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Friday, January 30, 2009

Home again

Well home again, assuming Lanzarote is Granny's home - which it is of course, not least because that's where Beloved is - but at the same time London is also Granny's home, has been for most of her adult life: you can see the schizoid tuggings of the accidental expat she is, no matter what. Home, after all, is not only where the Beloved is but also where the babies are - big and little babies that is. (On the other hand there are about to be babies here too; Ruby the goat's pregnancy advances fast. She is shyer when pregnant, does not advance to the fence, bleating, when Granny appears, though she does put her head and legs over the stall in eagerness to reach out to the fennel tops Granny carries with her. Fennel is the latest crop here and a good one too; another local pleasure.)

After two days of sun it has been raining all day till now. Water is the leitmotif of Granny's life this winter, it seems, after the problems with the water company and the aljibe on her island and the floods in her flat in London. And after the rain at - she was about to say home and abroad - but which is which when either is both? - to say rain both here and there will do. She does say it; here being Lanzarote just now. Of course.

Back in London Beloved Middle Granddaughter has advanced to a mobile phone; texting a good way of communication between grandchild and grandparent; particularly when Grandchild is a bit sad over exam failures. Granny does wish the exams were not being inflicted on her, due to inadequacy of state schools on offer, she is told. (This is more her no-longer daughter in law's view in fact. Beloved son would be much more sanguine to see his eldest disappear to a state paid-for establishment.) It's not an issue Granny faced in her day; a stern supporter of the state system, her, though Beloved Son did circumnavigate those principles somewhat, when, aged 14, a series of programmes about a certain public school so enthused him he demanded to be taken away from his comprehensive and sent to one. His father, more indulgent in such matters than Granny as well as richer, not to mention good friends with the headmaster of another public school agreed to his request, and so, over Granny's dead body - and dire warnings from her of what he would find there - off he went. Dead bodies have a habit of coming to life on these occasions, though. This one did come to life, when, after his first term away, Beloved Son complained bitterly about just the things Granny had warned him of and demanded to be allowed back to his comprehensive school. 'After all this you can bloody stay there,' she said -or words to such effect - and indeed he did stay right through to A levels, getting the reputation among his mini Tory schoolfellows for being the school Ken Livingstone - he'd gone old enough to have absorbed parental politics and to be far from shy about asserting them - and gaining various advantages he'd never have got at his previous school: the wonderful art teacher, for instance, who turned him into a good ceramicist, also several outward bound type trips yomping over bits of Scotland in not the least militaristic way with the school cadet corps - oh and a subsequent adventure with the National Schools Geographic Society which dispatched him to the Norwegian Arctic Circle to help in a scientific study of glaciers: all that was to the good. Though she does think it's a shame state schools can't offer just such advantages. Ah well. It was all a long time ago and in another country besides. And it's time, anyway, to take her dog for a walk in the after-the-rain cold. Ta ra for now.

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