OOH it’s snowing today in north Shanxi!
After a rather underwhelming funeral in Zhu Family Cavetop* village yesterday (on which more anon), this morning Li Bin has to do the burial with the band there and then go off on his own to “smash the bowl” in two other villages (see my book, pp.193–4). But the snow won’t deter him, not being a wimpy Englishman; Li Manshan has just zoomed off on his motor-bike to smash a bowl too.
Traipsing across the slippery courtyard to the latrine in the southwest of the courtyard is even more of an adventure than usual, and I “literally” (as the argot has it) freeze my arse off as I squat there, the wind biting into my buttocks (TMI—Ed.). At least there’s a little roof. And at least I can go back indoors—the family doggie is tethered in its kennel in the courtyard. Here dogs and cats are just animals, not sentimental anthropomorphic consolations.
*Zhujiayaotou: why the final “tou“? Most “cave” villages in Yanggao are just XXX Family Caves (Renjiayao, Sujiayao, Gaojiayao, and so on). This is yet another example of my fatuous etic questions to which Li Manshan gives short shrift…