Sun out and in. People out planting, hunters out hunting. The year turns. And Beloved has granny's ex-lurgy (head one, not the other) and is groaning faintly on their bed. Cloud replaces sun and the wind blows (and blows.) What it is to be in an island in the Atlantic. Tomorrow gp heads for another island in the Atlantic, a colder one. Whoopee. Probably not too many posts for a bit. But she will be back. grannyp
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Feline Houdini is trying to eat the keyboard. Sun out - alas: Beloved was impatient last night because Granny tried to relieve horror of programme on US religious right - shades of the Handmaid's Tale - by rushing out hoping for more rain. In vain. There wasn't any- sound was wind. 'Why does it matter?Why do you need to know!' It does matter! the miracle of rains coming back to a dry place. Beloved's realism of course against g's romanticism.... A common theme. Strong light - wonderful shadows. Last evening, after the rains of the night before the hills on drive back from visit to Attic Woman looked almost fleshly; at the very least corporeal; every fold and wrinkle and delineated. Their bases sat on the land like huge and multiplied versions of Feline Houdini's paws.
Clock change. Nine o'clock in morning feels like 10. Lovely Beloved clashing around behind making breakfast - he has already this morning brought Granny coffee in bed. Granny has now to send Halloween Cards to computer literate grand-daughter. It feels chilly outside, despite sun. Autumn - for here - has arrived. Till later. Love to everyone. Grannyp
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Raining! - or it was...all night, in morning cloud hid everything; drizzle in courtyard. Last night's fury falling on plug to which outside acquarium connected shorted everything and plunged house into darkness. Granny and Beloved fumble around with matches and candles, cursing them and each other. Situation sorted.
Wind now back to north; presumably all will go on just as ever. Sun coming out. Air still cooler though.
Beloved off to bank. Granny alone and enjoying herself. Feeling somewhat recovered from yesterday's indignities, apart from having to immerse her lower regions in an iodine solution every now and then. (Agua tibia - no frio no caliente: lukewarm water, etc, doctor insisted.) Beloved, not very helpfully points out that ageing future probably involves much more of such things. Chalfonts of course, granny reminds him, can arrive at any age. (She likes; 'chalfonts': So much nicer than saying piles!) But he's right just the same. Groan. Oh for a plastic body which goes on for ever. Provided plastic mind does not go with it.
Interesting piece in newly arrived (late) TLS by Galen Strawson, deploring over emphasis, moral and psychological, on virtue of narrative approach to life and lives. Somewhat special pleading, because that doesn't fit his own approach, but interesting all the same. He divides people into diachronic types - who naturally see their lives as narrative - and episodic, like himself, who don't. Actually this perfectly fits differences between Granny and Beloved - Beloved claiming he doesn't remember except in bits and only when he needs to; whereas Granny is continually making a story of her life. (More than a hint no doubt, of granny being as solipsistic as Strawson in defending this.) The distinction she makes here between himself and her, Beloved insists, is wholly intuitive; it's not entirely valid - being, by definition, untestable. She thinks he means this anyway, so accuses him of being over-reliant on the empirical. He denies it. All this is familiar stuff and leads to usual impasse: she can't follow his thinking into its farther reaches just as he cannot follow hers. Not an uninteresting argument for the ageing just the same, she thinks. Memory stretches ever further - and what is remembered - to her - becomes the more interesting the stranger - because more remote - it is. As strange to her almost as to her grandchildren who call it history. Does she (as narrative not snapshot person) call it history? She even thinks she might. Recalling accurately needs a historian's care, not least. For snapshot recallers, perhaps, too, if they rate the activity of remembering. Beloved, at least, doesn't. Others, maybe, do.
Sun now full. Colours deep; brilliant. The pleasure of the rainy morning all gone. No doubt though she will encounter many more colder such - and with less pleasure - in the UK next week.
Time to do tax; this blog is pure diversion tactic. Get on with it, Granny. Grannypxx
Friday, October 29, 2004
Granny can hear again. Good. She also has a sore bum. Boil turned out to be - wait for it - oh the humiliation; chalfonts.... rhyming slang for haemorrhoids - piles to you. Clinic thought it was a boil like she did, despatched her to Arrecife General Urgencia - comparison with an English A&E much to the disadvantage of the latter. Problem sorted with two nurses plus doctor, while granny in very undignified (could be perverse in other circumstances) posture. She pointed out the indignity in her best Spanish, making them laugh. Better that way probably. Not much else to laugh about. Bugger it. Looked up on Internet, advice on avoiding affliction involves everything she does anyway - exercise, fruit, vegetables, etc etc etc. Well there you go.
Pregnant cat much disapproved of by feline Houdini turned out actually to be neutered male and sick. Has been dispatched to Animal Rescue. Clouds are gathering, rain still doesn't come. Grannyp
Granny feels lousy this morning; possible boil on very intimate bit of her backside might be reason. Has to go and get her bunged-up ears cleared later, so might get it checked. (On the other hand might not.)
Rain came and went. Only minimal, damn it. Sun again this morning. G and her Beloved still wait for imports from UK - 3 large pallets according to importers. Handsome has arrived early against (theoretical) 8 a.m. arrival. At 9 a.m. still none. They keep saying the truck is on its way, but that's it.
Crab no more frisky than Granny. Has been quiescent for days now. Is either sick or likely to shed his shell. (Possible.) Sea cucumber currently snuggled up against him. Feline Houdini agitated too - granny came down to hear hideous yowling outside back gate where he was confronting a decrepit and pregnant cat which seems to have settled on Handsome's new shed as its labour ward. (This is the theory.) It has been hosed, had tiresome terrier and beautiful wimp set on it; still it won't go. Now what? Kittens not needed!
Someone burning vines far ahead. Heaps of cuttings left in other places Beloved thinks are for goats. It's true we've seen people trundling brown cuttings around in trailers behind mini-tractors. Everything is used. Crop protection by stone walls (stone over-abundant here) - brushwood - plastic - dead rubber tyres - old wooden boxes. Bird scarers are either re-cycled plastic water bottles stuck on posts which spin round in the wind, or, less commonly, scarecrows; one dimensional wooden figures dressed in worn-out local dress complete with scarves and hats. (A woman with a mid-country garden just out of sight from us had to change her male scarecrow to female because as male it scared her dog more than the birds. Really.)
Butterfly outside my window. Not a monarch. Groan from a suffering Grannyp...xx
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Hurray it's raining! - or it was. Not enough yet. Coming over the volcanic park all was murky - definite signs of season change. Maybe they'll start planting. Fields all ready but no serious sign of it yet. Perceptions by those of us who live here are quite different to perceptions of holiday people. For us, winter cometh, and that has its pleasures. For granny and Beloved, for instance, up in the hills, there's the stove to light in the evenings, very cosy, and much less watering of garden. Visitors, on the other hand, see on this island a permanent summer ; and so there is, relatively speaking.
Arafat dying. Margaret Hassan weeping on another video. No escape from news here - don't think we'd choose it. Granny has been reading a book by an American woman doctor who lives and works in a remote part of the Amazon where there are no such connections. She doesn't regret, she says, getting mostly disturbing news from everywhere about which she can do nothing: she has a point. To take that line here, tho', would require greater discipline than Granny at least can summon. Maybe she's a news junky. Will she retreat a bit in time as her old dad did? You have to be very old, she thinks, for that. Or very busy. Presumably the sense of pointlessness in most of what goes on gets greater and greater. She feels it already. Better to stare out of the window at walls, fig trees, agaves prickly pears, lone palms, hills, white houses. Sea and islands farthest away; spiral made on land by beloved daughter nearest. She does. But still goes looking for the other.
Granny has just been down to the coast to get her ears syringed; but has to go back tomorrow for final act. Will continue meantime to drive Beloved crazy. Blocked ears have bad effect on hearing aid. (You're whistling!) Let alone on hearing.
COME WINTER...COME; she thinks; but after her two weeks in England will, she suspects, be singing a different tune! Grannyp
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Phew! Made it...blogger seems to have had a problem. Granny has tried to get into this all day and failed till now. Is she addicted to this - or what?
So: great news to be imparted to those of like minds is that a monarch butterfly turned up yesterday evening. Lovely. They weren't here at all till the nineties, tho' in the Canaries some time before. Really they are an American species - migrating in millions from north to south. Much bigger than local types, boldly marked. Granny has seen two or three a year, no more.
Wind up; to the west now. So forecasts of rain tomorrow may be right. Yesterday cloudless - not so today. Beloved cooking all day on and off. Realise he and Granny are different species. Granny cooks because she has always had to, but of all such tasks it's the one she enjoys most. (Mostly because she's greedy, and likes the results...) Beloved does it because he loves it. Has been constructing taramasalata. (Granny is making a pumpkin risotto for dinner.) Today too has been grounded by waiting for arrival (non-arrival it turns out) of the shipment of yet more of his goods from the UK. Don't ask where they'll all be put; tho' the bookcases might be useful... Fast as Granny tries to get rid of stuff, Beloved acquires more. This lot was due to be delivered either yesterday or today but of course wasn't. Same thing happened with the last shipment, come to think of it. (Is not unknown event back home in UK...so don't carp.)
Yesterday Beloved claimed that granny's poor dog was being neglected. Code for fact he was or felt it anyway. A gem of insight he did not appreciate when offered to him by granny.
No news of the wretched and wonderful woman Margaret Hassan, kidnapped in Iraq. Her fate has been haunting Granny all week; as most people I daresay. Next week George Bush will or will not be re-elected. Not an entirely nice world, no matter how beautiful here. Granny's old dad said when asked what he thought of the Iraq war; 'I've seen too many wars.' I guess that's how you feel, getting older. Granny's getting that way too. Her lot's first blooding after all was by the Holocaust. (And in her case too, by pictures of men being hung in the failed Hungarian revolution. A long time ago; and yet yesterday as well.) Seems like nothing changes. Except to get worse. Not least because we all know about all of it now. Even her grandchildren pick up some of it. Enough, granny. Grannypx
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Another perfect day; hot, not too hot; a little wind to cool it but not too much. Full blue sky and sun. Halcyon weather we should have had through the last two months but didn't. All weather sites predict rain on Thursday, but the gardener here (granny mainly) might be glad of that. Though mornings are good and cool and dew abundant; which helps.
Rabbit got up this morning; shot across land, up to drive and took refuge by the wall of the large bed at the back, full of palm trees, hibiscus and various succulents, all doing nicely. (Also castor oil trees, cuttings from larger same in back terrace: some local authorities in Britain are rooting them out apparently as ricin(?) -can't spell it, poison anyway- can be produced from them by would-be terrorists. Don't think we'll have a go.) Dogs fetched and rabbit again bolted but they didn't catch it.
Rock pool going on nicely. Crab doggo, probably after overeating. Not we hope after snacking on poisonous intestines of sea cucumber which it extrudes apparently when frightened - then happily reabsorbs. Charming. Sea cucumber got round the tank yesterday. Is now again ensconsed behind the crab. Marine aquaria books all designed for those who have to buy their stock, so don't want their expensive acquisitions snacking on each other. For us who get stuff for free finding what eats what is half the - was about to put 'fun' but perhaps 'interest' might be more decorous.
Granny tired with lurking cold. Hence no blog yesterday. Is taking Attic Woman to swim in Handsomes' pool later. What her Jewish friends would call a 'mitzva.' Thinks a little meanly and wistfully that only time in life she'll cease to be tending some aged/infirm person on and off will be when so aged as to need tending herself. Much cheered though by last night's TV report of GrannyD in USA, aged 94, walking 2000 miles at 10 miles a day to publicize campaign to make money less of the driving force in US elections. (So presidential candidates and others will not have to be millionaires; among other things. Is also standing for senate herself.) This is an example she'd like to follow. Much better than being querulous in a wheelchair.
Nice emails from last week's guests who cannot see any way G and Beloved could improve ourselves (wow!) and will definitely be recommending them to Alastair Sawday's special places to stay: also wow. Can therefore forgive guests for being a little over-organised.. (Tuesday is museum day, etc, etc!) Organisation has its uses when it gets the casa efficiently recommended in the right places. Good. Enough. Granny did much writing yesterday and wants to check out what will assuredly turn out not to be deathless prose. Grannypx
Sunday, October 24, 2004
A crab is creating carnage once more in granny and Beloved's kitchen rockpool. Caught yesterday he came from a pool with little food for him, and fell on our supplies of hermit crabs and snails at once; including one hermit so large and in such an encrusted shell we thought he wouldn't have a hope of extracting it: the vicious claw went in, regardless. For the first twenty-four hours el senor congrejo scarcely stopped foraging. The sea cucumber has taken up residence behind him to catch the fallout. Shrimps and gobies are also hoovering up the remains. Anenomes no doubt ditto except they are more discreet about it. This crab, unfortunately is of same species as previous ones. Beloved intends eating him once we manage to catch another of a less familiar kind . (Problem is they are nippier.)
Another beautiful day. Windier but that just kept things a bit cooler too. The Bottle Blondshell came to lunch plus husband - granny made an elaborate pancake dish she hasn't made for 20 years since she lost the recipe. (It turned up in one of her boxes of papers; she doesn't have a clue how it got there. These things happen when you've accumulated and lost stuff over many years. Another odd and maybe useful fact of ageing.) BB and spouse seemed to like it. As usual gloomy - stuck in their own immoveable mud - house they can't sell, in place they don't want to be. Etc. We took them to the beach and rockpools. 'Fascinating' they said, but didn't look in them.
Two boy hunters this evening. One threw a stone at the Beautiful Wimp and hurt his paw. BW not so wimpish chased after regardless. Boys then saw and heard furious Granny yelling at them and fled; to be pursued by her and Beloved in the truck. And shouted at. They got the message. BW not limping seriously -it wasn't half an accurate shot though - not that granny and beloved were congratulating boys on this. Boys said nothing. More harmless people were out today pruning vines. Our first shot at vine plantings seem dead unfortunately. Another fine evening. xxxGrannyp
Saturday, October 23, 2004
'The gonads are considered a delicacy'....not not Beloved's - we're talking sea cucumbers here; one of which - 'stichopus regalis' - is lurking in our kitchen rock pool thanks to very productive expedition to salt marsh yesterday, at exceptionally low tide. This one we thought dead at first. He looked like a smooth red gourd - long - with knobs on. But came to life when we put him in the tank, and much more knubbly, wrapping himself round rocks. Now, though, he's buried himself somewhere behind these rocks which look exactly like him ?(her) so is hard to see: a weird, weird monster. We also got green anenomes - so now have all three anenome types to be found here, pink, green and the deep red blobs both of which came unbeknown with rocks and have survived many months. (They move house from time to time, too, never viewed by us.) Beloved almost caught a green crab too, but it was too nimble for him. While granny saw a tern and (she thinks) a cormorant, neither more than in passing here, and got endless mini hermits. A good afternoon.
Another beautiful day, though the wind is cooler now. On Thursday when granny went down to see Attic Woman it was windier and more grey than up here; unusual. Attic Woman much more cheerful - even produced sentences unprompted. Denied she was happy though, only a bit less unhappy. Mrs Handsome was with them, in low cut leopard-skin pattern dress - flirtatious as ever. Says Handsome is 'trying hard' - though she is less euphoric than Handsome who claims marriage 'better than for years'. She and Granny are going to give AW a swim in the Handsomes' pool next week.
Feline Houdini caught a mouse last night. There was a cockroach in the bowl cupboard. And talking live -or dead-stock, a rabbit on the land. Very dead. Rigor mortis long set in. Beloved was afraid it might have been poisoned and left for our dogs by angry hunters (the kind of thing people do here) but on examination concluded it had been wounded and died of that; fur in its mouth, little shit balls oozing from its anus. Granny and Beautiful Wimp, incidentally, chased off hunters and dogs very successfully on Thursday evening. Good. They're getting the message.
Nice evening alone last night. Granny and Beloved watched not very impressive sunset from the upstairs room, once again all theirs. Grannyp
Friday, October 22, 2004
I killed a lizard yesterday; a little lively one with the usual big feet. It ran out of the front door under my feet and I trod on it. I hoped the wound wasn't terminal - alas it gave a little judder and died. When I picked it up by the tail it was already rigid, and there was a small smear of blood where it had lain. A shame. Such common beasts here yet still mythical, to me. They look like every image in aboriginal art across every continent.
The guests have gone. Kitchen cleared by ten and I stayed in bed till nine - after late nights and getting up at 7.30 for a week, what bliss. Breakface out on the terrace in the sun- more bliss. Didn't sleep well, again, but extra hour made up for it. The wind has gone back to the north east and the weather is beautiful though not as warm as two days ago. The shambly gardener didn't leave till late so we ate outside and then watched a spectacular sunset from the roof. It reflected red in the north east before those clouds faded and the west/southwest turned deep crimson. Think of all the sunsets there've ever been through the millennia; and not one the same. Amazing.
Shambly gardener had been exchanging emails with his widow inamorata whom he brought here last March, and from whom for a while, according to Beloved's Beloved Daughter, he had been trying to wriggle a bit - another man fearful of commitment. (Granny has known some.) No more, though: as they were on Beloved's email, and in the beginning left for all to see, we couldn't help but get a brief glimpse into this other granny-grandpa love life: his brief but quite amorous first message, brought a very straight-up response from her: earning the reply 'Dear Formal.' Her next was clearly less formal as, most likely his answer - he deleted both! A nice man, who seem to have learned a lot and already did know quite a bit about plants. Rather more than Beloved (the other teacher) knows about birdlife here - blind granny is going to have teach him a bit! He can do pigeons and rockpools, though. No problem.
Saw our spectacled warblers back yesterday. One species missed by the indefatigable birding guests. Shame? More later. Grannyp
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Last morning of guests. Breakfast over. Kitchen still full of dirty dishes from last night - dishwasher has already run three times! This is called bed breakfast and dinner.
Last night was so balmy we sat outside. Though the wind has gone round to the north this morning it is still minimal; early fog/cloud is gradually easing. If wind gets up we'll be back to normal, but for now still it's warm. Beloved and large gardener are about to appropriate this machine to do website for natural history course in the Spring. (Will anyone come?) So I write now. Not much except the domestic. Nice guests saw 28 out of list of 35 birds they'd come with so (many more than we have) so they are happy; not to say regretting departure. It's cold back there.
Off to empty and refill dishwasher. Tra la la. More later, if granny not totally flat (is possible. Another not very good night. Worry dreams. One of being taken by Nazi's but in privileged state, and frantically trying to rescue to same privileged state Jewish ex-husband rather than Beloved. Who didn't even seem in the picture. Naturally don't tell him about this one..)
It'll be good to be alone again for a bit.. I have my ticket ay last and will leave for cold and grandchildren on Monday week. Grannypxx
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Perfect day. Light southish wind, no cloud, islands just visible: 26C so far. Everyone out except for Handsome who is out back, rendering, and except for granny who has done her chores and should be writing. But feels disinclined. Printing up last section seems enough. All too soon anyway she will need to embark on tonight's dinner which in a foolish moment she took mostly on herself. Pudding done anyway - quince compote with ginger - a new discovery stewed quince; very subtle. Only problem is that quinces may look a bit like large slightly eccentric apples and may be according to the Oxford Book of Food Plants consulted by Beloved, very close in kind to pears, but are a hundred times tougher to peel and and cut and core than either.
Yesterday, even apart from the hard labour of cutting up quince, was not a good day; furious southwest wind, cloud, heavy humidity. Granny could hardly crawl all day; then woke this morning with migraine, dispelled thanks to wonders of usually maligned (by her!) pharmaceutical industry. Quiet guests got to see their bustard though - and cattle egrets on the back of goats; so they're happy. As is nice shambly gardener who went to Gran Canaria to see the Botanical Gardens and found it useful enough. Tonight all are eschewing the not great (as they seem to have discovered) culinary delights of our island, for the greater (we hope) culinary delights of Granny and Beloved. Enough. The sun maybe for a while + book. Oh why the hell not? Grannypxx
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Guests out, somewhat crochetty Beloved out in truck accompanied by tiresome terrier looking for furniture; Handsome out rendering walls on new toolshed. Beautiful wimp asleep in front, Feline Houdini ditto on kitchen floor (south wind stays: it's warm, if windy into the front door. Granny is writing about tea with a Pakistani family in Birmingham and listening to Water Music on radio (or is it fireworks? - she always gets them muddled up.) Yesterday, down at the mud flats, beautiful wimp put up a heron. Beloved and Granny almost ran over a hoopoe on way out; granny had to get out to shoo it off driveway. Grannyp
Monday, October 18, 2004
A column of smoke from vine cuttings in front: another behind; what passes for autumn here, I guess. Our Canarian neighbours have used our bolas - Canarian bowls - court, two nights running. Good we're appreciated by locals that way at least. Visitors not interested in bolas, as not in jacuzzi. Things have gone well enough, otherwise, except for the fact the flame on the tank that heats their water keeps going out and they are so polite and mild, not to say so pink and white, they don't tell us till it's too late to remedy it. Brits! Nice people though, who like the things in this island that matter.
Beloved cooking. Every saucepan in use as usual. Has just produced something mysterious wrapped in a tortilla and is asking me to try it. Hmm. Tidiness remains miraculous all except Granny and Beloved's own space which is the adult - sorry geriatric - version of a teenage tip. Complete with pin-up poster - Isak Dinesen in this case, one of Granny's longterm beloveds. (Who has ever heard of her now. Daresay Britney will be still obscurer fifty years hence. GOOD.) Grannypxx
Join the weather lottery. Wind in the night. Wind and sun now. Nieves the cleaner says weather patterns have changed totally this year- we know. Halcyon days no longer predictable. Noone daring to plant yet because they don't know what's to come, the cleaner says. Global warming we all say.
They've been out pruning the vines - some of the women wearing those ridiculous but effective bonnets to screen sun like latterday Voertrekers. Neat cones of clippings sit in fields, but are not yet set alight. Soon cones of smoke will rise all over. Canarian autumn. With the sun and rain and wind, the land looks beautiful enough to eat; never for one instant stays the same. You either like it or you don't but you cannot say it's like anywhere else in the world: it isn't.
Feline Houdini has not worked out his escape route: yet. We shall see. Beloved and Granny will be alone this evening, all guests elsewhere. Good. Granny off in search of a ticket to England, yet again. She may be reduced to standby. Bloody school holidays. Grannyp
Sunday, October 17, 2004
House empty: bliss. Post lunch somnia. (Is there such a word?) Siestas go with retirement like tea goes with cake. Houdini feline comat0se: dogs (both the beautiful wimp and the tiresome terrier) comatose. Beloved having retired to rest with 'Self-awareness in Humans and Animals' is likely to be comatose too, shortly. Granny who has to her sorrow finished Henderson the Rain King (it survived its violent contact with Beloved's head) now wonders, whither? A hard question after Saul Bellow. No unread detective stories in house alas, so some of Henry James rather shlockier (she hopes) short stories will have to do. At the very least, and with any luck, she will end up joining the sleepers. And it's sunny out there too. How unlike her own dear, dear London. Grannypxx
WHACKED. Perhaps because yesterday was a less arduous day. I visit the demented Attic Woman who as usual demands booze and fags (first one answer no, second she gets: one only.) But is more smily than sometimes and sweet and in the end says 'I'm lonely.' And I want to hug her. Of course she's lonely. How sad life is. How unkind. Noone wants to grow old like this.
Last night it poured with rain, unseasonally. The guests were out for dinner so we watched the Erotic Gherkin win the Stirling Prize. This morning it dawned ominous but has cleared; wind is right down. The two Canarian palms, one silhouetted against the sea, the other against the white Moroccan looking houses - my main measure of wind looking out from this laptop - hardly stir. The sun hits every terrace and the land has the live look it gets after rain. I'm listening to Private Passions with an American novelist. Chores all done. One of the best things about life here when guests visit is that everything is wonderfully tidy. Not so when Beloved and Granny are alone. Granny vows to keep the organisation up. But doesn't. Why? Ageing does not mean getting tidier - we are as we are. On the other hand you never stop hoping. Grannypxx
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Nobody in house under sixty. Think how we'd have seen that even 20 years ago. Horror! Joan Bakewell in Guardian column yesterday bewails that there is little discussion among the aged still about growing old; how it is. Such vast disparities of course. There's the demented Attic Woman more than a year younger than Granny and self living her cared-for geriatric life down the road. There's us, working as hard as ever, if differently from employment days. There are lonely widows and widowers, moneyless in back streets everywhere, still apologising for being alive. (That's one thing changed. The old used to be either meek, or bloody - with the odd wise good example, who just went on getting saner, Naomi Mitchison eg, Dora Russell. ). Noone walked up mountain, unless they were aged Andean or Nepalese say. with no option. And now? There's SAGA (Sex And Games Away) there's the Snow birds, of course (If the RV's rocking don't knock...) . There's self-help books. But ongoing discussion among ourselves? Do we want it? Death yes, everyone needs to think about death. And far-flung as we are we could do it all via the net. But apart from death isn't there so much else to think about still? Or not. (DISCUSS.) Grannyp
Hard work. Two nights of guests and full dinners. Smoked salmon, Canary style, rabbit with figs, Grannyp's own dark chocolate ice-cream and orange cake, first night. Granny's fennel risotto with vodka, Beloved's stuffed baby squid, Moroccan baked apples with Greek yoghourt, second. That's on top of breakfasts with Granny's own fig compote, fig jam, apricot jam, marmalade etc, mango and strawberries, local cheese and ham and home-made bread. Let everyone DROOL. (And come and stay. But not every week, please. Too much like hard work.)
Tonight only the nice large shambly man - like a an overgrown boy - who is going to do a natural history course for us next year is eating with us. (He asks, very tentatively, if we ate in the evening. We do indeed.) Tomorrow the same. So life is quieter. (Though Granny will have to continue to haul herself out of her bed much earlier than she likes to make breakfast. ) Weather not doing what it should be doing in October. (Windy: with quite a lot of cloud.) But guests seem happy enough exploring. Think it is beautiful and rare, as opposed to bizarre, bleak and ugly, like some (fortunately not many). They are not interested in the jacuzzi. They are interested in birds. Yesterday the wife thought she saw a bustard down near Playa Blanca. Husband doubted it. Granny will now finish being domestic, wielding hoover etc, etc, and maybe even do some writing. Good. But first a little walk round the land...
(Still no ticket. Beloved has one out on November 6th. But Granny who wants to go earlier than that is going to have go standby. The trials of a holiday island.) Grannyp
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Guests arrive; sleepless, so quiet - have same first names as Granny and Beloved which is odd. They are now drinking tea on our back terrace and claim not to be into jacuzzis....Sun is OUT after murky start. Feline Houdini successfully confined so far.
Cockerel noisy down at the bottom of our drive. We never see him. Because of courtyards, inner gardens - necessary on windy island - hens and goats etc tend to be confined within them; far more are around than is ever obvious. We have one Canarian neighbour with a parrot, several parakeets, pigeons, doves, large numbers of goats. You have no idea until you go to the back of her house. Downside are the flies - the wall of her goat house is black with them. The fly trap there is black too - nasty sight.Few cows here, though. Sheep are all milking sheep, the lop-eared kind which look more like goats. Granny did see two black and white cows the other day en route to the airport. God knows what they're fed on. There is NO grass. Feeding horses - there are horses - many of them beautiful thickset Spanish Riding School types - is an expensive business.
Guests to be attended to. Granny and Beloved are off for a swim and to run the dogs and then it's all hard labour. grannypxx
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Feline Houdini did it again; Beloved found him in the sitting-room this morning, on newly-washed sofa covers. Further measures have been taken. We shall see.
Granny a little worse for wear this morning after mildly alcoholic dinner with prospective tenant of studio. Handsome from Blackburn claims to have sleepless nights worrying about this. Prospective tenant has two dogs - one very large - a Swiss mountain dog. ..Also he DOESN'T TRUST HER. We reassure him. Comic situation where Granny and her Beloved feel responsible for Mr and Mrs Handsome, Mr Handsome, at least feel they cannot do without him. Both cases somewhat true probably. A kind of symbiosis.
All ready more or less. Skies have been cloudy mostly today. We cannot tidy up the weather. Tomorrow mine hosts will be mine hosting - more to Beloved's enjoyment than Granny's. But it's money. Goodnight sweet reader (or not reader.) Grannyp xxx
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Mrs Handsome has returned and she and Handsome seem to have made it up handsomely, judging by his smug grin this morning. Thanks due to Janet Reger? ...noone's asking.
Spanish National day today means nothing open. Bloody nuisance in all our rush and bother...Granny and Beloved exhausted getting house etc ready for visitors. Not until they start something and so look closely do they realise general muckiness .... the one medium-sized job generates 50 large ones. Granny's exhaustion not eased by current book making fireworks in her head, entailing odd rushes to laptop and pieces of paper. Beloved rather unwisely last night accused her of not pulling weight because too busy 'playing', ie writing. This unfortunate way of putting it led to his getting Henderson the Rain King thrown at his head and to an irate granny retiring to bed alone. Writing, she maintains, is NOT playing. IT IS WHAT SHE DOES. He doesn't notice her domestic activities anyway because long sight of ageing means he can't see dust, grot, etc which she spends her time removing. Etc.
Apologies this morning all round. So everything sweet again. Neither of have been sleeping well, which doesn't help. Mosquitoes rare here, but owing to unseasonal weekend rain, probably, an odd bugger got lucky in the flesh of Granny and Beloved, two nights running. They're itching.
Off to sort clothes; granny has moved herself lock stock and ..from spectacular room she and Beloved inhabit when alone, to accommodate guests. Has been ironing sheets and making up beds. No natural chambermaid she. How come hotel chambermaids make beds look as if made up by machine? Her beds do not look machine-made. During all the merry madness her hearing aid got thrown in the bin - oh the trials of age: but luckily she noticed. In haste. But not too much haste (see last). xxxGranny.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Wet dreams in the ageing: the female equivalent of wet dreams at least. Several times lately granny has dreamed of desirable suitors (at her age she should be so lucky..) all of whom she rejects, a little reluctantly sometimes, in favour of fidelity to Beloved; who is pleased when she reports this (she edits out the 'reluctance', of course.) Last night, though, after much difficulty in falling asleep she dreams of several still desirable ex-beloveds plus a new one or two, each very tempting briefly, not to say sexy - all in the end turn up with other partners: granny wakes melancholy. This dream, naturally, she doesn't report to Beloved. The melancholy passes, fortunately.
When do such dreams stop coming? Never? If Granny lives till she's a hundred will she still find them recurring? Does anyone know? Half of her hopes not; the other half, she must say, suspects she might miss them.
Today, appositely, Mr and Mrs Handsome are re-united. Mr H from B too has a sleepless night at the prospect and fails to turn up here this morning as promised. Beloved has to mend the new door, unaided- one part of the wooden latch had not allowed for strength of frantic cat and dogs in attempting to breach it. Mr H, ever solicitous of what he regards as his responsibility for Granny and Beloved, promises to come later, when he's picked up Mrs H from the airport, but they tell him, firmly, that his whole job today is to make it up with Mrs H. Which presumably he is now doing, no doubt with the help of Janet Reger bra and knickers he's bought for her. (Beloved snorts a bit at this; he does not understand the attraction of sexy underwear; granny's skin he says is the only underwear he needs to turns him on. Bless him. Just as well, though, doubt if Janet Reger or any other, no matter how expensive, would do much for Granny's caesarian scarred nether regions; no Cleopatra she: age definitely withers her. )
At long last Houdini cat seems successfully contained. Sunny: very. Threatened wind does not get up. Washing line permanently full - washing machine never stops rub-a-dub-dubbing; chair covers, sheets, pillowcases, towels etc busily scrubbing themselves for shortly arriving guests. Grannypxxx
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Stop press: Eldest beloved granddaughter has sent - or her parents have sent - photo of herself holding up own version of Frida Kahlo's self-portrait. What it is to have an 8 year old grand-daughter obsessed with such an (unsuitable perhaps? what does she make of the pierced limbs. cut open bellies?) painter discovered in a book on your shelves! She shows signs of liking opera too. This is too much. Youngest beloved grand-daughter, meanwhile, aged 3 - not beautiful exactly, like her wonderfully oddball elder sister but full of what granny's long dead mother would have called 'oomph' - is the Zuleika Dobson of her new nursery class - all the little boys are following her around. This may be a slightly more double-edged achievement, if maintained, in adolescence, let alone maturity, but nice all the same. From here granddaughters do seem so near and yet so very far. A problem. Granny misses them. It's called EXILE.
Cactus flower still living! Grannyp
Souunds of 'pop pop pop' from all over. But no hunters here. We are beginning to think they are less likely to come once allowed to use guns because they cannot shoot so near to houses. Let's hope so.
No phone till just before lunch, since yesterday lunchtime. Some Telefonica problem, not that our bank account did not hold enough to pay the (automatically debited) bill. (This can happen; Banks don't warn you in advance. Nor can you access your account over the internet to check, as with our English banks.) We still cannot get the answer service, despite constant promises ('within 3 days'; 'within 24 hours': etc.) Ha. Ha. No accelerating piece for the connection box arrives either. Our internet connection lumbers still.
Rain and cloud from SW yesterday has gone. NE wind, sharper, but brilliant sun. Arrival of our guests is beginning to loom. I wash cushion covers, bedspreads etc. Beloved is busy cooking.
Cat still decorated with bandage and furious about being confined. What else to report? Nothing. Granny has been mildly melancholy. Beloved says he doesn't know what melancholy is, nor does he recognise such a thing as her sinking feeling before confronting an empty page. But then he's a scientist. Or else Superman. (Yes and no!) One thing about lack of connection to Blogger and all other internet delights is that more got written....She will have to reflect on this. Grannyp
Saturday, October 09, 2004
At lunchtime escapologist cat is discovered to be war-wounded. Consequence of nights on tiles we don't doubt. Beloved now agrees with Granny that these should be discouraged. Local tom wailing outside in the small hours is likely cause of the large raw patch on back of cat's neck. He does not appreciate betadine soaked bandage which now encircles it. No more nights out for him though, assuming we have at last got Houdini licked.
Kestral has twice this morning been hovering outside the kitchen window, after long absence. Could he have inflicted Houdini's wound???? Probably not. Grannyp
Escapologist cat sat on computer; got this up....Who wants a feline Houdini?
Our fond hopes of having confined him at last proved unfounded. He escaped through gap behind small fridge. We inserted wooden panel and got that sorted out; he then managed to open window, spent last night out anyway. But not before we'd succeeded in locking ourselves out - on balmy evening we ate on back terrace and had shut all doors behind us to keep him in. Beloved had an inelegant scramble through a high window, which was, fortunately. open.
Cactus bud has opened: flower six large hairy and bent-back petals, the colour of dried blood. More impressive than pretty.
Not so balmy this morning. Granny a little melancholy with Radio 3 (very faint these days...connection to speakers?) and Guardian books online. Must now write - none done yesterday owing to shopping etc. Also owing to attempts to extract creatures from rock pools at low tide. Combination of small tide range at moment and impressive waves meant usual pools not very accessible. Both Beloved and Granny got very wet and neither garnered much in the way of fish, shrimps, snails etc. Billowing sea, though, brilliant blue, green, white, was a pleasure, which made up for everything in Granny's opinion. In due course she left getting wet to Beloved and sat and watched. She has always liked the sea. (Her mother put this down to their Viking ancestry. She could have been right.)
Thursday, October 07, 2004
No hunters all day. Cat's confinement in vain. We meantime fail to buy tickets for UK because travel co has had electricity cut off by electricity company; its paid bill has been confused with unpaid one of construction firm behind, and to date - two days so far - electric bureaucrats show no willingness to unscramble it. Such things happen here.
Sky clear, gold and blue evening, little wind. This is when exile seems better. In UK they're muttering about floods. Our art course should have started today but for disappearance of dearest artist friend. Grannyp in a mournful moment looks his name up in Google and finds he shares it with - among others - the non-existant perpetrator of an infamous chain letter, and another man who was not found when they tried to bury his wife alongside him in the same grave, in Pittsburgh USA. These all - like dear friend - seem a long long way from here. (But he's the only one regretted.) Grannyp
SAGA holidays; SAGA as in 'SEX AND GAMES AWAY'. Bet you didn't know that.
Granny and Beloved do now thanks to Chief Carer, with whom they had a meeting yesterday to discuss Attic Woman finances etc etc. One of CC's many other jobs is fielding Saga clients at the Saga hotel in a resort I won't name when they are - frequently - in trouble; often because drunk. ('I walk in at breakfast time and half them are away already on Bucks Fizz'..) In the past 2 weeks out of 40 Saga guests 7 were emergencies. Two broken limbs from falling down by the swimming-pool, one gall stones -already diagnosed but re-activated after an overdose of Sangrias, one heart attack following 'unaccustomed activity' (guess what) one guest with an unreported, full-time attendance allowance back in the UK, who turns over her supposedly indoor invalid car in the street and nearly gets run over, one with a broken leg also from a drunken fall, and one more granny can't remember. Holiday Insurance on a Saga Holiday is twice as expensive as on any other. You can see why.
We ask if our house would make a care home if we ever want to sell it. No, because noone wants to go 'right out in the sticks.' (We are always being told we are 'right out in the sticks' despite being 20 minutes only, from airport, main town, main resorts.... This is a small island.) Hurray for out in the sticks we say, looking out at our islands. Less profit, though. Pity.
Sun. Light west Wind. Hunting day. Confined- to- barracks cat driving granny insane. (The window by which he hopes to exit sits just behind this laptop.) Sympathy with him has not stopped her taking him by the scruff and dumping him in the back; she is busily ignoring the still indignant yowls. They'll stop soon. With luck. Grannyp
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Stop Press. We have a door between dining-room and sitting-room. The cat spent the night for the first time just where he's supposed to in the playground of the mice he is employed to catch. Triumph for us - doubt if he sees it like that.
The Handsomes' lives are settling, are little. Handsome feeds us updates between watering plants (hardly necessary after highly unseasonal downpour two nights ago: Global Warming?) and working on his shed, mostly meant for tools: but probably also to be used for housing dogs at night so that their barking won't keep guests awake. (We're more used to it. ) Mrs Handsome should come home soon. The unson-in-law having progressed from intensive care, via theatre to remove his knife blade, via high-input (or something like that) care, via ordinary ward, has been sent home to recuperate. But is suffering flashbacks and is not a happy man. No more night life for him. He even wants to move out of Blackburn.
We meantime have some quiet days before the guests arrive next week. Some cooking done, more writing, that's it. Granny had coffee with Attic Woman yesterday (very quiet; her only question, as usual, the whereabouts of Beloved) followed by lunch with her Bottle-blond friend. It was hot hot hot in Playa Blanca. Cooler up here.
Spain since the first of October has a new penal code which gives animals the same rights as humans and makes ill-treatment of them punishable by law. Let's hope it is no more inadequate than the law against the ill-treatment of wives. Same applies in UK, so don't be so smug, granny. xxxx
West winds. Quiet morning, cleaner cleaning, cat de-fleaed. The cactus in the sitting-room has a large bud on it which declines to open - such events have their own excitement; like the one when three very pretty little yellow toadstools with scalloped patternings appeared in the herb box on the window-sill in the kitchen. From where? They came and went, as the cactus flower will. Waiting for it meanwhile seems interminal.
To work. Grannyp
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Woke to dense fog. Every sign of a perfect day behind it. Yesterday was cloudy on and off all day. It rained in the night. Granny and Beloved had not slept well after a dispute and this overhung everything, though it was pretty much cleared up by lunchtime. Unlike the weather.
All such disputes territorial: taking and giving of space against not taking/not giving. Inevitable I suppose - two longish-lived people coming together with totally different patterns and different expectations of what the other owes, or doesn't owe, them. All of it coming up hard against insecurities dating back to childhood. (Beloved doesn't agree with this; prefers to see us much more in control of our actions, our fates. Or rather prefers to see himself that way. He's wrong.) Exhausting just the same.
Today German Actionman is coming to fix the door between sitting-room and dining-room. Meaning I've some hope - at last - of keeping the cat off the sitting-room covers and in at night. Even Beloved should manage to shut one of the then 3 doors between feline and freedom behind him! My cat's job is to pursue mice in the house rather than mice and lizards - let alone birds - on the land.
Handsome wants to cut down self-seeded solanium? tree in front. A weed he says. The said 'weed' supports a whole flock of sparrows...so up yours, says Granny, though not quite so directly to Handsome's handsome face - he's surprisingly disconcerted by her command of the vernacular. Nice ladies - particularly ageing ones - don't know, let alone use words like that, surely? Ha ha, says Granny (who even knows some of them in Spanish. Even yells them at the hunters, when necessary.) The sun is coming out. Granny p
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Who's interested in grannies? 'Ask my readers,' says Blogger Home. What readers?
Sun wind hot again. Realise that in England it's getting cooler, winter claws are sneaking out. This is when exile feels easiest, sneaking round in shorts still and sunglasses.
Yesterday Granny did what what grannies are supposed to do; made a cake. A sensuous cake. The smell of the ingredients; cardomum, lemon rind, lemon juice; ground up walnuts and almonds - let alone the smell of its cooking- filled her with longing, even ecstasy. Sensuous eating ought to be avoided, of course. Though she did not manage that entirely, trying some before cutting it up for next week's guests, granny's new exercise regime - stretches in bathroom, power walk round land, before breakfast - added to usual swim should help mitigate some of the effects. Cake now in freezer - just as well for shape of Granny's bum. (Already generous would be the kindest way of putting it.) xxx
Hunter day. Cat incarcerated but no hunters as yet. Turns out they do trespass illegally on our land: f0r all it's uncultivated state it counts as a private garden. (I was told last year that they were licensed, so could go anywhere. Not so.)
Dry, half sun. Wind! There's not supposed to be any in October. The world has gone mad.
A day without concrete mixers and heavy construction trucks, though. This island is in a continual state of building, for locals, expats and tourists alike. They've reached their limit in terms of visitors of old Europe who are heading further afield these days. They are going to make up, we are told, with those from new Europe, from the former Iron Curtain countries. What will happen to businesses like Jimmy's Bar, Brenda's Brasserie, etc. Janek's? Bruna's? We'll see. Meantime the trucks rumble along with lines of cars before them, the striped mixers turn and turn, the grey hulks proliferate, waiting to be painted white, many with diddy, pointed post-modernist caps on top. The developers get richer. The architect/artist who tried to keep the island unsullied must be turning in his grave - maybe will even trigger the next volcanic eruption... A fitting revenge.
Our bi-lingual neighbour from Minorca is going to rent our studio from November, plus her two dogs; one very large. Beloved agitated that I've agreed to this but without discussing rent. Over to him! Another saddish person who claims her 'life is in pieces'. There seem to be a lot of people in flight from one thing and another here. (Us too?) Mostly it is old age, which then catches up with them. See Attic Woman's housemates. And all those who the chief carer is forever trying to sort out.
Beloved is off buying knickers (for Attic Woman..) Saturday Guardian + its book supp: (for me.) He will then visit AW to take the stitches out of her dog's paws and her out to coffee; where she will probably be begging for a cigarette every five minutes. Poor sad ghost -you can imagine the voice lingering on in her house even when she is a real one......'Give me a cigarette - please....'. (Her son is supposed to be coming to see her, but doesn't make up his mind. Beloved and Granny suspect that he's got cold feet about it. But at least he knows he can come; that he's not being kept away.)
Beloved's absence all morning means no excuse not to write. I feel that usual empty, heart and stomach sinking. No more excuses. Onward Grannyp. Onward.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Radio 3. CD Review. The pleasure of Saturday morning via the Internet. They're comparing recordings of the Berg Violin Concerto. Alas, thereafter, Beloved and Granny have to go in search of plants and tiles, so she will miss all the rest.
So strange to look out on the warrens of little fields like a giant, above ground, stone puffin burrow; prickly pears, cacti, aloe vera; two lone palm trees not tossing about too much this morning - no cloud to speak of, the wind has shifted to the North East, is cooler, but as yet quite light. And then the white low houses, and the stark hills, more dramatic than they are high; and the as yet invisible sea. An illusion of distance, within that always ultimately claustrophobic space, an island. The shape of the landscape and the fields are of course, indigenous. Strange to think how much else is imported - palms and houses from Africa, probably, prickly pears - maybe aloe vera too - from South America; these inhabitants - us - from England. (Most of our neighbours, though, I suspect reach back to the Guanches; they have all the stocky stoicism and unto-themselvesness of the long-ago colonised.)
Last night, from about five to seven, there was a powercut over all of our part of the island. Men huddled in darkened bars. We went for a drink - what else, no water, phone, music, stove etc etc - and ended up going out to dinner in a newly discovered restaurant, which turned out as usual here disappointing. Beloved did not sleep well after this. If Granny moved close to him in bed she was accused of pushing him out; if further away, of hogging all the bedclothes.. She nearly gave up and retired to read current book (Bellow's Henderson the Rain King, read before but so long ago it feels entirely new to her.) But fell asleep finally. Walked round the land early, serenaded by squealing pigs from over the wall, and followed by her hungry cat. (No wonder witches' cats were always called their familiars. Cats are like that, unlike their lone reputations.)
To tiles etc. Grannyp
Friday, October 01, 2004
Wind still hot. Islands still visible but slowly fading.
Nice thing about calimas are balmy nights. The hot wind eases towards evening and we eat outside in shorts and tank-tops. Up here this is not so usual. Last night we fed Handsome too and sat out till nearly 10. Luxury. Hot nights not so good for sleeping though. Also wind got up furiously in small hours, knocked bottles and glasses off the table outside, banged doors and windows. Again had eased by morning.
Morning scrubbing. Beloved seems yet again to have used every saucepan we own... the downside of a cooking male. Cat out after being penned in all day and night yesterday. He caught a mouse when we came in last night and there ensued stand-off between him, mouse and border terrier who considers rodents her perk, forget any resident feline. In vain this time. Mouse skittered away a bit, but died. Cat and dog lost interest in its corpse which lay on the rug till Beloved removed it. Next excitement was a cockroach, uncaught, though granny fled for the cucharacha spray. (Ah, ah, all those years of music in which she thought 'la cucharacha' was something glamourous instead of one of those creepy irridescent, over-large orange- brown insects which infest everything if you don't watch it. Ours lurk in the septic tank. We only suffer the odd one, they don't overrun us as they do in more urban areas here provided we keep plug holes etc blocked up. We do.)
Agriculture minimal at the moment, apart from the odd patch of sweet potatoes, pumpkins and some lentils. Our neighbours have raised a line of humps and planted something in their garden. Also set out lines of white stones to mark something else. We don't plant anything. Might try a pomegranate once the rains start. After yesterday's constant blast of hot wind on them granny's nasturtiums are not happy. There is a coating of red dust on the dining-room table. Granny p