No twins - not of the human kind that is. Granny's agitation while waiting has been added to by Ruby the goat's production of her twins two days ago: both still born. Now Granny is well aware that the obstetric history of a goat on a Canarian island has nothing what ever to do with the delayed child-bearing of a niece-in-law in North East London. But that's pure reason. The anxious part of her is not reasonable and she waits the news with the heart in her mouth beating more wildly than ever.
Poor Ruby, the goat, meanwhile, is not a happy animal, lying there listlessly, not wanting to eat or drink; a sad sight. Beloved is going out, buying apples, whatever, mixing sugar salt and water, trying to persuade to take some nourishment. Granny as another female aches for her. Who says an animal doesn't feel? Maybe Ruby's loss of twins cannot be articulated in words or mind, but it is certainly articulated in her body: you only have to take one look. Granny and Beloved scour veterinary websites meanwhile to try and find out why goats abort like this. Does Ruby does have some un-obvious infection? Was she insufficiently nourished - she'd been fed high-calory goat pellets all this while but she doesn't like them much. So what?
No leaping kids this year, anyway. Woe is woe. Sadness all round.
Meanwhile, another dog has joined the Tiresome Terrier and the Beautiful Wimp. Let's call this one the Local Yokel - a standard little Lanzarote dog, black, with a curly tail and very short legs, the only thing distinguishing him from all the rest of his kind a bark as deep and reverberant as the hound of the Baskervilles'. Do not ask how this acquisition came about: let's just say it couldn't be helped. Among drawbacks: this dog has not yet learned that it is forbidden to sit on sofas. He is also much less continent than the Tiresome Terrier with whom he shares a basket at night: the TT, turning motherly, yips for him to be let out then yips again for him - and her - to be let in. At three in the morning this does not please Granny -she had a sleepless night or two until Beloved sorted that one out. What with the Beautiful Wimp having rolled in yet another dead goat and stunk the place out for over a week, despite Granny having bathed him three times, what with the Tiresome Terrier having eaten Mr Handsome's lunch out of his bag for the third time in as many weeks, dogs are not anybody's favourite animals just now.
"The dog learns more quickly than you," said Beloved to Mr Handsome of his lost lunch - not a particularly diplomatic statement one might say: Mr H didn't seem to think so anyway. Nor did Granny come to that.
On top of that, the bantams have taken to eating their own eggs and beating up the one hen who does not want to eat her eggs but sit on them.
Animals really can be horrible - when they are not sad.
The calima has covered everything in dust over the last few days. To calm herself down, Granny has been sitting quietly on the land, watching lizards sun themselves - snouts out, little hands set firmly on stone surfaces -or flicker in and out of the rocks: watching lizards is a very meditative activity, particularly at the moment: the lizards are in handsome breeding mode, iridescent green patches on their sides flashing in the sun. Beloved meanwhile has been hopping between his goat and his laptop - two kind German friends and visitors have been helping him remake the house website. Granny and Beloved have been cooking lovely meals in return and sometimes in holiday mode, visiting nice places with their friends, so all is not totally negative.
But oh poor bereaved Ruby.
And oh, where oh where are those North East London twins?
5.pm. Update. Granny visited Ruby after she'd written the above - came back to the house saying 'you should get the vet,' to find Beloved already looking up the number. The vet - nice Basque woman - appeared, pronounced an infection etc etc, large amounts of anti-biotics have been given and are meantime making the goat feel much worse - as the vet promised she would. "Animals don't complain,' she said. "You only know they're ill when they're very ill.' So much for sorrow. Except maybe sorrow helped make Ruby iller. Who can tell. Poor goat.
Update 5.15pm. Still worse. Beloved and Granny just went out to administer more treatment - goat no more. Dead. Not a good week.