get their ration of cooperative - not over-heated - sun. Pruning the grapes means guess what, vine leaves: dolmades, thinks Granny - she likes dolmades. Certainly not, says Beloved. The leaves don't grow big enough here. Granny experienced this for herself - she did try to wrap the leaves round their rice filling: in vain. The goats on the other hand are quite happy to eat vine leaves raw and without stuffing; so that's alright. Not that she and Beloved grow grapes, make wine, you understand, but all their neighbours do. Juan down the drive delivered at large heap of vine leaves one morning. Domingo on the far side summoned Beloved to fetch another big load from him. The goats are delighted. Billy the Kid, in particular obviously a gourmet child, has developed a passion for the green things. What next, Granny wonders? Will he be demanding Crepes Suzette? Pommes dauphinoises? Possibly. He might not go for oysters, though: goats are herbivores, after all.

On Tuesday, Granny is heading back to the UK for a haircut - and Big Brother's funeral on Friday- then heading back here the following Sunday for an inspector, then back to UK on Thursday for a baby. Carbon footprint what's that? Oh God. Sackcloth and ashes more like. Sorry environment. Sorry everyone.

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