No, no don't get Granny wrong; she thinks cycling is a wonderful, not to say ecological, not to say healthy form of transport which we should all adopt. NOW. Goodbye cars. What she objects to is so many roads on her island being currently clogged with shaven legged, beetle-headed wiry men in logo-covered lycra. Solitary one as here can be lived with in all senses except aesthetic ones. Not so phalanx of twenty riding three abreast up steep hills. Maybe they are all hoping to win the Tour de France; this island being where some of them train in winter. Who cares if they win the Tour de France? But could they please not sit ahead of Granny trying to fetch/carry visitors/ecotourists to and from sites of interest, let alone to and from their much less ecological forms of transport - namely aircraft - which wait for no man, certainly not those held up by triple rows of straining but neat buttocks in day-glo lycra....
Never mind. They've all gone - tourists anyway - and Granny is brain-dead. Nothing left but statistics: try some:
12 loaves of bread; 2 and a half large cakes; 3 batches of biscuits; a whole packet of wheatabix, ditto muesli, a dairyful of yoghourt, a bowlful of fruit, two large kilner jars of Granny's fig compote, 1 jar of marmalade, 1 each ditto of apricot jam and fig jam (home-made, natch) approx half a kilo of butter, 3 packets of ham, 2 cheeses, two large tortillas..... this is just breakfast and teatime consumption of 5 not very large, let alone fat, wrinklies - nice ones - really - average age 68. God knows where they put it all. Some time Granny might put up the dinner menus - but not today - enough to say that everything on them got eaten up too. Does this mean they LIKED it all? Possibly.
(And unlike G and B they also, all, ate large lunches. Not, thank god, provided by them.)
Non-pork and shellfish eater turned out not to be Jewish, just self-styled - loudly - at length -'fussy eater.' Granny and Beloved enjoyed introducing her to chilli....small shrieks of dismay - but she did end up saying 'I've eaten more new foods this week than I've eaten since I was 20. And I LIKED them.' (Lady was/ is traveller all over the world; how she had managed to avoid EVER eating Indian food, Thai food, Chinese food, let alone chilli, a total mystery. She is an ardent tennis player - which may not be relevant, but who knows.)
The one man- the eldest, who reminded Granny a little of her dad, but wittier, did say - not, obviously, to G and B. 'I think I'm looking forward to roast beef and brussel sprouts.' But he also told to them on departure; 'I think I could get to like sushi.'
This is an achievement...
Other statistics; thanks to nice horticulturalist friend leading the group Granny now knows she has no less than 30 different kinds of flowers on her land, including 10 - at least - varieties of daisies. He was quite as dazzled as she is, as was the one genuine naturalist among them who has taken pictures to relay to expert who might know what some of the more puzzling species are. (Canarian flowerbooks more baffling than helpful; but then aren't botanical books always baffling? Botanists are good at communicating with each other mainly, but not to the rest ofi us. )
Rainy days; 1; hazy days 2. mostly sunny days 3. Rainy day unfortunately was one in which Granny and punters trailed through Volcanic park in sheets of the stuff, unable to see any of it. Soaking wet punters 6. Photos taken of volcanoes: nil. Photos taken overall; approximately 250.
Spats between overworked Granny and Beloved: 2 (not bad..)
Generally you could say it was a success. Except for knackering effects on cook, kitchenmaid*, laundrymaid, chambermaid, hostess, guide and her equally overworked Beloved. No more of such things till September. Thank God for that.
The only thing did overeat was the dishwasher, seemingly. It packed up two days before end. *Hence kitchenmaid.
Functioning dishwashers: nil
letters/emails ofencouragement from agent/publisher: nil.
Happy St Patrick's Day to Gordon Brown who has just presented the old folks with 200 smackers and a bus pass each. Generous of him. At this rate Granny, in particular, will need it.