It is an entirely unremarkable day outside. I could be back in the UK; grey skies, wind and an impending threat of precipitation. However I haven’t had to fire up the petchka. As is occasionally my wont I’m sat in the snug trawling Facebook for amusing stories and wallowing in procrastination. What better time to write a post! This winter has been as meteorlogically mardy as a hormone riddled teen. Occasional bright spots overwhelmed by unpredictable climatological behaviour.
Storks have been spotted, traditionally the nations marker for Baba Mart to announce that Spring has arrived. My friend Elizabeths’ ewes had dropped 2 lambs at last count but that dear readers, is where the markers for Spring have stopped. I have just been rudely interrupted in my machinations by a cheery “Corinne” in a marked Bulgarian accent. Assuming one of my neighbours were calling and therefore inured to my love affair with morning “deshabbiles” I strode out barefooted and still in my dressing gown. I managed to lock the 4 baying hounds in the house and flung open the metal garden gate. I was greeted by 2 delivery drivers and a veritable mountain of boxes. The cheery “podpis” was chirruped by both followed by pen and receipts thrust at me. In the moment I let go of the gate handle to write my signature the wind snatched the gate out of my hands and slammed shut taking my dignity with it.
Both drivers offered all kinds of solutions for helping me over the gate and concrete portal. All of which I coyly turned down. They watched in some anticipation as to how I was going to undergo the feat in front of me. I took this moment to make a prolonged examination of the boxes, feet sinking firmly into the adobe red earth and the need to relieve myself becoming a fast approaching necessity. I dare not have accepted offers of a foot up or a lift over. One was both without undercrackers and definitely in the great unwashed category! So as the delivery drivers eventually accepted by declinations of assistance they drove off leaving me with the problem of climbing over the portal with a bladder so surfeit it would have made a Morris dancer proud.
I eyed the boxes of precious man goodies and building supplies and after some enormous physical exertion further hampered by firmly crossed legs I found myself atop a precarious mountain of cardboard. I had one chance to make a successful manouvre and with all caution and dignity to the wind and a wee bit of “personal precipitation” I found myself atop the portal, fingernails dug into the pitted surface of the concrete. I hung suspended for a micro second before hauling myself atop the structure and looking pensively down at the drop the other side. The 4 beady unemotive eyes of the goats greeted me and a further 8 fully dillated and hysterical eyes of the hounds through the living room window followed soon after. I managed to scramble/slither down and without further ado “watered” the garden; no time for nicities I’m afraid. Relieved I reopened the gate, latching it first and dragged the boxes inside. Job done. I am however the owner of a pair of 11 year olds legs, ergo, scratched and tracks of blood making tiny red pustules the length of my shins and thighs. They say every scar tells a story!
I have begun sowing some seeds inside. Tomatoes including the Rosavi my absolute favourite variety. Boisterously chunky but delicately pink there is no better salad tomato – anywhere and that includes Greece! Lettuces from Lollo Rossa to the filagreed and peppery rocket. Coriander jostles for position with kale and spinach and my absolute favourite Zinnias in a plethora of colours and sizes. These blousy old trouts of the horticultral world make me smile in the same way as when I sniff freshly ground black pepper; with sheer joy.
Terry and I have had a successful second go at bacon making and as I write there is a good 4 kilos of the stuff waiting to be sliced and packed. The summer kitchen larder fridge holds any number of containers with what we are hoping will transform the porky contents to gammons and hams. We choose to wet cure these larger joints rather than risking the dry cure process we’ve used on the bacon. It’s a tense time with daily turning of the joints in their sugary and saline solution. Bay leaves and black pepper float effortlessly on the surface like guardians of their salty world. Further updates on their progress and the end result in a later post.
Dance practice for the events this year have started in a small way and I’m needing for them to speed up. I’m 58 this year and I get rusty mentally and physically. The dance steps are complex and unless I’ve had lots of practice I still watch for the first steps to have a clue of what moves are forthcoming. I’m thinking of getting a notebook to move this process along. Last year was a baptism by fire and I still feel I “winged” it with an enormous amount of support. This year I want to proactively improve my own dance technique. Let’s hope I’m up for the job.
Terry continues in his ventures and I watch in sheer admiration and respect as his work goes from strength to strength. He is almost fully booked this year and it is an absolute salute to the sheer hard work he puts in each and every day. He rattles home dirty, exhausted but satisfied. And in my now welcome role of housewife I tend to his every need in a very 50’s housewife style. It has been a revealation that once I’d accepted this new role that I thoroughly enjoy it. I will never hit the nadir of domestic goddess but I’m giving it my best shot and allowing myself to feel proud of my efforts. A note to both my Mom and Terrys – they are domestic goddesses and I wish I’d paid more attention in my younger years to the very specific science of housekeeping.
On a more sombre front my dear friend JS took her life and Terry and I attended her funeral with a small number of friends. It is the first time I have attended an open coffin funeral. She didn’t look anything like the woman I knew and loved. Her luxuriant head of burnished brunette hair was covered by a hat. I stood by the coffin willing her to smile the cheeky half smile that transformed her face to that of a precocious 14 year old. I was wearing a delicate floral top she’d gifted me, as a scarf since I heard the tragic news. In my grieving mind I felt by keeping this piece of material close about my body that I’d keep her warm. I removed the scarf and placed it in the coffin, swiftly touching her impassive face and I promise you that her left cheek moved and gave me a cheery wink of thanks. I wept throughout the service, Terry anxiously holding my hand and trying to staunch the endless flow of tears. It was such a short service and J was gone all too soon to be interred into the cold and icy January soil. Tracey and I promised to come visit her in the Spring and hold a small tea party with her favourite cakes and remember the wonderful woman she was. I wrote this piece in remembrance and in love. RIP JS 1961 -2019
A stunning head of chestnut locks
A smile a meter wide
She made your heart feel warm
Her gently dry, acerbic wit
That coy swing of hair
The unassuming half smile
Her eyes as deep as pools
Spoke words true and kind
Farewell, adieu dear friend
No time to say goodbyeBecause hopefully,
One day, I’ll get to see you again
Till then dear friend
Know you’re not forgotten
That every time the Himalya Blues flower
Your soul will pass through mine