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Tuesday, December 09, 2008


A good definition of depression that Granny came across lately: when inanimate objects have more energy than you do....

Which doesn't mean to say she doesn't, sometimes, try and confront animate objects, even beat them down. Yesterday she hauled herself out of bed, hauled the sheets, pillowcases, duvet cover off the mattress/pillows/duvet respectively, hauled them downstairs, washed them, hung them out to dry - yesterday was a much nicer day than lately - hauled them upstairs again, put them back on the bed. Wow. Clean sheets. A TRIUMPH. Believe her. This does not mean to say these inanimate objects, so-called did not inflict their energy on her meantimes. POW. WHAM. BIFF. SMOTHER. Linen does that to you - it can do. Trying to get a duvet-cover on a double duvet for one is like fighting an opponent with a lot of stuffing but no edges. At the best of times. This wasn't the best of times. But she won: just. A triumph, like she said.

So what's biting her?

1.) Getting old probably, among other things.

2.) Not being able to sell (good) work. (No getting her face onto the front of HELLO - or even the TLS - so where's the market?) Not even being able to sell a good piece on the subject of the market as censor of the writer - 'write about this, not about that'. (Guardian didn't even bother to acknowledge the piece: sod them.)

3. The upcoming of dread Christmas - not that anyone's coming out for this year - though Beloved's family are all turning up for the new year and his 70th birthday. (More wrestling with inanimate objects. The dead kind, that you cook. Granny has made some mincemeat, so far. But that's it.)

4. Getting a 90 euro fine from the local traffic police for merely advancing on - not entering - a closed road in order to ask them a question.....She could fight this probably, but, see below, the hassle would probably not be worth it; and most likely wouldn't even succeed. (Paying the fine, in itself involves hassle, wouldn't you know. Nothing is simple here.)

5. Thinking of exercising her brain and applying to Open University to do another degree and discovering that any degree pre-1971, no matter how good - let alone any interim experience - will not count as credit, and that you have to start from scratch with access courses. (Teaching you to write essays, etc...) How discriminatory is that? Even so, Granny does not know quite why this minor matter should have upset her so. But it did.

6. The credit crunch is biting hard, on the lives of some of her family, not least. Much more serious of course. Not to say worrying.

7. WATER. As in having no water. Oh God. Where does she start.

With this perhaps. That Granny believes in letting sleeping dogs lie. Beloved - alas - doesn't. He discovered recently that they haven't been getting any water bills lately. He doesn't know if they have ever had water bills here - no way of finding out, because it turns out he throws all bills away. The water's been flowing none the less - whenever it does flow, which is not always the case here - the water company is something else: all utility companies here are something else. Meaning that you confront them, get embroiled with them for any reason whatsoever at your peril. The local consensus in such cases therefore is: do nothing - if it's not broke don't fix it - always Granny's own activity of choice; you can see she has Spanish blood. Beloved does not have Spanish blood - merely Scots and Irish. He could not/would not let well alone. Suppose our predecessors have been paying the bills? Suppose they sue us? (Like hell they've been playing the bills. The predecessors are canny developers from Surrey. They do not pay other people's bills, even by mistake.) Oh we must go and see the gestor (a necessary fellow here who mediates between the consumer and bureaucracy - Beloved is always communing with the gestor; he loves things like that; though it costs him.) Oh we must get a lawyer to find out our position. (More expense.) Oh we must go to the water company and get it sorted out.

DON'T GO NEAR THE WATER COMPANY is stated loudly and clearly by everyone, all locals etc, who knows the score. Which might sound strange to you out there in places like the UK, USA, Oz, wherever, but this isn't even Spain, darlings, this is the Canaries, and they do things differently - very differently - here, or rather, as in this case, DON'T do them, very differently here. But Beloved is Scots, as said, and is not taking advice from anyone, least of all Granny. Off he goes. To be told there's no sign of a contract with them etc etc - in other words the water company have been supplying their produce all these years to some place that according to them does not exist, to people who according to them do not exist - this despite the very same company having installed a meter and the equipment via which the water is pumped in at the non-existent house and even, once or twice, having come and fixed the water problems from time to time for the people whom they claim do not exist. And now, guess what, they have disabled the meter and the equipment that doesn't exist: there's a big red tag attached to the water box at the bottom of Granny's driveway. Which means they have cut the water off. Without, of course, informing the non-existent people they are going to turn their water off. All Granny and Beloved knew was that, suddenly, there wasn't any water. This was/is awkward.

Now what? Endless hasslings. Vast bills. Take local advice, Beloved. Leave well alone in future. Please. He and some language assistance are down at the water company's ranch this very moment trying to sort something out. Some hope. Meantime it looks like their house will need a visit from the big blue water tanker - the resource of choice - an expensive one - for places and people that according to the water company do not exist; the equivalent of paying for your electricity by pre-paid meter and we all, in England, know about that.

But at least Granny doesn't for the moment have to wrestle with recalcitrant linen.

What a relief.

And at least it's raised her adrenaline to the extent she has managed to write this: which may or may not be a good thing. She couldn't say.

(And, by the way, she knows all these matters are trivial, mostly, compared to the wretchedness of many, at home and abroad. But she does just wish they didn't get her down so. As they do.)

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