Monday, 12 April 2010
Bite the bullet, bite your tongue.
Today's little local rag has a story about an Italian immigrant, who mentions what he saw from the ship on the voyage to Australia, while they passed through the 'Great Australian Bite'. (Persons unfamiliar with our geography are recommended to consult an atlas to check the sea south of Australia, and to compare spellings.) When I picked myself up from the floor, I realised that A Great Bite has been occurring here. At least, I did not bite off more than I could chew. Although I did do quite a lot of swallowing.
We have seen the last of J1, the WSD, for the time being. Her husband and children left on Sunday. J2 was in and out, but briefly, and did not stay with us. Dr P's eldest grandchild, B1, turned 21 this weekend, and had a birthday party. The family gathered, except for us. Today his daughters took Dr P out for lunch, and tonight they all came here for dinner, and brought the food. J1 has said her goodbyes. She will be in the country for another week. During her visit she addressed not one word to me about anything relating to my life and interests, nor did she raise anything to do with her father's condition, despite the all too evident physical deterioration and his quite severe memory loss and general forgetfulness. It is very strange.
The past week has provoked three migraines in me, which made me feel rather ill. My daughter tells me to follow my own advice and to let it all wash through me, advice not followed all that successfully. It has been something of an endurance test, and my garment of virtue became somewhat frayed. But it was much better than last year. It stayed polite and reasonably friendly, and I ignored all the things which made me bristle, and even admitted the possibility of my taking things too seriously. I have refrained from making critical or hostile remarks to Dr P. Tonight he made some criticisms of my daughter, which I was able to defuse with the observation that it would not be a good idea for either of us to engage in criticisms of each other's children. He has, I think, appreciated my efforts, and my care of him. Last week he bought me an extremely beautiful string of pearls, a most generous gift. I was thrilled, and it is delightful to have a 'token of his esteem'. He must think I do some things right.
My daughter and her two children were here for a couple of days and left this afternoon. We have had a full house. It was good having my daughter here, not only for our enjoyable and loving time together, but also because she bubbled away with her step-sisters and helped keep the conversation flowing. The grandchildren were a great joy. They behaved very well: we baked a Berry Spice Cake, a nice easy recipe which uses melted butter, has to be beaten for only two minutes, and cooks quickly. Cooking together is great fun. For much of the day we played with plasticine, and it was surprising how absorbing they both found it. A plethora of little creatures now adorns the house. The children even decided they did not want to go to the park that day, something which is usually essential, as we have no garden space, and it is easy for littlies to become stir crazy. Yesterday we all went swimming, and today we had coffee and gelato, and chatted to a couple of women, who were visiting our trendy area, our famous cafe, and a very expensive dress shop. One woman wore a very sparkly purply/brown necklace, which aroused cries of admiration from little Jessica, a bling and frills sort of girly girl if ever I met one, and the woman kindly allowed her to try it on. What heaven!
Her brother, on the other hand, is made according to the traditional recipe, and his heaven turned out to be the acquisition of a kerosene lamp from our second hand market yesterday, and the arrival today, while we were at the park, of a man in a Green Machine which cleaned paths. The driver showed him all the bells, whistles, knobs, buttons, gears, lights, hoses, and brushes for a good half hour. Total bliss! Obviously he has the potential to become a well-rounded human being, as he also wanted to learn how to crochet, and sat for quite a while diligently manipulating hook and wool.