Saturday, August 9, 2008

My mother at 93

My brother at 65

In an alleyway in Brighton

At the end

The wyf

Another brother at 54

Self at 62


The house

We sleep in the little hut

I am unable to write my blog as there is no internet connection here. Apparently it is quite common here for a server to be down for weeks at a time.

We had an uneventful flight. I did not listen to the movies, quite content to glance up at them every little while, but continue with the book, which Chris had recommended at work and by which I was utterly fascinated. It is the first novel I have read in a long while. Over a year ago I read a Christopher Isherwood novel and now it is Arthur and George by Julian Barnes who also wrote Metroland the film of which I rather enjoyed.

Kim says that he gave me this notebook in particular because it will accept the card from my MP3 player or the one from Cathy's camera. Kim has promised to give me a photo downloading program.

Today I am alone in the lovely house because I refused to go to the sea-side. The thing is, I don't like the sea-side. It makes me feel vulnerable and lonely. I like the look of the sea beyond the very civilised streets of Brighton, I like a sweeping vista of cliffs and sea as at Beachy head and I adore the little creeks of sea-side as in Cornwall and Majorca, but the long strand of pebbly beach, as at Shoreham, just seems desolate and reminds me that it would make good landing place for an invading army.

I must go down to the sea again,
the lonely sea and the sky.
I left my vest and pants there,
I wonder if they're dry.

That first night after napping quite a while we went to the Indian restaurant in the village. I asked for nan and the owner told me what to order. Did I order it last year? Anyway it was delicious, prawns and potatoes in a medium hot sauce. Slept very well without sleeping pills, but woke at about seven long before anyone else. I had a cup of tea and returned to bed to sleep another hour or two.

A huge party in the tent in the garden despite rain. Nick and Juliet very good company. Only one moment of awkwardness when we were discussing the difficulty of buying clothes for tall men and women. Inappropriately perhaps, I reminded her of twin jump suits we had bought. "Do you remember, when we were together, in Holland?" A slight pause and then she said, "That's right, like petrol pump attendants".

Several times, noticing how different we now are, I thought, "I would have driven her crazy after less than a year, perhaps I was already, when she met Nick. She ended up with Nick and I with Cathy. How apt and much more suitable for both of us.

Gina, Mike and the now adorable three year old Sienna were also there. After dinner, Kim opened all his presents and, as he did last year, gave a few. Neither Cathy nor I gave more than out presence, as we put it privately. He gave me a fine and interesting book of black and white portraits by Michael Birt. I read it all evening.

Kim's coloured balls. (!)

Many of his presents were coincidentally on the general theme of light. He got two large lanterns, candles, garden lights and wonderful balls which glowed different colors. I mentioned the big ones we saw in a catalogue in Canada and agreed to have some sent to him. I had also thought of giving him a WWll flyer's jacket from the same catalogue and on his birthday he received three jackets.

Went to bed very late and slept in almost until mid-day. Went out to a local pub in the Evening and, when I asked if were leaving soon, Dana said quite pointedly that Gareth was certainly not going to cook again. He did almost all the clearing up too, but like a true perfectionist, gave off an air that no one was up to helping him. So laziness combined with embarrassment kept me from doing anything. Gradually all the guests left.

Mike, who is ill at ease in company making stupid jokes and veiled anti semitic remarks for instance, turned out, when I was alone with him, to be very intelligent and knowledgeable. He has lived much abroad, has a very responsible job and reponded most informatively to my questions. If you know me at all, you will find that I love to get to know people by asking lots of questions. The answers are not always what interest me so much as the way in which people stop and think and reveal themselves in the way they frame their answers. Very rarely someone will object, basically to being interviewed. Mike seemed to be enjoying himself and incidentally taught me a lot about his job and about Zimbabwe, which I could not have known merely from reading the papers.

As so often happens here, rather than eating six small meals a day, as I am wont to do in Toronto, we eat breakfast and then very little until a large evening meal, often quite late. So it was on Tuesday, yesterday. At about five thirty we arrived in Brighton, shopped, wheeled my mother around in a wheel-chair, encarred and drove to the ridiculously expensive marina area. Nevertheless I had a delightfully good time. Our French waitress was, we all agreed, gorgeous and very sweet. As I did last year, I had a delicious Caesar salad with naturally raised chicken, which does taste different.

Strangely I slept poorly and could not sleep between two and three thirty. Finally relented, took a pill and slept rather too solidly until noon. They have now returned from the beach, which Cathy enjoyed except for missing her silly husband, she said. I will go in and see if I can help.

We had another excellent meal out in the dining room for the first time this year. Gareth cooked two chickens, which turned out to be just as good as the one in the ultra-modern smart restaurant in the Brighton Marina. We also had dips with chips, roasted vegies, chocolate cake left-overs and strawberries which Dana and I had prepared. Gareth put aside some Burgundy just for me. The holidays here are, as you can tell, largely gastronomic.

After dinner Dana and Cathy watched an extended news program, but when they got onto the Olympics, fulfilling my promise not to watch anything about them, I went to bed and finally finished my book. Woke frequently out of dreams that I was not sleeping.


willow said...

Fun to see pix of your trip and your family!

marc aurel said...