Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

pins and needles..

Granny has had a frustrating few days: today for instance she put the finishing touches to rooms ready for six young guests from Gran Canaria, all inconvenient enough to want single beds- and all come for Dolores pilgrimage, just up the road, the biggest fiesta on this island. Finishing touches included making a tortilla, putting together fruit, bread etc for their do-it-yourself breakfast in the studio room: - Granny and Beloved, off to Madrid first thing in the morning, are not able to give them breakfast in their dining-room as usual. An hour after they were expected comes the message. There's been an accident. Six people are not coming to spend the night. Granny returned the breakfast to the kitchen, sighing. Etc, etc. Oh the perils of being in the guest business.

Earlier in the week, Granny discovered that half the flights on her American itinerary had been cancelled: she'd been booked onto alternatives, one of which had her leaving Philadelphia 6 hours before she arrived there. Go figure. An entirely new itinerary had to be arranged - at a bigger price, it goes without saying. On the same day she had a call from a friend of the dear friend in Albuquerque who is the main reason for the whole trip - friend - very old friend - is beginning to lose her memory and Granny wanted to spend time with her once more in both their lives; thereafter, probably, saying goodbye for good. This kind of sadness happens when you're getting old (young old, she's told she is but still old for all that) - Albuquerque is a long way from Lanzarote. Friend is ill it seems - did Granny still want to come. Yes, she did - if she was wanted: indeed she was, but it might not be much fun. What's fun? Who needs it - this was the gist of what Granny said; so she is going anyway. She called again today and friend is much better, so maybe it will be alright anyway, if not exactly song and dance.

Oh and needles: try and find needles on this island... does anyone do any sewing? Not that Granny is going in for fine needlework, exactly, but she does have the odd button to sew on, the odd split seam to fix and she does need the wherewithall for that. You need a merceria, she was told, helpfully - merceria is the equivalent of a draper's shop.But such things have not only disappeared in the UK, largely, they also seem to have disappeared here. Not a merceria to be found in Granny's home town, nor in the one down on the coast where she goes to shop. She was rescued eventually by one of those ubiquitous Chinese shops which sells virtually everything for one euro. Thank god for the Chinese - whose Spanish, by the way, is no better than hers, judging by the limited conversation with the seller of her precious needles.

Off to the Dolores fiesta now - she will take some pictures and put them on here when she's back; though you'll have to wait till she's back - from seeing her friend, seeing Dotty Nana too. much later and other friends after that. Wey hey. She might get onto this at some point in the three weeks. On the other hand she might not.

(Oh and guess what she and Beloved are eating tonight: tortilla! And a lot of fruit.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Beloved's robot is wowing them in Liverpool: though Granny fears it has got rather too hot competition with the spider currently moving through the city; which made it difficult to reach his hotel last night. But she doesn't think he minds. He too likes that spider. Still less will he mind when he goes down south and gets another visit with his new grandchild. Granny doesn't know which she is more jealous of spider or baby - spider maybe- she will, after all, get to see the baby before too long: meantime she has, as her mother would say 'to possess her soul in patience' a phrase Granny rather loves, archaic as it. Biblical probably. (Her mother said it very often, probably because she was as far from being a patient person as granny herself.)

But at least back here the weather is better. Even if the house does seem very quiet. Even quieter - deathly quiet - Granny thought at first, until she realised the battery on her hearing aid had run out. But she has Beloved's holey - as opposed to holy - t-shirts to take off the washing-line to remind her of him, plus the Lanzarote guide which sits on the driving seat in the truck in order to raise one buttock above the other...it helps his back, he says, in some way totally mysterious to Granny. Oh and she has his somewhat wistful dog, the Tiresome Terrier to remind her too and his workroom full of old brass and wood, more like an Oxford room than a Canarian one.

It has stopped blowing altogether for the moment; though not for long, judging by the forecast for later in the week. Meantime she's enjoying the quiet. And how. And tonight she will get to watch the Producers on TV - without having to argue the case. (But you saw it on stage? Why do you want to see it again on film? asked Beloved when she told him about it. Please explain someone. )

What a world. When Granny sees the horrors that go on everywhere - the brutality, the corruption, the short-term greed that wrecks localities and environments - plenty of that microcosmically on show here on this island - when she sees Sarah Palin and others of her like - she begins to think she hates people. But this morning she found the Liverpool spider on Youtube. And seeing that she thinks: but if people can do this, I love them after all. LOVE THEM. What a weird, funny, interestingly creepy, brilliant MARVEL. Three cheers for it. Three cheers for them. Yes -REALLY.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Yes: on their island paradise, along with fleas, cockroaches, mice - against all of which Granny battles with varying degrees of success - there are RATS. No, not those nice brown ones from which everyone in London lives never more than a foot or so away, the dear things. The rats here are black rats: the kind that bought the black death, don't you know. Granny has only ever seen one, mind, and some time back and it was dead, having lost an encounter with the Tiresome Terrier. Black rats are much smaller than brown rats, and Beloved, the animal man, who should therefore have known better mistook it for a very large mouse, until disabused by Granny. 'Look at its tail,' she said. 'That's no mouse.' To which, after some argument - and the flourishing of pictures in the animal guide - Beloved was forced to agree.

There have been no more sightings, merely unmistakable signs of a colony under the chicken house in the back patio garden: the most unmistakable being the disappearance of two hen chicks - and the traumatisation of the third: no young hens then. Or eggs. It looks like the rats are stealing eggs too, meaning that Beloved is feeding his chickens merely to supply rats with food, helping them breed still faster. As far as the hen breeding is concerned, Granny and Beloved are buying an incubator. As far the eggs are concerned, new nesting boxes will have to be built, high up, where the rats can't jump. As for the rats: the only remedy is to take the hen houses apart from time to time and station the Tiresome Terrior to do more of what she's bred for: kill rodents, that is. The first such event is scheduled for after Granny goes away, to her relief.

Meantime you'd think this was the UK judging by the way that people are beefing about the weather. 'We haven't had a summer,' they shout. And it is true that the persistent wind and cloud have driven the campers from Granny's dog-walking/bird-watching beach much sooner than usual. She's grateful for that, even if they aren't. Up where she lives, cloud and wind in the summer is normal: while wind - as in trade winds - is normal everywhere; even when blowing a gale at some point most weeks. What isn't normal is persistent cloud across the whole island: hence the complaints. The weathermen on the other hand say it's pretty typical trade wind weather really, none of the unusual extremes of recent years - calimas and heat to equal India - rain-storms, tornadoes, whatever. (The tornadoes are slight exaggeration but you get the picture.)

Perhaps the moans are, in part, transference from the real cause for complaint: this island, like all Spain is in heavy recession and for much the same reasons: over-development, large amounts of unsold and unsellable properties, over-reliance on the building trade to supply jobs, all of which have now disappeared: a blanket freeze on mortgages makes the surplus properties even more unsellable. Building firms are going bust. There are more than 10, 000 unemployed on the island. One effect is that agricultural land is being put back into use - this is good, at least. Growing your own food - and selling it - once the mainstay of island life- is one good option for the unemployed with access to land. But this isn't any use for people in the towns with no land and no prospects of it. The illegals are in a particularly bad way; good workers - if you are an illegal, being a good worker in essential - they could always get jobs before. Now they have neither jobs nor any hope of social security. The number of burglaries down in Arrecife - the main town- merely to steal food has rocketed.

Against a fight against starvation, what's a bit - or a lot of -of cloud and wind matter...depressing as it is. Not much probably.

PS. Feline Lorengar is now using the cat door: to come IN. She hasn't quite cottoned on yet to going OUT. Granny, tired of pushing, if no longer pulling, lives in hope

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