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Dec.2nd

Dec 2nd, Menorca

The Queen is home, finally… yesterday, on our third attempt… first try was Nov.18th, but the bathroom renovation wasn’t finished; then Thanksgiving, but there was a knock-on problem with the kitchen plumbing; and finally Dec. 1st – and a beautiful day it was, she even took a slow (assisted) walk around the garden and sat out on the patio for a while, before retiring to her new “cama articulada”… And now it’s raining – but we’re all home and snug… Sis even took a short walk outside this morning in the cold and damp (with the aid of the walker, and Chris) – after two and a half months of recycled air, she has a new appreciation of fresh air!

I had a bit of a ghastly morning: we got home to find there was only one oxycodona pill left, so I got up early and went to the farmacia for more, only to be told that the prescription had run out, no more refills – what? How could they not have told me?? So I walked over to the hospital (in the rain) where luckily the doctor who had taken care of sis had just come in. She said it was a controlled substance and I’d have to take it up with Diana’s personal doctor. I explained that it took 3 or 4 days to get an appointment, and meanwhile what were we to do? After a lengthy to-and-fro, she finally wrote me a prescription. I walked back (in the rain) to the farmacia, only to be told that the doctor had made a mistake in the precise wording of the prescription, so back I walked to the hospital (in the rain)  to. find that luckily, again, the doc had still not started her rounds. She amended the scrip and I walked back (in the rain) to the farmacia. Third time’s a charm… But really… And I hadn’t even had breakfast…

On a more optimistic note, the “new” bathroom is a great improvement – really quite good. The shower is fabulous, tho’ it does make you want to take a lovely LONG one, which is so against the rules here… But it was definitely worth the trouble (I haven’t seen the bill yet –  I dread to think…). In reality all ‘we’ (Sebastian and Chris) did was take out the bathtub and replace it with a walk-in shower, but this ended up taking FOUR WEEKS – Jesus me beads, as my mother used to say… old houses… you disturb one thing and that leads to another and another and another…. the whole waste pipe had to be replaced which involved digging through a 6-foot-thick stone wall into the pozo negro, aomngst other things… then there was a knock-on problem with the kitchen plumbing, after an old metal pipe in the back of the house was accidentally punctured during the bathroom work (nephew Chris finally solved the kitchen problem with a little extra piece of rubber washer – after Sebastian spent TWO DAYS trying to figure it out…). But meanwhile, much other necessary work has been done: Chris bleached out all the mould in various bits of ceiling, and we have taken care of a lot of the noisy outdoor work – cutting wood, weed whacking all the tancas (and little bits of the gardens – the oxalis is really taking over), getting rid of all the porqueria in the lane from the bathroom excavation, also all the old irrigation tubing lying about in various fields, and a few of the smaller bathtubs that used to provide water for sheep and horses, etc…) – so that all might be quiet and peaceful for the Queen’s return… On Monday, the day before she came back, the cleaner bailed, so I had the joy of cleaning the house as best I could, plus doing. a massive shop, while Chris got hold of Sebastian’s hedge-trimmer and went to town on the plumbago, setos, and many other things – if we had our own (hedge clippers), there would probably be no vegetation left on the finca! But the place looks really spiffy and cleaned up – thank you St. Christopher…

We finally had a half day of rain last Saturday, and another today, with more on the way – the garden is sooo happy, after almost two months without… The bad news is that the potato plants have the blight – damn! It seems the best thing to do is just cut them down, burn them so as to not pass the blight onto the soil, and dig up what potatoes there are – wah! it’s way too soon… but I took out the last plant on each row a few days ago as an experiment, and some more this afternoon, and garnered a pretty good crop of decent sized tatties – so the blight hasn’t reached the roots yet, only the leaves… the Menorcan reds, which came up much later than the rest, are still not too bad, so perhaps I will try the organic “fungicide” – a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water, with a little oil to make it stick to the leaves and a little washing up liquid to emulsify it… if it stops raining for a few days…

Thank heavens for Chris – not only is he great muscle to have around. for a myriad jobs, but he is such a sweetheart, so kind and considerate and loving, and good company, and gets on better with his mom than anyone else in the world – me included! I’m atually writing this in my studio – where I’ve not been in months – safe in the knowledge that he is in the house cooking up a big batch of pesto lasagna, while sis is tucked up in her room, and the fire is blazing in the sitting room. All is momentarily good with the world – tho I know things can change in a heartbeat – kenahora, kenahora – surrounded by white light etc etc…. I must take a short walk before it gets dark… Saludos to one and all…


Oct. 10th

Dear friends,

I may have spoken to some of you, maybe not, it’s all a bit of a blur…

It’s hard to believe it was only 3 wee,ks ago… The day after I posted the video of me singing contentedly under the olive trees (sept. 20th), my sister had a bad fall and has been in hospital ever since, flat on her back, with 2 fractured vertebrae in her upper back. Added to the broken lower back of 15 years ago, it’s extraordinarily bad luck… she was frail before this, but now… I don’t know… She spent 2 weeks in the local hospital, flat on her back, waiting for a medieval torture device that she has to wear for 3 months – it runs from her ears (the top of her spine) to her sternum, and she has to wear it anytime she is not flat on her back – and I mean flat… they call it a corset – if only it were just what that word conjures up… She is drugged up to the eyeballs, which is good on the one hand, not so good on the other…

Last Monday they transferred her to a private “hospital”/clinic (blessedly free for the first few weeks) where they will try to get her accustomed to the corset (sort of) and hopefully strong enough to be able to walk again, at least a little, so she can come home. This place is not designed for the infirm… Meanwhile I am researching the purchase of an orthopedic hospital bed, and all the bathroom trimmings, plus spending 6 or 7 hours a day with her at the hospital – the spanish system expects the family to do 90% of the nursing… and trying to figure out how to run this place single-handedly as well as take care of her.  I am of course looking for help, I will not manage alone (just getting the corset on her in order to get her up to pee takes two people), but the social system is stretched very thin and it will be very expensive…

My wonderful nephew Chris is trying to figure out how to get here to help, but of course US citizens are persona non grata, so he has to apply for special permission through the Spanish bureaucracy, which is endless – with the ultimate decision being made by the border police – so I don’t hold out much hope… Meanwhile friends here are doing my food shopping, feeding me lunch a couple times a week – I am not comletely alone!

If I think too far ahead I grind to a halt, so I am just trying to get through this day by day…  Every day brings fresh and unique challenges –  just when I think I’ve figured things out for a little while, something else crashes. – I’m told Mercury is in retrograde and will be for the next two months – fuck Mercury, and fuck 2020!

Forgive me if I don’t write too often, but I will try to give you updates whenever possible… I know that I need to take care of myself if I am to manage this, so if anyone has any bright ideas of how to teach me to compartmentalise? The few hours of down time I get each day are still torpedoed by the ever-churning brain….

Hoping you are all safe and well…


Sept 7th

Rain! Lots of it… but thankfully a good soaking rain, no wind to speak of, and no massive downpour with consequent flooding. Yesterday was absolutely stellar, hard to believe this was going to happen, but I saw the forecast and battened down the hatches before going to bed – a Good Thing… They say it will go on all week – on and off – so hopefully, after it dries out a bit, next week Sebastian can turn the front part of the huerto field and I can plant potatoes!  The huerto itself is mostly done, just the endless cherry tomatoes at this point – I am making solfregit and freezing it, and hanging vines of baby toms all over the kitchen.  We ate the last of the green lettuce only a couple of days ago, and still have some purple – planting in the shade of the taller tomato plants was a good idea – I’m learning, slowly.  We even had a couple of ears of corn last night, and I made pesto with part of the giant basil bush…

The island is a lot quieter, thank heavens, now that the August crowds have mostly departed – although our little road continues to be overused (damn GPS/GoogleMaps) – and the number of covid-19 cases has sky-rocketed because of the August influx (what did they expect???) –  the majority of them are in and around Cuitadella…  The numbers are as high as they were back in the height of April, only less of the cases seem so intensely severe – more young people getting it, I guess, who can fight it better… but really, how can people be so stupid, having giant family gatherings and parties as tho’ nothing was amiss??  They are not planning a total lockdown this time, allowing each autonomous region to do what they need/want – so we are at the mercy of Palma – but there is a country-wide ban on gatherings of more than 5 people, public or private which puts paid to my idea of an Equinox Concert in the pool field… plenty of space to socially distance, just 20 or so folk, bring your own chair and refreshments – seemed like a great idea, but no… the very day I decided to do it, they put the ban in place…

Sis is up and down, as usual… her world is so terribly small now, it’s heart breaking… but she is so happy I’m here…. No word from Westbeth if I can do my annual evaluation long distance… big, big changes may be coming down the pike… just be grateful…

Aug. 7th

Happy birthday, Elfin! I daren’t say how old you are because it makes me feel ancient…

Into the core of the summer anvil – not a breath of wind, but if there were it would be from the south – hot hot hot… sea like a millpond this morning, and almost as warm…

Little did we know how blessed we were in June (actually I did, and appreciated every moment…).  July 1st they opened the doors to the world (except the US, of course) and the tourists and the germs have been flooding in… But if I thought July was bad, August 1st saw another massive ramp up – a plane every couple of minutes from sunup to midnight, it seemed – everyone wants to come to the “safe” island – hah! It’s like the. blaring headlines about “undiscovered corners” – not any more… The UK imposed a 14-day quarantine for visitors or returning residents from Spain, so there are much fewer Brits – but that’s more than made up by the massive influx of mainlanders and other Europeans – and it is Madrid and Barcelona that we have to be leery of… go figure…. I do NOT understand the government’s line of thinking – other than “it’s the economy, stupid…”

I am feeling terribly trapped at the moment – I have to change my attitude somehow or I will make myself ill…  I desperately need a break, and I am worried sick about losing my life back in NYC, but nephew Chris can’t get here so I can’t leave, and anyway travel to and from NYC right now is not a good idea for MY health, let alone sis’s… She has just started a new pain med, which means taking only a small dose at first, to see how she reacts to it,  so she is in bad shape, con mucho dolor… poor sweetheart… I am frequently short-tempered these days, which is hard on her – she understands but it’s no solution… and the cottage is still empty… what an insoluble mess… But fear of the future will destroy the present, so try and try again to BE PRESENT… and be grateful for what is… remember…

Aug. 20 update – well the new meds didn’t work – 3 days of hell, then back to the old one, which tho’ it doesn’t work terribly well, at least she can tolerate it… I wrote a new song to try and turn my head around “just be grateful, now and then”… the past couple of nights I have been sleeping out, wake up at 7, water a few pots while I have a cup of tea, then onto my bike by 7.30 for a half hour/40 min. ride up to Mesquida for my morning swim (across the bay and back) – the Bathtub has been full of crap recently, with the SW wind, and Mesquida is idyllic… Home by 9.30, just before it gets too hot, and in time to make b’fast for me and coffee for the two of us – sis’s favorite daily ritual… it’s the little things…

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