Lilac and Lime

Contrasts in colour, contrasts in life – Mary Bruce

Archive for January, 2014

B positive

If I didn’t have a vague leaning towards claustrophobia, I might spend more time with my head in a paper packet. In the circumstances it’s just as well I can laugh at myself and move on.

Having started using computer screens in 1981, it’s incredible that I’ve only started wearing reading glasses in the last three or four years. The two yearly check-up took place a few weeks ago and the lenses needed to be adjusted slightly. The previous pair had arrived one week after the appointment so, when a week had come and gone this time around, thoughts of the new frames moved to the backburner.

Work resumed and things settled down for the year ahead. Then right out of the blue, I needed to see a doctor last week which resulted in being sent for a blood test. Just as well to get that out of the way for the rest of the year, hopefully ; maybe I should have asked them to extract a whole cup for future tests and save me the prospect of having more needles stuck in me. My alltime dislike.

By the time I got back to the office from the laboratory there were already missed calls on my phone from unrecognised sources. It turned out the sister who took the sample had called but then left the office so a message was left for her to contact me again. When I next looked at my phone it was mid-afternoon and, lo and behold, another missed call from an unknown number. So I phoned back and the receptionist didn’t have a clue who I was. She asked if I’d had any recent tests. Patiently I explained I’d had blood drawn that morning. After asking around the office she put me through to a guy I most definitely hadn’t seen that day. When told my name he said “ah, Ms Bruce, your glasses are ready”.

Bet that receptionist never asks him to check her eyes.


An ‘inheritance’ to treasure

It usually takes a while for the loss of a person to be seen in perspective and for happy memories to rise above the immediate situation. The previous post referred to the death of our neighbour. Although Margaret was retired and twenty years older than me, we shared a number of common interests. Living on the same property meant we frequently met in the garden or at the washing-line. Ill health over the last year made our conversations less frequent but I have no doubt Kimberley and I will also continue to feel her loss for a long time to come.

As her only child and other family members closed up her home I was amazed and touched when they asked if I would like to take over a number of items relating to the interests we had shared. Words did fail me when her daughter said I was “like family” ; what a compliment. Only a week or two later did I realise a significance which had to have been lost on everyone else.

[A brief explanation at this point : early on in my Twitter existence I came across a delightful post which recent events brought back to mind. It said : “I have CDO which is like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but alphabetical”. I have long been teased about my adherence to the alphabet (even my spices are kept in alphabetical order, really). This is not a problem or personality defect but a thoroughly practical way of finding anything fast from books to papers to – spices, and I refuse to transform or even admit a problem. It is of course at radical variance with the free spiritedness that matters deeply to me, but free spirits are allowed to be contradictory when they wish.]

Margaret’s sister first arrived to ask if I would like to take over the Worm farm ; this had fascinated me since it arrived about eighteen months earlier. Margaret had explained its workings to me and had been delighted to acquire it. Luckily it was given to me along with two instruction books and I offered up yet another vote of appreciation for Google (how to ‘dry out’ a worm farm that seemed to have been overwatered when Margaret was no longer around to guide us ; what do worms eat, and not eat). During the same visit I was also given a Wooden plant stand with four berths which now resides in barren splendour on our front verandah while I discover what plants will enjoy the position.

Much to everyone’s amazement, although the family knew that Margaret had acquired a lot of Wool/crochet cotton and related tools of the trade as other family members no longer needed them, there really was at least two bakkie loads of this material to sort through. Handwork is one of the interests we had in common and I was offered first choice. At one point I threatened to close all the windows in our home so nothing tumbled out when I took yet another bin load home. All this came along with first choice from a bigger-than-apple-box full of knitting needles, crochet hooks and so on. I’ve already discovered the rudiments of using the loom and thoroughly look forward to learning a number of new skills.

Along with numerous pot plants came a Watering can, the proper old galvanised kind.

Have you spotted the thread that causes my psyche to rejoice, or do I really have a problem? Worm farm, wooden pot stand, wool, watering can, …

Just one more happy thought when remembering Margaret.

Rhythm of the night

Without going overboard, the neat nodule in my brain has long considered the beginning of a new year an opportune time for fresh approaches, but many people have commented on how lacklustre and uncharacteristic both Christmas and New Year festivities seemed this year. Undoubtedly the death of former President Nelson Mandela early in December influenced the national mood. Then a number deaths in a short space of time, three of them within six days, affected us. While none were family members, our immediate neighbour passed away in ICU on 27 December after fifteen months that saw her undergoing chemotherapy, a triple bypass and recovering from a broken pelvis among other health issues. Two friends lost their husbands on 30 December and 1 January respectively. Other friends lost a child and a close friend we didn’t know. A harsh reminder of how helpless we really are in the greater scheme of things.

Even the neighbourhood was unusually quiet for weeks on end. We moved into our home at the beginning of December just over three years ago and that first season was one to remember – not in a good way. Everyone seemed to have friends and relatives descend on them and the parties frequently rocked into the early hours. One chop with a brain in a different time zone parked alongside our verge and started his music before five o’clock one morning. Combined with resentful others in the area who then mowed their lawns around sleeping roosters, it was a high energy season. Then followed two years in which the party-makers played away games so it was with some foreboding that I approached the December 2013 holidays. Two days before Christmas a weed-eater started the day at 6.40am and it seemed the meek had sounded the battle cry. But nothing followed that night nor the next, nor the next ; in fact, we are still living in blissful peace.

Thankfully my sense of humour didn’t vacate the neighbourhood along with everyone else and there were a few incidents that kept the twinkle where it belonged for the most part. Yesterday marked the first belly laugh of the year and it felt good.

Onwards and upwards