Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008

Monday, November 24, 2008


Wonderful what little things can cheer you up when you're down. Granny entertained herself this morning with dancing hamsters, laughing babies, cats with Hitler moustaches, a sneezing panda. She felt better then.... until on Radio 3, just in her ear - by now she'd moved on to sterner things and was reading the Guardian - they played a love song which used to be thought by Bach, called Bist du bei Mir. ("Are you with me?") And immediately she was back, forty-nine and a half years ago, sitting on the floor in first floor room in St John's Street Oxford with the sun pouring through the window - an undergraduate room, belonging to the man she married three years later, after a blip or two, father of her children. This was the song he played her that day, on a very beat-up record player, sitting on the floor in front of them. She was madly in love at the time - for the first time; (that madness, that up one minute, down the next, with only the rarest of bemused intervals, thinking - 'well here I am? what's changed really? - here's life, essays, teeth-cleaning, dirty socks, coffee-drinking, leaves on trees and off them.. etc etc etc just like before? -the way you do in due course, much more often, once you come down from soaring into the heights - the ceiling, the sky, the stratosphere.) 'Yes I'm with you, and this is how it will always be...' Oh dear, oh dear. All that contradictory life that has passed between then and now. Nearly fifty years. And yet how powerful the music remains. 'Bist du bei Mir?' "No actually, not for a long time'. For that you weep. And for your idiot, romantic past. Dennis Potter was once asked how he viewed his younger self. 'With tender contempt' he said. Oh yes. Oh yes. But where has all that time gone? Granny cannot imagine.

Come to think of it, there's music associated with all Granny's loves through her life. And most can make her cry with memory and loss of love and sweetness. As Du Bist bei Mir did this morning. What a sentimentalist she is. Not so now, though. Beloved has never played her music and urged her to melt to it along with him. Not a music man, this Beloved. What does she associate with him - what will she, if ever she has to be without him - she hopes not. The bleat of his goat? The maddening yip yip of some dog, just like Tiresome Terrier when she wants to come in? Or perhaps just the sound of his voice in her head saying "What are you talking about?' Or 'What's that noise, it's awful..' as he might well have said had he come in when she was crying to her music. But he didn't. As you can appreciate, he and Granny don't watch the X Factor together, either, though Granny might sneak a listen to the odd clip when she's alone..... not that this music makes her cry or is ever likely to.

Otherwise: local life. The three eggs in the new incubator don't look likely to hatch now. Has Beloved over-heated, hard-boiled them? Or is the old cockerel firing blanks these days? Or what? It's a shame though. Another melancholy non-production.

There are more productive things going on, though, down on the land. The onions are planted out - a second lot because rabbits got some of the first, before a fence went up. On an island of which the staple crop has been onions since way before then, it's amazing how hard it is to get the seed ones. There was practically a free fight in the shop which sells such things - people turning over the onions in their boxes to get nice-looking ones. Beloved trumped them by buying a whole box. But Juan their next-door neighbour went in too late and couldn't get any this year. They'd have given him some, but for the rabbits, but for now generosity will have to wait till the crop comes. The goat is visibly swelling. Let's hope hers is not a phantom pregnancy like the eggs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sorry sorry sorry everyone. Granny ran hither and thither throughout her visit to London and scarcely had time to look at the internet, let alone add to it. And since she came back.....well having had her hopes raised for once, she received yet another rejection for Going Mental - not that editors don't want to take it....many of them LOVE it - it's their salesmen are the problem. She won't say more here: the implications of the particular rejections she keeps on getting on are depressing for reasons way beyond her personal disappointment. She has written a piece on this which she hopes will appear somewhere, soon. If not she'll put it up here, but not yet.

Meantime: Granny's mood has varied from blue to deepest black; hence her failure to write here, respond to comments, etc, etc, etc. SORRY EVERYONE. Especially sorry to Lin - who - among other things - asked her to spread the word about the dire Proposition 8 - the one that removes the right of gays to marry in California. Such a weird lot, Californians: they vote for the election of Barack Obama, and for the freedom of chickens - congratulations, you lot, on that. But when it comes to legalising gay marriage. NO. NO. NO. Lin asked her to spread the word; so she's spreading it.

(She wanted to paste the relevant section from Lin's appeal here, but alas, the system won't let her. So she will have to scream alone. If you want to scream with her - and publish this issue to all your readers, please do. Please do.)

So: what else in Granny's world?

1. A revolution. Really. For the first time in around twenty odd years, she is not the mother of a Doc Marten-ed daughter. Beloved Eldest Granddaughter has just acquired her first pair - mother 'n daughter Doc Martens? Well, perhaps no. Beloved Daughter has had to adopt another line in footwear. Pity about that. Sic transit. All too rapidly.

2. Beloved very nearly bought a gypsy caravan - a Varda - on Ebay - a charming idea. Beloved's ideas often are charming - remember that donkey? But in practice? He was proposing to park said varda in his Beloved Daughter's not very big back garden and live in it for extended periods during the summer: not a popular idea AT ALL; you can imagine. Appealed to by that other Beloved Daughter Granny had to inform him of the general thumbs down as gently as she could. As with all Beloved's wilder ideas - conveyed so enthusiastically too - disabusing him felt a bit like stamping on a kitten - even if Granny's does it with Croc-ed rather than booted feet. Pity about that too. But necessary.

3. Granny and Beloved headed for their cheapo tapas bar of choice this lunchtime, the one patronised by the local construction workers: a parade of concrete mixers was always lined up outside. But oh woe. It has closed. FOR GOOD. Is it because the construction workers have mostly been laid off? Is it because the owner disappeared mysteriously as while back and the bar had to be run by his minions. Or what? No means of telling. Granny and Beloved had, dolefully, to seek another, much less agreeable place. And will probably stay at home for lunch in future.

But at last our Barack is still on line to succeed, with or without his Blackberry. Which means that the days of Neocon sophistry, on the one hand, and Star Wars rhetoric, on the other, are pretty nearly over. That's one bright spot in Granny's minor, personal darkness (even if she still does have to listen to the Tory baby-faced extolling, yet again, pre-and post- Keynesian theory. Not so good that.) Good otherwise.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008






Sunday, November 02, 2008

Enough said...

If Granny is not very communicative just now, put it down to arrival of Beloved Baby and parents. Beloved Baby is now 3 months old and, naturally, delicious, inclined to smile indiscriminately, which is very gratifying for as yet not very familiar grandparent (or honorary grandparent in Granny's case.) Beloved baby, like all babies, is of course basically, a little animal, an eating, sleeping, shitting machine, her sole evolutionary function, at this age, to survive: hence the built-in capacity to charm all in sight with toothless grins and different grades of gurgle, coo, small, refined shrieks and happy grasps at offered fingers. It helps of course, in this case, that she is a very calm and contented baby: one that doesn't yell unless hungry, a reasonable enough response, and of course part of the survival process.

Tonight, Granny P (for the first time, for this child she will actually, officially be Granny P) and Grandpa, otherwise known as Beloved are to be left in FULL CHARGE while her trusting parents go out to dinner. Doubtless there will much dandling, baby talk, nursery rhymes (nice thing about babies they are the only creatures on earth who seem to enjoy the sound of Granny singing) and even, possibly, the pro-offering of a bottle of expressed breast milk, by one or both grand or (un)grandparent.

This is of course the easy bit; still to come: teething, terrible twos, school phobia (possibly) adolescence etc. Not to say there won't be some pretty - very - nice bits in between, small children being what they are - especially when smiling. Not much to be said for adolescence, though, for the surrounding adults, let alone the adolescent herself. Granny's eldest granddaughter will be starting on that one next year. Which makes her reflect her again, looking at enchanting, Beloved, Baby, how pitifully short it all is. Life she means. Of course.

Wind continues somewhat: but it has actually been quite sunny today - rain pissing down all others - though the interruptions of sun and blue from time to time leads to some spectacular rainbows - a bit of a compensation these. Little shoots of green are appearing on the upper part of Granny's land. She is fighting off a cold (family, inevitably at this time of year arrived with one) and attempting to translate a medical report into English. Official translator who mostly translates legal documents and so would therefore most likely be resorting to Google, Wikipedia, English and Spanish, and to a large dictionary no less than Granny is having to, was proposing to charge an inordinately large fee: granny of course comes free. No, don't ask why a medical report has to be translated. This is life in one form or another - which comes down at Granny's age, often, to long-term problems regarding the care of elderly, sick and/or demented relations. Luckily for her she may be elderly but she is still very fit, mentally and physically. So though she may make her little offerings to the Gods - like sitting at her MAC all afternoon translating words like the Spanish form of haemoglobin into the English form - she can't complain really. She doesn't.

On Tuesday, election day, she goes to England, arriving late at night, turning on the TV and most likely not getting much sleep. For which reason she has kept Wednesday clear, like many others, she suspects. Oh God. fingers crossed: along with just about everything else.... roll on the day.

And what WILL she does with herself thereafter - once the champagne is drunk - or the bitter ashes eaten?

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