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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home - sort of

Well, Granny is back on her island. A bit bemused, torpid, unsettled- it's taken a week to get herself used to life here again - and with a mixed collection of memories from the past two months playing in her head.

Item: an aged and bare-foot beggar in Venice, clutching an asthmatic's puffer (yes: Granny did drop a cent or two into her hand, never mind she was a gypsy and sending their old and young to beg is a gypsy scam - everyone hates gypsies in Venice as elsewhere so what else legal - more or less - can they do?).

Item: a very large grasshopper in Calabria which interested Granny -nose to nose to it - very slightly more than the somewhat impenetrable ruins of an archaeological site her companions were busy deciphering.

Item: a Muslim woman on the Underground in London clad in all enveloping black, but for an elegant silver stripe in the cloth, and busy applying mascara. 'It looks good,' Granny told her, 'Thankyou,' she replied as they smiled at each other.

Item: many more smiles from beloved infant twin, as Granny, baby minder, sipped coffee in a cafe in Stoke Newington and made silly faces at her.

Item: the twin's two elder brothers upended over the pond in Beloved Daughter's garden after Granny and Beloved's 70th birthday party trying to catch infant frogs.

Item: a superfluity of wizards: - eldest granddaughter in Soul version of the Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, also in Bristol, playing the Lord High Something or other, and sporting fearsome make-up and a whip, and middle granddaughter in the original version in Kew, impersonating a Munchkin in a curly pink wig.

Item: beloved Son-Law, plus ukulele, leading everyone in a slightly risque song from the plinth in Trafalgar Square. Etc etc.

Item: final flourish - a scheduled weekend in Pembrokeshire - was alas aborted by the dear friend Granny was due to visit having been bitten by an adder- dangerous place Wales: evidently. (Dear friend is recovering, Granny is happy to say.) But you can't have everything. And she did take in two films instead.

And here? Well it has been mostly cloudy, windy, very humid, not exactly the island at its best, ever since Granny returned. Though today, for the first time, her part of it has emerged from the cloud sufficiently to see the islands for the first time.

Politically the clouds don't lift - whole place in total stasis, every town hall functioning with minority government, all coalitions with the suspect party which ran the network of corruption axed by the (slightly) more virtuous: meaning that no budgets can be passed, meaning that nothing can be done/initiated and noone can be paid. The Mr Big, leader of said party, who ran the whole crooked business from his prison cell via mobile and computer -the prison governor has since been removed for obvious reasons - is now languishing in a prison cell in Tenerife where he has no influence whatever, Granny is glad to say, so no privileges: he is liable to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell judging by the charges laid on top of the ones he's already in prison for. His claims, meanwhile, to have no income any more with which to pay his hefty fines, somewhat dissipated by the discovery- by the Madrid police while taking his house apart - of a million and a half euros stuffing a pillow: though alas they can't track down all the property he owns, distributed among the names of different 'owners'. In the island, on the other hand, he's still admired as the local version of Robin Hood: god knows why - as far as Granny could see the little people only benefited by the distribution of the odd television set when he or one of his trying to get re-elected. His entire party - a local nationalist island one - seems to have been set up so that he, his mates, his family, could get their hands on profitable political pickings. So Spain, so Canaries, so Lanzarote. British MPs, venial enough, claiming for moats etc are mere amateurs by comparison.

And now there's the panic about swine flu coming from Britain.... Don't start Granny on that. Said illness has been and gone in part of her family - Beloved seems likely to have had a touch of it - and so what? Flu, the odd death from flu, has always been around from time to time: Granny has had some unpleasant encounters with it herself. Illness, death in general are always around. Immortal we aren't despite the sterling efforts of Health and Safety. Elsewhere in the world they know that all too well. SO GET USED TO IT, Britannia. At the very least try and think about something else. GROW UP.

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