11 August 2013


Perfect day. Up at sparrow-fart, walked Sam round the property, shears and rake in hand to clip as we stroll, then walked myself round the Diellas route - Diellas/Poulathes road/curve left towards chez Lia and then down and home.

I see so many new paths to check out and so many people I wave at from the car but who now wave and smile as we pass on foot.

Good brek and then the workmen arrive to build the meter casing to which we'll move the meter from the nasty neighbours. I offer them coffee and cigs but they are pros and want to put some elbow grease behind them before relaxing. 

Chronia Polarity - The calendar speaks of letters to write to the UK and also 'Tell-All' Thumbelina's birthday tomorrow - memories flood.

She's not a tattle-tale and nor is she 'Thumbelina' but it alliterates and I'm used to writing in code.

Tell-All -  It stands for something she let slip one casual conversation when she mentioned unboastfully that my mother told her everything. Everything

I thought this highly unlikely - fond as maman was of a corner gossip, because she dealt in multi-everythings, each one changing according to time and event and audience. That's a lot of everything to be landed with.

I smile at the thought of how many of mum's intimates must have believed themselves chosen recipients of the Everything privilege.  

I happened to have my buggery set up for some calls I'd made to the UK lawyer and some nonsense with Barclays Wealth who kept cutting themselves off and never the same one when i got back to Switzerland.

Ease dropping by numbers ~ I'd left it set up to programme for digital eavesdropping on mum/brother connivings and this would be good practice on a securer line.

I expected the usual humdrum local incestuous dronery but this was fascinating - a whole new parallel world, including well-meant references to jewels and art paper to come Thumber's way - all qualified with many a "It's all in writing", presumably a reference to mum's Will, to which she had added not a jot and nor any voiced intention. Rum, and misleading.

Listening to the prattling  - with many a detour via the same old stories - I wondered how people must have feared for their cell bills.

Where there's a Will, there's a won't : Anyway, to answer the question, nothing was 'in writing' and there was a tender moment when my brother was over for the funeral and mopping up when T ever-so gingerly made an oblique reference to art paper, books and bijouterie but then stopped with an "Oh my god, you have no idea what I'm talking about!" 

I did. The 'everything' she shared obviously included a little 'extra' sugaring mum prolly intended to get round to.

Ghetto Gossip But the real joy of T turning me on to the calls was that it opened a whole vista of ghetto gossip in which mama clearly reveled, no two people regaled with the same chatter, the sort of conversation referred to as 'strictly entre-nous'.

I had no source of amusement or company of my own so I made the calls my fun.

melrove mic

PATIO MIC - Altho' i recorded successfully, I never got the hang of embedding wav. files into this blog. Just as well - I would have spent hours selecting and editing killer clips and it would all have ended in even more tears.

Wicked nicknames were noted for recycling and dropping into conversation. I remember one dinner some botanical hag had come into the conversation and I whispered to my neighbour "such a clever nickname you came up with for X", or "I think you're right about problems in that camp", all originally delivered sotto voce down the line and probably assumed instantly down maman's dementia memory hole.
  • Likewise, I'd fasten on any dismissive reference to me and insert it smoothly into the next conversation to watch the effect.
  • Astonishingly, I could repeat back to them the most offensive or mendacious description applied to me behind my back, and most people would just nod at hearing their own words, uh huh, and carry on .... 
  • PHONE PHUN - Now that I was monitoring the lengthy call with my brother, I was able to track where my job as caregiver was being undermined, including ignorant instructions to ignore firm decisions on medication, and breezily announce, "We'll leave the decision of dropping your ABC pills for Pete's recommendation until I've had a more detailed discussion with Doctor Y." This was meant, of course, to be behind everyone's back since my brother had no faith in Doc Y and I made a point of hinting at this at every opportunity.
  • Loipon, I owe all this fun and fooling to dear Thimbelina and must try to work some reference or reminder into my birthday greetings. 
Now that I've got my recording 'studio' set up, pals are suggesting I write a few pointed songs and insert within choice clips of the buggedy boo. Wouldnt that be fun?

Gentle thrumming of guitar, hoarse chorus of "Tote that bale, mow that lawn, tend that garden from dusk to dawn" and suddenly the crackle of the phone line ~ "Well, the way I heard it,  no sooner had he seen you-know-who on to the plane than straight to her place and - so words hias it - car parked there all weekend" or

 "Really, her and her pot plants - no idea about flowers so I dont know why she keeps borrowing my books on it - lent her a precious book on roses ... never saw it again."   

Good times.

small mic on lamp

patio mics

Nino Ferrer's Telephone - a good accompaniment as I show orf some of the wireless babies I had to use during my struggles to keep a handle on my Care-giv duties,

Happy Birthday to Thumbs - greetings sent and nice email back expressing thanks and surprise I remembered. 

I don't know what it is with people but do they actually listen or think? Some time after the 'Piece of Work' theft of my jewels, when I felt the old system caving in for want of support or advice, I started asking those who should/would have known to point me in the direction of any  research findings on the long-term effect of this sort of treatment on someone. Everyone played gawping dumb but I wanted to at least place the thought with them.

Effect - I would have thought obsessing over dates and occasions and minor ghetto facts 
was a prime example of long-term effect.

Seeing those patio mics reminds me - as soon as Mum and Thumba or whoever had settled themselves on the patio and the mouths in motor maneuver, I'd remove myself to full view - such as just below - to rake and rant and mouth rictus obscenities up at them looking down. There's something about seeing the subject at a safe distance that opens the natter traps.

ALI FORAH - naturally, I wasnt hearing what was being said at the time, so I had to take notes from the playback and use keypoints for the next time that person came round - "What? I can't quite hear - no, I hate any sort of gardenry. All this right now is under bitter duress. But, as my mother just said, "I do what I'm told".

Many hilarious moments - at some moment in every visit, wherever I happened to be, maman would enquire "How about some ginger beer?" and then saunter out to the patio. My reply would be "Jolly good idea" and continue with what I was doing.

The best times would be when I was working below on some tedious garden job and she'd trill down about how about tsitsibirra? ("Sounds a good idea".) The very next reference or reminder would be greeted by my bellow voice "I'm not a fronking BUTLAH, you know!!" Always a satisfying moment and, as usual, when I finally joined them, there'd be drinks etc enabling me to tease "See? You did know where the drink's kept and how it all works"

I couldnt resist it - when Thumba wrote back to thank, she kept it short as do most of the Simperers who allowed themselves to dance attendance in those days. I took one of her own uniquely-phrased responses from some 1am natter and wove it skilfully into the friendly exchange. People are fools, she'll recognise her own line and probably even the context (dispute over chauffeur duties vis-a-vis taking the car out more than twice in one day to perform chores that, with aforethought, could have been done in one.  I grew increasingly intolerant of her citing dementia for every laziness and lie. 

"And the theft of the jewels was a double act, over which most people reserve the coldest contempt for Pete. He knew what you were passing him. You're not going to say that his part in clinching the filch was demented?" Never a good answer for that, there weren't : slam down cutlery, rush from dining table, chant of "Gyaku Gire" echoing after.

Grotesque times. 


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