Friday morning I get up very early, close my suitcase, bulging with little clothes and little books and little….not mine, needless to say, and drive to Standsted where Ryanair announces an hour’s delay in their flight to Altenburg (near Leipzig). I resign myself to this unexpected void in my schedule (not used to that much spare time) and read my book, read more on the plane and on the bus from Altenburg to Leipzig Bahnhof and finish Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. What an incredible well written story, the way it slowly unfolds and what an incredible way to spend a life: sixty years in a mental institution because you are not behaving in the way girls are expected to behave and moreover the son of one of the rich and well to do friends of your parents, once back from warm India in cold and hostile Scotland rapes you and you become pregnant. Esme has not even realised she is pregnant. So she is punished vilely for just being Esme. A warm and very well written book.
My granddaughter in Leipzig is hugely excited when she sees me and tells me all sorts, we have the most wonderful conversations, she in German and my responses in English and when I tell her I’ll put her Kleenex in my pocket she looks at me thoughtfully and says Ich habe auch eine kleine pocket and puts her little hand in her very little jeans pocket, pulls it out.
I am desperately in love, with my little granddaughter!