Gina Leishman

Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, and Singer

November 27th, 2014, menorca – Thanksgiving

I write in my studio, the only place with electricity at the moment, as Sebastian and Roland are on day 3 of the current electric work on the house, replacing all the old plugs and switches in the central room, the hall and the kitchen (they did my bedroom in October, Diana’s last winter) – next month they will do the “west wing” (euphemism for the tiny bedroom and store room on the west side of the house), the stable (d’s studio) and bathroom, and then we will be au courant – not that this will prevent the electricity from going out when the storms come through, we will still have to trudge through the weather up to the contador at the top of the road to throw the switch, but it should be at least less dangerous… not cheap (sebastian says he will only charge us for the cost of materials but parts are expensive) however it is necessary work, and while there is still money in the bank (swiftly dwindling), we must seize the carp…

The wind is set in the south, with its attendant mild temperatures and high humidity – plus it rains at least part of every day – but the sun usually also puts in an appearance at some point – yesterday there was a humungous storm in the morning, lots of thunder and lightning and lashings of rain, but by late afternoon I was lying on the back of the boathouse at Binibeca, bathed in hot sunshine… and not a soul in sight (other than sis, who had come walking with me) – quite like the early days… in spite of the relatively clement temperatures, I have been lighting the fire in my bedroom in the late afternoon/evening, to try and alleviate some of the damp in there – it is noticeably worse than the rest of the house, being lower and on the north side… my hanging clothes will soon be covered in mould, I fear… I must learn to live with it, after 20 years of the dry cold of new york winters…

My quick trip back to check in with sweet sam and the cottage earlier this month was just that… a quick trip… sam is fine (as was the cottage) and we had a lovely time together, but it broke my heart to leave him again – not sure how many more times I can do that… I had thought I would bring him back with me, but alas diana confessed she couldn’t handle the responsibility of looking after him when I’m not here, which at some point I won’t be… whilst there, the sale of the Shoe Collection at Tennants came up, and diana’s desire not to sell them put a giant spanner in the works, involving endless emails and trips to Leyburn on my part, the withdrawal of a dozen of the best handmade pairs, and the subsequent non-sale of much of the rest – so they will sit in the attic of the cottage and in moppet’s barn, gathering dust and mildew until we finally have to chuck everything… es la vida…

October was a truly stellar month, with good visitors and good weather, and sis in relatively good shape – things continue to go up and down, but we are doing okay for the moment. She has been through the mill recently, with teeth trouble (a bad root canal and another broken tooth) and gut trouble – the latter caused partly, I’m sure, by the worry over Brendan and her planned trip to see the kids next spring – the very thought of having to travel throws her completely out of kilter… for my part, I am trying to learn how to maintain a state of equilibrium in the midst of it all, and not to panic – this triangulated living begins to take its toll on me…

I have planted a winter huerto – lettuce, escarole, spinach, cabbage, swiss chard, carrots, onions – and potatoes! Finally, I have planted my own potatoes… they were doing great, but alas the combination of wet and warm (for november) has resulted in the inevitable blight… hey ho… We now have 7 sheep (6 ewes and a ram) in the old pig fields, courtesy of Bernard the swiss potter who lives up the road – he gave me a fresh leg of lamb (which had to go in the freezer, unfortunately, as I was leaving the next day for the UK, but I look forward to the right occasion for it) and also another flat of potatoes to plant… I will keep trying…

So much to be thankful for… a beautiful place to be, relatively good health

(I creak a bit in the damp, and have a fruity cough left over from the cold I picked up in the north – but “nothing serious, I hope”), a bit of money in the bank, company to keep loneliness at bay, plenty to keep me occupied, and future work to look forward to, hopefully – altho’ rinde wrote to say that princeton is not happening for now, and I don’t know about BAM any more, but I live in hope – I will, and I do… meanwhile I have the mandola and the old uke and an electric piano to play, and Vagabond to work on, a garden to dig, a sister to care for… there it is… the state of play… I will try to remember to skype nyack this evening, to say hi to the gathered tribe… thank you, one and all, for your friendship – let us keep the threads of the web connected…