Montaigne and a manky cabbage
A. Another lake at the bottom of the land after yet another furious rainstorm last night
B. Rainstorm -I think- if not something else has wiped out telephone connection. Unless the cause is something that will dry out this means yet another prolonged battle with Telefonica- they may sound efficient in Madrid but try them here....Chance of reconnection before Monday nil Granny thinks. Fortunately the line belonging to the Lady with Big and Little Dog is working OK, so Granny is on her machine right now in company of B&L Ds.
C. She has in the last few days made 1) cardomum and rosewater ice cream which not only sounds fit for Sheherezade, it is, it is. Merely the smell of it would give Richard Burton (not Elizabeth Taylor´s, the other one) an orgasm. Let alone the taste. 2) covered candied orange peel (her own) in dark chocolate. Ditto. 3) A Seville orange cake. She will 4) when she returns to her Internetless, so comfort-blanketless kitchen (she will have to reflect on this) make a bitter chocolate icecream. All this for lucky guests next week.
D. On further inspecting manky cabbage - above - she has decided that Mr Handsome from Blackburn might have a point. It does need retiring. (Bananas, citrus, olives also look pretty manky right now too, they don´t like this weather either. But should recover when sun and warmth return. The new guava tree lost its leaves too, but is producing 2 fruit! The very first.) She might do a deal with him. Goodbye cabbage, welcome papaya in return for cabbage seed planted elsewhere.
This blog does seem to have had a thing about cabbages lately. Even now, proposing to move to higher things - or thing - or man - that is the divine (she means DIVINE) sixteenth century Frenchman, Montaigne, cabbages will feature.
Montaigne Granny sees as the precurser of all bloggers. His essays, so-called, bear very little relation to the kind of essays enjoined on schoolchildren - theory - discussion - summing-up -conclusion - they wander here there everywhere, just like us. An ´essay´ called ´Coaches´ starts off with vehicles, proceeds via various digressions to the behaviour of monarchs and from thence to a long rant against the appalling behaviour of the conquistadors towards Indians in Latin America. (Montaigne was by no means an ethnocentric European - another essay on cannibals defends them by saying they would regard some European customs as quite as strange and abhorrent as Europeans regard theirs. He does think highly of suttee for widows, alas. But then noone´s perfect and this was more than 500 years ago.)
Cabbages then? Ah. Granny first came across the divine Monsieur M when asked to compose a funeral service for husband no 2´s agnostic uncle; who, she was told, had been reading Montaigne only 3 weeks before he died. She opened it up and found an essay called ´to philosophise is to learn how to die.´ Oh yes, she thought, oh yes. (She´s sure the also wonderful Zinnia Cyclamen of www.realefun.blogspot.com must know this too.)
Let´s go on:
At the end of our course is death. It is the objective necessarily within our sights. If death frightens us how can we go forward without anguish. For ordinary people the remedy is not to think about it...no wonder they are caught in a trap. You can frighten such people simply by mentioning death.....(But) we do not know where death awaits us; so let us wait for it everywhere. To practise death is to practise freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave....
Finally - here we come back to cabbages at last - We are born for action: I want us to be doing things, prolonging life´s duties as much as we can. I want Death to find me planting my cabbages, neither worrying about it, nor the unfinished gardening...
So you see. Granny doesn´t know whether he got his wish - or whether he died less pleasantly in his bed or otherwise- though in his day at least, pneumonia still the old man´s friend, he wouldn´t have been cruelly kept alive the way Granny´s old dad was, among others. Seems to her that we could with a lot more of Montaigne´s sense now. She remembers with some dismay a doctor she heard of who said: ´there´s no such thing as a good death.´ And patients in a geriatric ward in Nottingham, filmed during a fly-on-the wall documentary, who when asked as they have to be asked now whether they wanted to be rescussitated in case of heart failure or other mortal problem following surgery all said ´why are you talking about death? I haven´t come here to die. I don´t want to think about death..´ And all of them between 70 and 90 odd years old...I mean to say.
Enough. But you can see that Montaigne would have walked off with a Bloggie award. And you can see perhaps why Granny likes the thought of planting cabbages. Though come to think of it to die while making ice-cream for Sheherazade might do: (a shame not to get to taste it though, she thinks. Hard to live up to M. de M entirely.)