Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

towelling mysteries..

The weather has improved - the islands are visible again - and Granny's black dog did not come a-biting after all. Use of her hammock, the hot-tub, swimming, soothed things: the visitors went away happy and Granny has been sorting out her linen with the (hoped-for) prospect of all the visitors to come once the house appears on the website of the prestigious bed and breakfast guide (she will tell you more about that, once it does...). Explain to her though....how do up five or six face clothes of assorted colours and at last one hand towel just DISAPPEAR? She can't believe visitors run off with them, why should they? Do the dogs eat them? The cat? The occasional cockroaches? Do they get blown from the line by the wind?

Beloved is sanguine. 'They'll just turn up,' he says. Granny, having turned out every single linen chest/drawer/cupboard in the house is not sanguine. Still, all this useful domestic labour and the conundrums resulting stop her contemplating the fact that she was a writer once and doesn't seem to be any longer. The black dog will appear in style, fast, if she contemplates that one too long...... So back to work - making cakes perhaps for the freezer? - or applying herself to the job of trying to persuade the cat, Feline Lorengar, to use the newly installed cat door. Why is it so reluctant? Is it just a stupid cat? No,' says the animal man. 'It's probably just very cautious.' Whatever the case Granny is still crying 'puss puss puss', rattling food bowls, pushing and pulling all in vain. Cat did enter once that way - her hopes rose - but fell when it refused to do so subsequently. And continues to refuse to do so.

In betweenwhiles Granny has been applying herself to the US elections, thanks to the somehow unlikely fact that she can get the BBC parliament programme on her island and it showed the Democratic Convention in full. She watched all Barack Obama's speech and was knocked for six. If US electors fail to put him in, she'll despair of them she really will. To find a politician who is clearly so sane and intelligent .... And then to elect - if they do - a 72 year old with an evil temper and a totally untried 44 year old pro-life woman - surely Hilary's pissed-off supporters won't/can't go for that? Can they?

In passing: Obama's kids.... Granny feels kind of sorry for them - and impressed. She can't see any of her grandchildren at any age, let alone seven, sitting still all the way through their dad's hour-long speeches. And then that endless waving from platforms....? what effect does that have in the longterm? Chelsea Clinton - still forced to do the waving and smiling - seems to have done OK. So maybe, maybe. But it's not exactly what you'd call normal childhood. More like short-term royalty and on this side of the Atlantic we know what the long-term version does to the real thing, don't we?

And while we're being political: Granny has some particular feeling for the Russia/Georgia situation after watching the Georgian national ballet in Edinburgh. The Georgian musicians supposed to appear live could not do so and Granny like everyone else clapped and cheered in support when the ballet's director appeared on stage wrapped in the Georgian flag. Nor does she have any positive feelings about the thugs in charge of Russia. But wouldn't you say there was something a mite provocative about suggesting NATO membership to two of Russia's closest neighbours - both formerly part of the Soviet Union? And even more provocative about proposing to park an anti-missile system - pointless as it may be - on the territory of yet another?

Just asking, that's all. And thinking - with a hopeful sigh - that maybe Barack Obama might manage not to be so stupid. Over to you, Americans. Granny will keep hoping. (Any moment now, what's more she will be among you for three weeks, hectoring... WATCH OUT!!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

robot reading

In the light of curiosity about Beloved's robot, here it is. A literate robot, as you can see: unlike its inventor, though, it is programmed to avoid all obstacles as it runs around. Human bookworms like Granny - she has been known to collide with the odd lamp-post while immersed in a book - could do with having this robot's chip inserted into their brains. Some hope...

(The head, in case, you're interested, is Indian, a much-loved present to Granny from an old friend, years ago. He travelled to Edinburgh and back and is about to travel to Liverpool for another book fest. Stern warnings have been issued. If he got broken, not much might be left of Beloved either.... Oh: and the book he is reading is Beloved's magnum opus, reason for all the fuss.)

PS. Granny has just been watching the Olympic handover..... Boris Johnson, amid all his other disadvantages, turns out to have KNOCK KNEES!

Friday, August 22, 2008

catch as catch can

So: Granny is home at last. ..after weeks of heavy culture and even more rain. (Which she quite likes, you understand, living where she does..as long as she doesn't get too wet.) The standard in Edinburgh, whether fringe or festival proper, was phenomenal - she won't try and list any of it; there was far too much of it, not least. It has all been somewhat overlaid, anyway, by the rather uncomfortable curiosities of the journey home, via Madrid, Barajas, not twenty-four hours after a plane, identical to the one she and Beloved were to travel in, and run by the same company, burned most of its crew and passengers to a frazzle.

The airport showed no outward signs of the tragedy. But the checking-in staff were somewhat sombre - and as for the crew - who did a very professional job, in a shadowed kind of way - what did they feel, whose friends were made toast, who might themselves have been among them, but for the vagaries of their work schedules? Not good Granny suspects; and could feel it too, watching them check doors, demonstrate safety equipment, hand out drinks, the way aircrews do. The plan of the plane on the safety card was exactly the same as the plan shown on the newspaper reports, she noted. Well it would be, wouldn't be, being the same model of plane. Oh dear: oh dear, Sitting with Beloved in the airport, close to the same gate probably - most of the Canary planes go from one or other of the same gates - listening to the same announcements as their ill-fated predecessors the day before -felt pretty creepy, she must admit. The king and queen had come by earlier in the day, but there was no sign of them by then, no hint of anything untoward whatever, despite the havoc of so little time before. But that was almost the creepiest thing of all.

Oh the poor poor families. Just suppose it had been theirs?

But they got home safely, of course. Unlike all those poor toasted others. It is hot, windy, so humid from the low cloud that everything on this island is growing mould, where it is not withering up. Sometimes it is doing both at once. Granny has been too busy preparing for some unexpected (paying) guests to descend into her usual state of post-travel melancholy yet- Beloved is much better at re-entries than she ever is - but she will quickly expel the black dog when it does show up, very soon. She just wishes her family didn't live so far away that's all..... It's good to be warm again, though. And Beloved has made a little fountain in the courtyard in the front. Lovely him. Good.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wicked month

Who was it said 'August is a wicked (in the old sense of wicked) month'? - Edna O'Brien did for sure, but someone must have been there before her. But no, you don't have to take the word wicked literally in Granny's case. If she was spending her August being a wicked lady the wickedness would be of the crone not Mata Hari type; no seductress Granny, these days (a relief really; seduction is such hard work.) Aren't fairy tales ageist though? The bad fairy in the Sleeping Beauty is always the crone one....only the good fairies are young and beautiful. On the other hand ...think how boring a life Sleeping Beauty would have had, but for that diabolic crone. No cooks covered in cobwebs, let alone beautiful young men impaled on thorns: no story come to that. There are definite virtue in cronedom. The merits of old age - such as they are - don't begin and end with bus passes. And Granny should know.

But if not wicked she has been idle mostly - yet another way of handing her life to the devil, of course. Though she did spend some far from idle days walking the baby about to give her mother a break and cooking a lot for the freezer to give both parents a break. The food was/is delicious - but not half as delicious as the baby, who is not of course for eating - Granny isn't that kind of old crone, after all. She is besotted. Naturally she is besotted. And she wished the baby well not ill, for all the good that does, this being real life not fairy tale.

Otherwise she has been sitting in London doing practical things in a desultory way and - for the past three days - watching the Olympics - all those amazing aesthetically or athletically well-drilled Chinese. Every Olympics she gets into gymnastics....how can people do such things with their bodies: AMAZING. And there as usual are the dear Brits doing well enough but not quite to medal standards despite the commentators' hype.

So how is a blog to get going in all this? Fat chance. Nor will things improve. Granny is off to Edinburgh tomorrow. She may or may not get to a computer over the next ten days. Beloved is running a robot in the Bookfest. Fun should be had by all. And a lot of culture. Beloved goes free because of his robot. She is not, so travelling up by bus: because it's cheap. Oh the joys of old age.

Wild cackle. She's hooking her nose and chin, hoiking up her broomstick, wishing the baby more useful - even wicked - qualities: wickedness does have its uses sometimes. AND THEN SHE'S OFF!!

PS. Go and see Man on Wire. Not just rivetting, a work of art. As is its tightrope walker. Really.

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