Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Sturm und Drang

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sturm und Drang

Ok, the above was all about Goethe and German CULTURE - in big letters - in the late eighteenth century - read all about it via Google, just like Granny did - but since it translates roughly as storm and stress, sturm und drang will do equally well for her right now: not just her ongoing pre-election angst, but the bloody awful weather; halcyon Canaries where art thou? Heading for the south Atlantic or something, or north, melting all the poles? Currently, the rain is lashing against the window: it has lashed against Granny too, twice, since yesterday, largely thanks to the Beautiful Wimp going AWOL - once when she took him for a walk, the second time when she was taking him down first thing this morning to get him to his day station. Along with the rain, the wind is lashing at the window, blowing the cat door in and out; she wonders if it will survive the winter. Currently the cat is curled up inside asleep not liking this weather any more than her, so Granny has closed the door, for a while, cutting off the howling draught. (Memo to self, remember to open it before she leaves the room so that the cat can get out to pee; or worse.)

Even with all this rain, Granny's part of the island hasn't greened up yet; plants needing to be hardy here, they don't seem to get round to germinating till nearer their usual time. Her dip of land is still stony and arid - apart from the north face under the windows currently being lashed, where plants have appeared well before their time- she feeds some of that green stuff to the goat which loves it; chomp, chomp, chomp. Up north though, the hills are turning green already and the long grass blowing, all this unheard of for the end of October. Granny's chief problem is getting her washing out: she doesn't have/use a dryer. Dryers consume hideous amounts of electricity and give out a lot of heat, an environmental disaster - so a washing-line does for her, even in London, where she uses the balcony to hang stuff out if the weather is good, dries them on clothes horses in the back room if not - or even in the sitting-room at a pinch. (And they do dry there, really, in not that much time, even when the heating isn't on - it isn't on mostly, during the day, even in winter. One advantage of a flat is that you are well insulated by your neighbours, above, below and all around.) Here, when the sun comes out - or even if it doesn't - the wind merely has to blow - washing dries in a flash on the line in the back patio. She used to hang it on the roof, which could be exhilarating, not to say dangerous in a northern gale, so they discontinued this practice some while back: Granny misses her wide views though, when pegging stuff up, despite the struggles to control the wild animal billowings of sheets and duvet covers, wondering if she and they together are about to be blown out onto the land. It can be quite a struggle to pin stuff down lower down, sometimes, but at least it's not actually dangerous even if it can feel like hard work. Oh what a virtuous, environmentally aware Granny she is (if you forget her tendency to take planes, far more than she should.)

A small comment here; please dear American friends, don't take offense at this. But Granny was quite surprised, given what a huge amount of the world's energy resources is used across the pond - and what a huge amount of the world's pollution is chucked into the atmosphere by said use - at how few washing-lines she saw when she was there. Apart from ex-nun painter friend and her friend next door - one of whom is English and the other who spent fifteen years in the UK, so they know about washing-lines - everybody had dryers and used them as a matter of course: she can't remember seeing any washing hung outside, anywhere. What? In California? With all that sun? Enough said. Granny, an avid inspector of labels, origins, liable to create a traffic jam in every supermarket she visits - 'why's that old woman getting in the way?' - was also surprised by the lack of fair-trade goods - coffee, tea, chocolate, cotton - on sale. And this in an economy that invented the concept of the farmer's market - (well actually they've always had them in France, Italy, Spain of course - but what of that: it took the US to get such things into the UK. And about time too. A pity they are so expensive though.) How about thinking of local small producers elsewhere too then? Why not?

Not much fairtrade in Spain either. Granny brings her coffee with her from England - as for environmental concerns.....this is the land of the plastic bag. Granny carts her own shopping-bag when she remembers but her refusal of the plastic ones on offer is always met with astonishment. Odd that.

It has STOPPED raining. She'll put the washing on. (Oh no, she spoke too soon. Here comes another cloud; and more rain. No washing today.)

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