Granny is sitting in London, bleary-eyed after an insomniac night, waiting for someone to come and fix a door. One of those between 8am and 1pm jobs: -as if noone has anything better to do than hang around endlessly for non-arriving workmen/deliveries etc etc. Yesterday was even better: two floods - one, in the morning, caused by her finally disintegrating washing-machine deluging downstairs flat (cue another morning wait later this week, while inevitable but expensive new washing-machine is delivered) one around nine pm, caused by upstairs flat deluging Granny's bathroom for no clear reason.
In between these unwanted dowsings, she took middle granddaughter to see lively production of Pinocchio: pretty good - children's theatre these days does not inflict the kind of parental suffering it used to. Though having sat through Disney's version of same story with yet another (non grand)child less than two weeks ago, Granny did feel slightly over-Pinocchioed. She prefers sometimes not knowing exactly what happens next. Beloved middle granddaughter had no such problem, fortunately. Good. BMG's sadness at rejection by secondary school of choice meant the pleasure was needed; as was application of Granny's grandmotherly comfort - wisdom - or what passes for it: only justification for calling it wisdom probably is that one pushing 70 has had a few more reverses in her time than one pushing 11, so knows that the pain passes; eventually. (it's the downside of having children and grandchildren, watching them learn that life can hurt: good for character, maybe, but not much else.) But what else are grandparents for, for goodness sake, other than sitting through productions of this and that kiddy theatre, good and bad, and offering the odd verbal crumb of comfort to downcast children. As in 'these things happen, you get over them and you know you're lovely really'.... same old stuff. (This particular granddaughter is in fact not just lovely in every sense the way all Granny's beloved granddaughters are, but actually beautiful -think young Emanuelle Beart eg - a face that certainly doesn't come from Granny's side of the family, she assures you, but you don't push that, do you? It will bring its own problems for sure - and dangers - not least vanity vanity and all that. Fortunately vanity is not this interesting oddball of a child's problem. Just as well.)
Bang bang bang somewhere is not door-fixers banging at Granny's door unfortunately. Shame. Yawn. But at least there's some light outside today. A week in grey London does make Granny realise the merits of her island. On the other hand it's nice to be warmer indoors. 18 centigrade feels, if not tropical exactly, like a greenhouse compared to her Lanzarote kitchen.
And tomorrow Obama is inaugurated. GOOD. Granny has dreamed herself present at these events three nights in a row. Obsessive or what? But, it is true, in a world where horrible things seem to be happening everywhere, this does seem to represent a glimmer of hope. A great man is definitely needed. And maybe, at last, we have one. But she does wish he didn't keep invoking Lincoln. And that today isn't, coincidentally, Martin Luther King day. Think what happened to both of them? And to Kennedy too - a day in Denver which Granny herself remembers all too well - arriving at a friend's house for dinner to find the butcher's aproned friend on the doorstep brandishing a frying pan and saying: "He's been shot." She doesn't want to suffer - want anyone to suffer - that agony again - it followed Kennedy-aroused hope not unlike that evoked by our now very own Barack. She was pregnant with Beloved Daughter at the time. Did these events have any effect on her? Who knows. (Cook friend by the way, made the mistake of removing asbestos coated stuff from his roof a few years later, and did not survive that experience more than ten years or so. A doubly painful memory. Ah well.)