Palm Island Diary

Jenny Diski

It’s six-thirty, I’m wide awake and all fired up to go to Palm Island. As I’m about to run the bath, a sudden silence breaks over the flat. An electricity blackout. A little urban catastrophe and a personal disaster: no hot water. How can I start the day, let alone go off lotus-eating, without a cup of tea and immersing myself in hot water? I assess my resources, and in the spirit of pioneering self-sufficiency (pre-desert island practice) put three large saucepans of water to boil on the gas stove. I shall have my bath and cup of tea – and go to the ball, too, if I want! But ten minutes later the electricity clicks and hums all the machines back into life, and almost immediately a fax comes through in the study. It is from P., currently out of town, wishing me bon voyage. No need to scan it; it’ll be deliciously filthy, designed to keep his memory jiggling in my base and basest cells as I idle away my fortnight in paradise. A mistress of the deferred and doubled pleasure, I save it to read with a cup of tea back in bed, while the bath runs.

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