Sit down to write this - first moment of empty kitchen and desk - I think - in walks beloved not due for another half hour. Not used to people who are always earlier than they say....Growl.... Is now pottering around behind me. Sooner we get a wireless setup so I can work upstairs unmolested the better. I know that many a work of literature has been written at the kitchen table, but not, I think, round a retired husband.
Very quiet this morning, no wind. I prowl round the land, then come up to inspect garden, and wonder, as usual, why my geraniums are the only ones on this island not ablaze with colour. Have tried everything; watering, not watering, pruning, not pruning, but nothing avails. Down the road, up a track, towards yet another extinct volcano, is a semi-ruined cabin; round it petunias, geraniums of all sorts, colours, including scented, hardly a leaf to be seen for flower, and not a sign they are ever tended. So why???
Yesterday was the woman in the attic's birthday. This time last year Beloved was still attempting to look after her - nearly killing himelf and her in the process; hence his evacuation up here, by me and (his) Daughter. Thereby incurring utter opprobrium of her (the wife's family) who seems to take the view that duty should have called him to go on killing them both....according to the carers this is common with families when care situations breakdown. Am not the least worried, myself, about being the scarlet woman out to get the family cash, but such slander of previously half-dead Beloved does irk me. As does the obstruction of all attempts to sort the situation out by those who have taken on themselves powers of attorney. Head on clashes between two people who like to feel in control (Beloved, on the one hand, attic woman's brother on the other) not fun to be around. Even at second remove.
Anyway. Attic woman resides not in attic but nice house owned by Beloved down the road in seaside village. We take her out to birthday lunch. Bring champagne not usually allowed because of previous alcoholism plus vascular problems. Beautiful day, if windy. Sea bright blue, turquoise, waves breaking nicely frothy and white. I sit with my back to it and take photographs of the happy pair; kind of heartbreaking. Beloved is very sweet to her. She is not hostile at all, as once, but melancholy; even her presents only half stir her; her face is ever more cloudy. Eventually I see tears rolling down from closed eyes and alert beloved who hugs her. 'I don't want to die,' she says. Her mother died at the age she now is - she's always said she would do the same, so maybe that's it. Beloved tries to reassure her 'You're getting better - you're much better than you were.' (true in certain respects, thanks to the carers. Not true in others - her understanding and memory ever fades - or seems so, though she's always worse with Beloved and/or me.) I quote recent statistic of people coming to live in such climates living much longer. We comfort her through the rest of the meal - I go off and leave them alone for a while. Later Beloved asks how you should respond to people who say they're dying; should you reassure them, say it's not true, or what. I don't know. If people are right about this - they can be - do you give them permission to suffer the fear? Or what. Attic wife is obsessional anyway; is this her present obsession? In which case you can only have the same conversation over and over again, suggesting what might or might not be truer than she thinks.
Later chief carer rings to say she's had yet another epileptic seizure. Could be alcohol; could be birthday excitement; could be fear of death, who knows. Could be move to impending death. Beloved is upset and needs comforting. Probably needs comforting now, padding round the kitchen behind me, so I had better get on and do it. Chief carer is supposed to be reporting back, but hasn't yet.
Off to ring Telefonica. A frustrating process. Grannypxxx