Getting to Moscow - revised
The Lady with the Big and Little Dogs came to dinner - minus dogs. The Lady explained her flit. The long and the short of it is that a) she now has a boyfriend - a member of the Guardia Civil, no less; that b) Beloved, upon leaving for England, locked her out of his and granny's part of the house, thinking she was already off on holiday till after their return - she wasn't; that c) the electricity then tripped cutting off her water light fridge shower etc, all of which she assumed was Mr Handsome playing games with her, owing to previous dissensions (details of which were also divulged; but had better remain private.) You'll leave says Mr Policeman, or I'll beat Handsome up. So out she comes; though she had not expected Mr Policeman to remove every last bit of her stuff in her subsequent three week absence on holiday - presumably to make sure she did not change her mind. That was as much as a surprise to her as it was to Beloved and Granny.
She is regretful. 'I loved my little house,' she said wistfully as she and granny stood outside on what had been her patio. And 'It felt like a family here' - a nice way of putting it, that Granny, also wistfully, concurred with. So did the shrike, who appears to have taken to roosting overnight in the passion flower beginning to cover the pergola. He startled them by rustling it, and poking out his head, seemingly cross at being disturbed in middle of the night.
The Lady is now presumably living with the policeman. She was too coy to say. 'I've told him the relationship is nice but will only last until I get myself to Canada,' she says. If it breaks up for other reasons, Granny suspects she will be back. She hopes so. Lady is curious mixture of prim, prickly and extensive, not to say dubious, new age health theories that glaze the eyes of Beloved as soon as she starts on them. But Granny is fond of her all the same.
Canada? Moscow? Ever since Granny has met her, the Lady has proclaimed a desire to live in Canada. She has never been there; she just once did a course on American Indians. Nor does she seem any nearer even visiting than she did two years ago. If her dog(s) connect her in Granny's eyes to Chekov's lady from Yalta, her yen for the Rockies reminds her of all those frustrated ladies in his plays, all of them yearning for Moscow. She suspects that the Lady may not succeed in reaching her goal any more than they did.
Granny, observing Beloved through both the exchanges with the Lady and those with Mr and Mrs Handsome, realises how differently he deals with people from the way most councillors, psychotherapists, concerned friends do, from the way she does. Unlike them he does not empathise, imagine himself in similar situations. People's emotional vagaries, their marital strayings are incomprehensible to him. He can't imagine behaving in such ways himself. What he does, observing, directing, persuading, is apply his knowledge of animal behaviour. It works.
When they were not discussing the fallout from her feud with Mr Handsome, the Lady also informed G and her B that the only things you can erect on this island, without permission are wooden huts (means chicken house is OK; phew, what a relief) or dry-stone walls. Otherwise even pergolas are supposed to be applied for. As for the new patios Mr Handsome is building for them....Oh dear. Only reason for getting permission of course is that you have to pay fat sum to the Cabildo, the island council; else something in kind. Man down the road - who, incidentally, makes his living out of the drug dealing - something police know perfectly well, but since he's not a Mr Big merely keep him under observation - got permission to build very elaborate stone wall in front of his house by ceding two metres of his land: if the Cabildo ever wants to widen and tarmac road in front of him they can. Granny and Beloved have no such inducements to offer.
One of their neighbours comes from the family that used to live in this house; she was asked by local police to inform them if the previous owner, the Englishman who restored its ruin, erected anything not in the original building. She said, fortunately, 'why should I unless you pay me?' As a result the police don't know - even if the local Ayuntamiento - the Town Hall - does - that the house has been sold on.
So maybe they won't get a visit from the police demanding they rip down everything - pergolas, raised walls, patios. But they could. It happens.
(Also, Granny wonders - what WILL they do without the Lady passing on all such local information/gossip? Oh dear.)