Cat has fleas - despite being anointed by substance as expensive as caviar. Fleas must think it IS caviar; their kind of caviar. Mosquitoes usually fairly quiescent here are more in evidence - on the flesh - the weather has been a little damper than usual in summer this year. Down at the beach the sandflies leap up from the tideline. All of these little dears seem to think Granny delicious. She is spotty from top to bottom. "What's going on? Why are you so fidgety?' asks Beloved, as Granny scratches the all-over itches in bed. The only thing bites him are the sandflies. 'Get used to them,' he says. Granny should be so stoic. She isn't. She thinks of all those people in past ages, when there was little you could do about bedbugs, fleas, lice, mosquitoes. When there were no insecticides to get rid of the insects, no creams to soothe the itches. Under all their elaborate clothes, they must all of them have been itching like crazy. The Infanta, her maids, the King of Spain, Valazquez himself in that picture of pictures Las Meninas, must havc been itching like crazy - look at the big dog lying almost at the Infanta's feet. So must Queen Elizabeth have itched, despite her whale-bone from top to toe, so must King Henry the Eighth in his padded everything. They probably stank too, all of them. Even had there been dry cleaners in those days, they couldn't have dealt with all that gilt, etc. Launderers certainly couldn't.
'They got used to the itch,' said Beloved. 'So should you. I get used to it,' he said pointing out his few measly little sandfly bites. 'Well I don't,' said Granny, scratching again.
Island still smells faintly of smoke. Sunday was St John's day. Custom all over seems to be bonfires on St John's Eve - whole island was ablaze. It's the local equivalent of November 5th and no less pagan, despite the saint's being thrown in: fires are less to celebrate him than to inhibit witches. Red Cross warnings abounded in the local press the day before; reports of people burnt abounded the day after. People jump over the fires and throw themselves into the sea sometimes Granny is told. She didn't see it - she was very tired that night; she saw and smelt the fires on the way home from dinner out with Beloved and some friends, but didn't investigate.
What the fires did give her is the climax for her Lanzarote book. Plot, for her, always does spring from landscape and local event. An idea is like the grain of sand in an oystershell round which the pearl grows, assuming it is the right idea; for pearl here read story. Then you- she - goes on from there, using anything that comes along to stimulate its growth. Whether the story this time is pearl who knows. It might be fake pearl. It might just be an overlarge grain of common sand. How can she tell? All has yet to be written. ....oh the weary grind of the writer's life. Off to write another chapter, then back to Going Mental. Toodleoo.