Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It Still Snows

The Old Man gets anxious about his newspaper. This is a daily fix that he cannot do without. He keeps pacing to the window and eyeing the ice in the lane like a blackbird cocking its head for the sound of a worm. If the ice turns to slush, he can get in his car and creep off towards the nearest newspaper point. After a while he gives up the project.

But late afternoon and The Old Man comes in to see me in the "sun room". He is distinctly moist of eye. He is also clutching his daily newspaper and a large bag of bird food. A neighbour has just returned from town and has remembered The Old Man's daily necessities.

The Old Man mops his eyes and retires to the fire with his paper.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Shouting and Waving

The latest trick that The Old Man is playing on me - is one of growing deaf. This is a periodic habit. His perfect Virgoan earholes and their twisting byways are wonderfully tuned for his woofers, tweeters, and hi-fi-ness but the day to day maunderings of the Greydoll gradually lose their power to penetrate His Majesty's hearing.

It is true that The Old Man has always been a martyr to wax. And one nurse says "Yes, time to do something about that." But the latest says that all is OK in there.

I panic. I see myself doomed to a life of poking him in the back to make him turn around and look at me when I'm speaking. And none of this is helped by his infuriating propensity for ..... talking. I mean, I enter the room to tell him something and he is already speaking - with his eyes still glued to the telly or his newspaper. Leaving me gasping and flapping like a stranded fish.

Please, please, don't do this to me. Don't leave me with a deaf chatterbox. Please find and extricate some bungage from those earholes. Please let him hear me once more. Blood pressure, warfarin, heart dodginess, general occasional frailty. OK. OK. I've accepted that. Nursey stands to attention. But please don't bless me with deafness on The Old Man's part.

I see it now. Greydoll quietly expiring in the corner of the room underneath a fallen wardrobe or something. The Old Man, still delivering a lecture on the failings of the current government whilst absorbed by the television screen. Completely oblivious to the Greydoll's fate.

Despite all her shouting and waving.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Down by the Water's Edge

The other day we go for that walk down Long Rock Beach. A beautiful cold, calm November day with the tide well out.

See. I took a photo for you to catch the feel.

Now, I like to take my cheap old binoculars to see what's what. The Old Man pours scorn on them but tis me what has to look and tell him what's going on out there. Cos I have no pride. I am cheap. And usually cheerful.

So - a large bird flying along between the sea's edge and some rocks further out - catches my eye. I peer through the glasses. "Hey," says I to The Old Man, "There's a heron flying along over the sea."

A while later I train my glasses back to the sea's edge. I'm surprised by what I see. The grey heron, stately and elegant, wading slowly along in the shallows - parallel to the shore. Head up, beak straight ahead, ignoring the odd dive-bombing crow - the bird is beautiful and somehow out of place.
I have never before seen a heron wade in the sea.

By the way, remember I was puzzlin over the three birds I saw in the same place the other week? (Click here that post.) Great Divers or geese? And we don't do geese much?
The Cornishman paper runs a little "birds seen" spot each week which gets it's data from the Sennen Birdwatch website (click here to have a look at that). So, it listed three pale-bellied Brent geese seen off Marazion. Reckon that was them. Oh I'm such an anorak.......

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Listening to Lenny

The other night we wuz watching the Tony Palmer documentary of Leonard Cohen's 1972 World Tour on BBC4. The Old Man has a hankering to see this and is thinkin of the Leonard Cohen numbers he likes.

I am not so sure. There's no doubt Leonard Cohen's songs are a signature of the 1960s - 70s. And as such, I hear them through a veil of recall. A West Country flat inhabited by a crew of female art students who drift through the "mattress on the floor" rooms, whilst again and again Suzanne takes Lenny down by the river and feeds him ... "tea and oranges that come all the way from China..."

His moody good looks; sweaters, raincoats, and cigarette smoke.

But it has to be said that I grow increasingly impatient as I watch the documentary. The pontificating and poetising; clips of general "Hey let's be cool about this..." stuff; the chaos of letting it all hang out. And some truly awful pomposity. I grunt and shuffle as the documentary finishes. And the Old Man says:

"Perhaps you don't like Cohen as much as I do."

Then the next programme starts up which is a recording of Cohen's 2008-9 World Tour. And we say - well why not watch a little of this as well. On stage the lights go up. And out comes this 74 year old geezer in a sharp suit and a snap-brimmed fedora. He steps up to the microphone .... and nails it.

Drink, hard times, and five years or so in a Zen monastery have maybe contributed to the honing process. Same songs reworked, and smoking along with great musicians behind him. Yes. The old guy floors 'em. And... Bam!
He got me.

He might get you too. Try clicking here for a YouTube clip from the 2008-9 tour.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Travels with my Film-Life: Tehran

So this is a bit more ... risky. Last night we were in Tehran, courtesy of the film: "No One Knows About Persian Cats" by Bahman Ghobadi. And we watch two young Iranian "Indie Rock" musicians try to gather band members and "documents" that will enable them to get to their gig in London.

We sample the underground music scene of Tehran in cellars, construction sites and rooftop hide-aways. We listen to heavy metal, rap, jazz and fusion traditional music. Real musicians playing for themselves, each other - and their secret audiences. As they dream of being somewhere where they can play openly; somewhere - as one character puts it- " ... on an island ... with stew for breakfast and stew for lunch... "

The pace heats up as the deadline approaches for the two young musicians to leave for their gig. Beautifully shot, stuffed full of music, and sweeping us into the drama we rush towards the dramatic ending. If you want to see the trailer - click here.

Now I'm glad to get my timid bones home.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I Lost my Head

No, but seriously. I have been SO overworked by that control freak, Mrs Doonuthin ... that I just snap. And here I am - head lolling all over the place.

Mrs Doonuthin screams. As usual. Pours herself a glass of red and fixes me with a steely glare.

Half hour later... after surgical procedures that I will not recount ... my head's back on. Bit stiff. But that's only to be expected.

I suppose the woman is useful for some things.
And The Old Man is well impressed.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Listen to That.

The Old Man and me go down to the beach again today. I take some binoculars so that I can see what birds are about.
No. I'm not much good at telling which from what.
No. Wouldn't class meself as a twitcher.

Anyway I spend some time peering at three quite large, dark, blobs bobbing about at the sea's edge, off away. At one point at least one comes on land and seems a bit... waddly. Too long a neck for a duck.

But what? Maybe Great Northern Divers? Mmmn, would they get out the water? Maybe Geese? Though we don't do Geese much down here. Wild ones that is.

But it got me thinking about bird calls. And the call of the Great Northern Diver has this... spine-tingling feel for me. I have heard one calling ... off Gunwalloe Fishing Cove that was. Eery and mysterious. And so is the Curlew's call. I hear that down Devoran way, or sometimes over at Hayle estuary.

For a heart-lifter I recommend a Skylark, as that composer man wrote - "ascending". We hear them over in the fields on the old Porthleven road near Rinsey. Buzzards calling make me look up. See them wheeling about over our hill.

And I surely do like my Jenny Wren, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird and Thrush. I likes all sorts. Even the Singing Rook (click here for that Post).

But the northern sound of the Curlew or the Great Northern Diver (or Loon - I kid you not) makes me go all goose flesh, if you'll pardon the expression. And have you ever stood under a flight of starlings as they wheel their amoeba formation over your head? That's goose-fleshy too. It's just the sound of... wing feather whoosh.

You can listen to some bird song yourselves by clicking my link for The Virtual Bird and picking your bird.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Exhausting Life of a Film Star

That Mrs Doonuthin is strugglin on, in the most chaotic way, tryin to play film-maker.

Consequently I spend nearly the whole day last Sunday... lyin on a bed pretending to sleep and turn and yawn and wriggle. Waiting for that pesky cat to jump on me.... and pretending to be all delighted with the mangy thing. Talk about an Oscar-winning performance.

And Mrs Doonuthin herself is pullin what's left of her hair out and literally re-arranging the furniture on set. So The Old Man has to come along and advise the witless creature about focal points and rearrange the set so she can see it through the camera.

I tell you it is emotionally exhausting containing one's great acting talents and energies amid the chaos and boredom of the film set. Quite enervating.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Foxy, Foxy

So yesterday, Foxy is underneath the bird feeder again. Bold as brass. Middle of the day. Eatin the bird seed.

Yes, Foxy has got a bit of a limp. It stays under the feeder for a long time, moving off when it gets nervous, but coming back each time. It shovels up the spilt bird seed, then sits for a bit in the sun - havin a scratch.

Truth is ... the day before ... I find a very dismembered mammal body. On the grass, but covered with brown day-lily leaves ... so ... deliberately covered. I have to say that I think the victim may have been a small rat - but there's not much left to identify it by - except fur and size. I wonder who could or would do this? A cat? Or the fox? Anyway, I duly bury the remains.

Today The Old Man is chatting on the phone to a friend, and tells him about the foxy visits. The Old Man asks about the covered remains, and Friend thinks Foxy would do this... hiding the "body" and leaving some more "food" for seconds.

Sorry, Foxy. I believe I have buried your dinner. And whilst not being keen on murder and mayhem in the garden, I am a bit anxious at the possible evidence of rat ... and a bit grateful to Foxy for polishing it off in the most useful way.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A Dreadful Realisation

And that realisation is that ... It's Christmas next month.
And also .... I have done no Christmas shopping.
And I do mean ... None.

This is no joke.

This is particularly no joke in the case of The Old Man. Because his Christmas presents are a nightmare. And they are a nightmare because The Old Man is the Most Particular Receiver of Presents.

He is a Virgo. He is most precise in his requirements. He delights in proudly telling me childhood stories of unwrapping presents in front of his relation-givers... and tossing aside those presents which did not meet his exacting young requirements.

At the same time he is fond of recounting an occasion when he was given a spinning top... and went into hysterics with delight. Really. According to his version, the family doctor explained that he must not be denied that which he desires .... or else.

He wonders why I dread Christmas and his birthday.

I have given up surprising him. It is not worth it. Instead I prime a list of his "desires" sometime in August, and hope that he will have forgotten what he said that he wanted by December.

And whilst, with luck, this avoids the tossing aside of undesired gifts. (Though not always.) I am left with a sense of failure. As I have never truly surprised and delighted him with a gift he did not expect. And what is worse - he is very good at surprising me with a desired and unexpected gift, including once .... a deckchair for my midwinter birthday. And I was ... truly delighted.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

In the Garden

I just looked out into the garden. Under the bird feeder I can see a rusty red back. Too coarse a fur for a cat. Maybe a dog? But I know who it is. It is the fox.

And the fox is there - in daylight - eating the spilt birdseed under the feeder.

I try to take a photo with my phone. The fox is too far away for the camera really. And I take a while because I don't want to disturb it. It's only birdseed. Must be hungry.

Eventually the fox hears the noise of the camera. It looks up at me - a long moment. I take another picture. And that's enough for the fox. It turns and lopes away. I see it has a slight limp. Maybe that's why it risks birdseed in a midday garden.



A magpie sees it off, landing on a nearby post and shouting "And don't come back, Foxy." Or the magpie equivalent.
Have you ever seen a magpie creep up on a fox and pull its tail?
I have.