Saturday, July 31, 2010

Down by the Riverside

Dear Diary, The day dawned cool but sunny, and after days of relative inactivity it seemed a perfect day for a bike ride, and a picnic lunch.

Karen is still moping, Niece is busy cooking, and 'the boys' have begun a project in the shed. 'Us girls' have been volubly banned from even peeking through the door. There is hammering, and banging, and lots of talk and laughter echoing around the garden, as Jake and Phil work on whatever it is they are creating. Not a day for me to hang around Dear Diary; I feel like those goldfish must have felt when their bowl was out of water.

Winter is a perfect time for an outing on a cycle. The weather is conducive to a little exercise, and the fresh clear air and sunshine did make the trip pleasurable. I had thought of relenting and taking that lump of a dog with me, but his ability to react in the correct manner to a command quickly made me change my mind. I had visions of cycling along, watching the sights of nature, and that dog rambling into other properties. Much easier to go by oneself, even if I do feel almost sorry for a dog confined to a yard.

Not bothering to make a lunch [Niece was baking and had taken over the kitchen] I stopped off at the little bakery; the same bakery that makes the most wonderful mini apple tarts. I do indulge occasionally, and have been known to take a packet home for a sweet after the main course. Served with custard and cream they are scrumptious.

This morning a warm aroma wafted out onto the street; fresh bread sitting on the counter was too much to resist. Not wanting to make sandwiches I simply popped into the little supermarket and purchased a couple of slices of ham and a tomato. While there was an array of different varieties of bread, some with icing and decorated with coconut, other plaited and filled with a mix of cinnamon and sugar, I decided on a bacon and cheese roll. This particular bakery is obliging and didn't refuse my request for a dab of butter in the middle of the roll.

Thinking that cycling can make one hungry I felt no guilt at the muesli slice I chose as a small treat. A bottle of water completed my meal.

The tricycle is an excellent mode of transport being well balanced with easy pedalling. I am so pleased with the basket on the handlebars ... just the place to store my lunch!

The countryside was green, verdant, with a slight dew when I first set out. As the sun rose in the sky the dew dissipated, and although a slight breeze ruffled the trees, it was a pleasant morning. My destination was beyond a little concrete bridge with sides so low that it felt as though I was riding in the slow moving river. There is a restful glen where an old fallen tree offers a place to sit and contemplate.

I sat. I contemplated.

The magpies warbled. I wondered if I came every day could I teach them a few words, or even a small tune to whistle? Once, many years ago, I heard of a man owing a talking magpie and supposed a lot of patience would be required for such a feat. Dear Diary, I do not need a bird, especially I do not need a magpie as they have a serious reputation of taking shiny articles for their nests. I have never witnessed such actions, and suspect fables arise because some folk do not appreciate the cheek of the black and white birds.

Nearby, sheep called for their lambs; a farmer was busily erecting a fence; and a large lone bull lumbered around a small paddock where he was imprisoned. The sun filtered through the canopy of trees and somehow Dear Diary, I think I must have dozed. When I checked the time on my watch it showed well into the afternoon; time for me to pack up, and pedal back home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Dear Diary, the past few days have flown, no excuses offered for my apparent lack of attention.

While life is moving slowly onwards, or should one say 'going forward', and with no visible signs of disruptions in the household, perhaps my tumultuous thoughts were misplaced? It is difficult to say.

Niece is rummaging through old bridal magazines determined that etiquette will be followed to a 'T' while Karen shows a marked lack of interest. Thankfully Jake has found employment, which means the house is devoid of male dominance during the day. In the evening Jake and Phil prefer to take off down to the public house down the road. They appear to enjoy each other's company. Or, as I secretly wonder, are they just thankful to escape from all the females at home!

In the meantime I have disbanded ideas of moving; a small niggling doubt lies in the dark recess of my mind. I try to avoid allowing it to tumble into the forefront. At least I have given the idea some growing space, and should the need ever arise, at least I won't be thrown into turmoil.

It does seem rather strange that Karen has made no effort to find employment, and her frequent visits to the bathroom have left me wondering. Niece has not queried their frequency, so why should I? But I am most suspicious!

As for that huge dog! Dear Diary, I put my foot down. Even though this house is in a strict legal sense not mine, I do live here. The risk of being completely bowled over has did not escape my attention. I protested loud and long! That brings me to another strange co-incidence ... Karen sided with me. She stated, firmly, and being Niece's child firm is indeed firm, that no walloping lump of a dog should be indoors anyway. This, in spite of the fact, this creature had lived indoors in their previous abode! As Alice would say, Curiouser and curiouser?

On my last trip to town as I meandered around the shops, not having anything particular purchase in mind, for some inexplicable reason I was drawn to the little craft shop across the street from the butchery, which incidentally often has a pig's head, with an apple thrust into its mouth, as the central window display. For all those children who believe pork is a type of meat you buy and serve with apple sauce, perhaps this little display might jog their memories as to its source! Dear Diary, a small bubble of laughter sprung to my lips as my fingers almost typed sauce. Still as my old mother always said, Laughter is better than medicine.

This small craft shop is jam-packed with treasures, each housed in their own special corner. While one thinks of a room with four corners, this shop has cunningly devised rooms within rooms, all separated by displays, thus giving a corner to each display. Quite ingenious for such a small space! I always greet the owner with a cheery "How are you today?" She sits in a small corner [yet another one!] a little back from the counter, where she has clear visibility of shoppers entering, and should she spy them looking puzzled she is there to help or advise.

Dear Diary, I have no idea why, but I ended up at the section that houses knitting wool, where I was drawn to a pretty lemon baby wool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Aunt Alice is taking a short break because visitors are expected ... see ya in about a week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sad Thoughts

Dear Diary, As soon as I left the room a hubbub of talk echoed around those walls. Niece's tones, strident today, protested that she had not intended to stop me from having a puppy, which Dear Diary I knew to be a bit of political expediency. She had no desire to be cast in the role of a bossy witch! Karen loves animals and would happily have a menagerie living within these hallowed walls! I sincerely trust that Hester does not encourage that particular fancy!

As I sat quietly in my room, with I have to admit, my ear close to the living room wall, several thoughts raced through my mind.

It appears to me that if Karen and Jake continue to stay here, and from their noticeable lack of house hunting that does seem a logical conclusion, then someone has to go. I feel that someone must be me.

As I looked around what had been my haven for more years than I cared to remember, it struck me that I had little to show for my many decades. I suppose that living in another's home, even though it has been made your home, does counter any tendencies to hoard. Hester is a hoarder ... she must take that from the other side of the family! Several cupboards throughout this amply endowed cupboard house are full of what an unkind person could classify as junk. Of course the old adage 'another's junk is someone else's treasure' sprung to mind, but just the same, junk is junk!

I was a child of the depression and as such possessions were few and far between. Presents were invariably useful; books were treasured, and often borrowed from the library. Today possessions are valued in a way that I fail to understand.

I do have several bookshelves full to over brimming with treasured tomes, some which have moved with me throughout my life, some accepted with pleasure on a birthday or at Christmas. Looking around I realised that my treasures were few, but treasured never-the-less. Should I shift it would not be difficult to pack all my belongings into a few tea chests.

A lone tear rolled down my cheeks. I love living here, and have no desire to move. Where would I go? Why should I move?

Slowly my sense of survival kicked in as I thrust all sad thoughts about shifting out of my mind.

Dear Diary, surely this situation will resolve itself ... won't it?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Kerfluffle

Dear Diary, A tornado has swept through this household! I have spent the last few days hiding in my room, where hopefully, I can escape the worst of the storm.

It all began with a loud knock on the door, and a voice calling out. Not taking all that much notice I carried on doing what captured my attention for that moment; exactly what escapes me. I suppose some would say I was aging, and with that aging undoubtedly comes a little memory loss. Not with me! Not this time anyway. My poor old brain doth protest at the upheaval, the noise, and shuts down from taking further information on board.

It soon became apparent what caused the kerfluffle. Jake and Karen had returned. Their property sold quickly and not wishing to waste a moment they gave vacant possession at the end of 10 days, packed up some of their belongings, leaving the rest in a storage shed, and headed to Niece's. It's alright for them Dear Diary, but honestly, surprises of that magnitude do little to balance my equilibrium.

Niece bustled around, making up a bed, finding space for the numerous suitcases and bags full of essentials. Why couldn't they have stored more in that shed? Why couldn't have they found a place of their own first?

But, Dear Diary, there was worse to come. A huge slobbering dog bounded around like an elephant in a china shop. And yes, Dear Diary, I know it should be a bull in a china shop ... this creature is larger, and more destructive than a bull! I did enquire as to its breeding. To date I have had no positive reply. It not only licks anybody and everybody, it sniffs crutches, especially female ones, and once I caught it lifting its leg near the end of the arm chair. For that little action it received a good swift kick that sent it yapping outdoors.

To say I am unhappy is an understatement!

After several hours of skulking in the background it was time for me to make a statement. I waited until I had an audience; the dinner table seemed suitable. Not finding a quiet moment in which to make my announcement I banged the rim of my water glass with a spoon. That movement had the desired effect! Silence reigned for a moment; a moment I grasped.

"Family," I began, " I have something important to say!"

Four faces stared at me. It was at that stage I wished I had a song to sing, just to create a slight distraction, but all the songs I know are from a vintage of which they have no knowledge.

"Niece," I said, "I have made a decision about owning a puppy."

This had the desired effect Dear Diary. Niece looked chastened, and it fleetingly crossed my mind she may be having an attack of the guilts. Karen and Jake just stared at me, for they had no idea I had contemplated owing a dog.

"All the noise, all the bumbling antics from that [and here I hesitated as the word that sprang to mind was useless] huge slobbering creature has put me off dogs! How I ever thought a dog could enhance my life is a mystery."

Hester joined the conversation at that point and suggested that perhaps once Karen and Jake had their own place a little puppy would be welcome.

Dear Diary, I know those words were a platitude made because she knew my comments about that slobbering huge mutt were correct.

I made my point, finished my meal and washed up before heading, once again, back to the sanctuary of my quarters.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Rainbow

Dear Diary, what a wonderful sight displayed for anyone wishing to look! This morning as I opened the drapes it was obvious rain is in the offing. Of course one expects rain in winter, and as long as it doesn't pour for days on end keeping one indoors indefinitely, then I am happy. Walking around the paddocks in a light drizzle leaves a feeling of well-being. While the hair might droop, the skin is left feeling refreshed; it poses no difficulty to change any clothing holding raindrops.

The picture on view was wondrous. A double rainbow spread its glorious colours across the sky. Not often does a double rainbow appear, and when they do fill the skies we never have a camera to capture the moment.

Dear Diary, I have never found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I did see where this one ended. A distant hillside was bright. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet light lit a circle of the hillside up. Had one not seen the rainbow it would have been easy to imagine a spacecraft perching on the slope. Except of course the circle of light gave a view like looking through 3D glasses [or how I think looking through 3D glasses would appear, as to date I haven't taken the opportunity of attending a three dimensional movie]. The grass colour ranged through a kaleidoscope of colours of the rainbow creating a picture seldom seen.

As I stood watching clouds raced across the sky; patches of blue were covered in a soft eiderdown of white fluffy clouds, some with ominous dark grey bottoms, and the breeze grew stronger. Without warning splats of rain splashed on the window; the air grew colder, and the drapes moved alarmingly in the building wind. I closed the window, sad that all vestiges of that wondrous rainbow had disappeared into a world of grey.

Dear Diary, I feel that today is a day to spend indoors. I have two books as yet unopened; perhaps I will write a letter first, or perhaps I might just sit and watch the day go by.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Bike Ride

Dear Diary, As yet I haven't explained my reasons to Niece why I would like a dog, nor do I intend to, now that they have shown such disapproval of what I consider a simple act that any human being might make. As life is still difficult, today seemed to be the day most suited for a long bike ride.

After packing a small lunch I set off heading west ... go west young man ... hoping not to meet any buffalo, wagon trains, nor painted Indians. I guess I attended too many cowboy movies in my youth! Those days are long gone ... television caused the demise of many movie theatres, and I doubt whether today's young would consider a Saturday matinee exciting enough. Or perhaps they would actually enjoy such an outing. Popcorn and icecreams, sitting in the dark and watching a newsreel, cartoons, followed by the main movie figured largely in the lives of last century.

The day dawned sunny, after a cool night, and a light head wind made pedalling an act of exercise. As I wended my way I kept my thoughts focused on the return journey, when, fingers crossed it didn't change, would be of assistance. The roads were busy enough for a lady with intentions of a leisurely bike ride. Not having any particular destination in mind I meandered up side roads, some gravelled, some sealed; stopped to admire the paddocks green with crops peeking through the soil, and leaning over gateposts to listen to the noises of the countryside. A flock of galahs wheeled overhead, while their raucous less attractive cousins the white corellas, flew from a newly ploughed paddock rising like a dusting of dandruff onto a black jacket. Automatically I raised my hand to scratch my head, presuming the metaphor of corellas and dandruff caused that instantaneous reaction.

A small side road leading down to a river bed with water flowing over the spillway proved to be a wonderful spot to stop for a bite of lunch. Leaning my tricycle against an ancient tree I found a low branch to serve as a chair. The noon sun was warming. It would have been simple to have rested my eyes; maybe I did. For some reason a white movement on the spillway captured my attention. I stared in wonderment. An egret was fishing for his lunch, only a few metres from where I sat. He strutted along the river bank, stopping to peer into the murky water, strode along some more, and after finding the fish were elusive, took up a fishing attitude on the spillway itself, looking, like a child waiting to cross a busy highway, left, and then right, and left again. The fish were either not there, or were wise enough to keep hidden in the shadow of overhanging branches.

A noisy truck rumbled over the bridge. The egret took off, his long neck pointing forward as a global positioning system. I watched, entranced, until he was a white blob in the distant sky.

Dear Diary, that little episode completely made my day. I turned for home feeling refreshed ... a little escape from the mundane restored my faith in the world.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Decision Time

Dear Diary, I must apologise for my absence. Other pastimes captured my attention. As well the atmosphere has been, shall we say, cool.

My announcement about a puppy did not go down well. Niece screwed up her nose; in disgust I thought, whilst that man of hers declared that no dog was coming into his domain. Dear Diary, I kept out of their way for days, but decided that as I was quite within my rights in desiring a puppy, and as they were the ones showing a complete lack of regard of others' wishes, there was no reason for me to hide. Not that I scrambled under the bed whenever I heard them nearing my room ... that would have been childish, plus as I have a bed base it would be impossible to scramble there.

Last night as we sat at the dining table that Niece had spent some time prettying up; a crystal bowl filled with colourful blooms, the second best dinner set that is decorated with huge leaves that overpower most meals, damask tablecloth and matching napkins, which proved to me she had an attack of the guilts as to her ungenerous behaviour. I was a lady Dear Diary. Politely I asked for the salt and pepper, offered the gravy boat to Phil, and cleared the table between courses. Now that I look back it was almost amusing; excepting I was not amused; not that I consider I have anything in common with Queen Victoria.

The meal was a gourmet delight; Hester had taken endless trouble not only in the cooking but in presentation. To show my appreciation for her efforts I complimented the cook. But Dear Diary, I did let them suffer a while longer. At the moment I am contemplating the wisdom of bringing Briar home. How dreadful it would be if she was made unwelcome.

There were no recriminations over Greensmith and Redshaw, but then again they were confined to a small watery space. While they were colourful their lives did not truly add much to mine. Swimming around and around the glass bowl day in and day out must have been boring. The water plants swaying in the bowl were soothing to the soul, the flash of gold behind a larger plant did please the eye, but overall their existence added little to make my day exciting.

A puppy ... now that would add another dimension. I picture a windy morning, the sun not too high in the sky, with a puppy and I running [sedately] across the hilltop, my hair flying in the breeze, and a puppy chasing leaves in a surge of excitement. I could even knit a little jacket for the cold days of mid-winter; perhaps a rose pink cable version? That would definitely be different.

Would I be allowed to bring a puppy indoors? Would Niece allow a dog flap to be fitted to the door? If not I would need to get up in the night should she need toileting. No Dear Diary, I am not wholly convinced owning a puppy is such a good idea. However, I will not let on to Niece and that man of hers for a day or three ... let them stew!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Choice

Dear Diary, I am in a state of high excitement! The owner of the little dogs was home and delighted to show me the puppies, which are for sale. It must have been providence that sent me that way today.

Unfortunately, according to the dogs' mistress, a little fornicating had taken place, and the puppies were no thoroughbreds, would not be suitable to show, and sadly wouldn't be sold with papers. Such a small insignificant fact! I don't want a show dog; I just want a dog! While not particularly fussy as to breed, a smaller dog would be suitable. Dear Diary I can't imagine Niece allowing a huge Great Dane or a Rottweiler roaming the property. I can imagine the consternation the neighbouring cats might have though!

After showing me the brood I decided on one of the little girl dogs, a delightful black ball of fluff. [Already it is becoming obvious I could turn into one of those dog lovers that imagine their pet is their child ... I must avoid that situation!] The puppies need inoculations and a veterinary tests just to make sure all was well, though I am positive this little puppy will pass all tests with flying colours.

As I cycled home names for this little beauty flickered through my mind. Chloe? No, that was a cat's name. Liquorice? Too sweet for a dog, in fact rather daft the more I considered it. Bella? That is extremely popular today, but no. It is not easy, in fact I imagine parents have a similar problem in sorting a name for their offspring. I did decided not to ask Niece, as two many choices would only make the matter more difficult.

Would this new arrival fit into the basket of my cycle? Oh Dear Diary, I can take her on day trips where she can experience the delightful smell of the countryside. I must buy a leash, preferably one in a distinctive colour, and some toys. A mental list grew until I hardly remembered what was at the top of it.

Just as I turned into Niece's gateway a name sprung to mind. I would call the new arrival Briar.

"Hester", I called. "Guess what?!"

And not giving her a chance to reply I bounded indoors announcing breathlessly, "I have ordered a puppy called Briar!"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Out and About

Dear Diary, I am becoming slowly bored with the build-up of expectations and excitement. Niece has persuaded that man of hers to dig a new patch of garden and extolling him to plant it with vegetables as, she fondly imagines, Karen and Jake would prefer fresh home-grown vegetables to those purchased at the supermarket.

The house has had a spring clean, and it isn't spring. I was of the understanding that Karen and Jake were going into a home of their own in the vicinity. I sincerely hope so!

As a protest I wheeled my tricycle onto the footpath in search of adventure. Cleaning and gardening in excess is detrimental to my good health.

Freewheeling along with nary a thought in my head, the breeze flicking at the small piece of hair peeking from underneath my helmet, slowly my irritation cooled as I contemplated a destination. The beach was too far away; anyway the breeze would be almost gale-force there. My legs baulked at the thought of a hill climb. One day, I imagined, I would pack a small bag and cycle for days, stopping where an interesting view presented itself. Maybe I could buy one of those small tents that folded as small as a decent sized handbag? Smiling to myself I pictured Niece's face when she found out I fancied camping out. Her camping experiences fitted around large caravans and caravan parks that had all the mod-cons. Seldom did Hester and Phil cook on a BBQ; never were they tempted to cook with a camp oven, or over a tripod on an open fire.

The mental picture of them sleeping around a campfire and showering with a bucket of water elicited a loud laugh from me. The situation was enough to make most, who knew Niece, titter. As the ideas swirled in my imagination no real reason as to why I shouldn't, one day, attempt a camping trip rose to mind.

Hardly aware I had cycled beyond the town boundary, a barking dog alerted me to a situation that cyclists detest. Dogs chase cyclists! A near disaster of my youth crossed my mind ... as I had cycled to meet a friend one particular house that I had to pass had barking dogs. Usually a short 'shutup' deterred them. This particular day nothing I said worked. Quickly panic set in. Those in the know insist a dog knows when a person is afraid of them; I think they are correct.

As the dog continued to bark and rush towards the fence I was cycling by, and my earnest entreaties were ignored, it became obvious I could be under attack. That particular time, as the dog jumped the fence and came running towards me I lashed my feet out, swinging my legs in a wide arc in the hope the dog would not attack. I was lucky. The dog didn't attack; the owner noticing the pending altercation, called it to heel.

Today as I peered around for the source of the barking I became aware of a beautiful dog that had half a dozen gorgeous puppies tumbling in the yard behind a strong fence. Mother dog was simply guarding her offspring.

I slowed down, finally hopping off my tricycle to take a closer look at the puppies. Dear Diary, I remembered I had promised myself a dog after the demise of Greensmith and Redshaw. Perhaps one of these little beauties would settle with me? Should I knock on the door, though in doing so I would need to negotiate the gate and path that was obviously the domain of Mother Dog and the puppies.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Letter

Dear Diary, Today was a red letter day. Perhaps not a red-letter day, but certainly a letter day.

Niece came bouncing into the lounge where I sat trying to concentrate on a particularly obscure Cryptic Crossword, and wondering at the same time why I just couldn't put it away and forget all about it. But ... these things are sent to try us! The dictionary lay on the floor, pieces of paper and a pen and a pencil near the chair, all in readiness for an inspired thought. They were few and far between.

Hester hurried in, waving in obvious delight a letter. I looked! Letters in this day and age are an oddity. Some days I wonder if the art of letter writing has disappeared with the turn of the century. This letter appeared to particularly magnificent. Just imagine, Dear Diary, a magnificent letter. The mind boggles! Not only could it be called magnificent, but also elegant. Two pages closely penned ~ in ink ~ on parchment-like paper.

For a moment this epistle reminded me of the aerogramme of last century. These small letters, while important for keeping in touch particularly with family overseas, invariably had one serious downfall. The writer began the aerogramme with carefully spaced words, telling of their latest adventure. As they reached the final space it seemed they always remembered another scintillating piece of news. It was at that stage the writing became smaller, and cramped, and often the last sentence was glued down upon sealing. When the recipient opened the mail words were missing.

But this letter today was no aerogramme. This letter came in a matching envelope and it was obvious Niece was excited.

Not wishing to hold her up on imparting its contents, I placed my pen on the floor near the dictionary ~ I had no inspiration for the remaining clues and wondered why I bothered.

Looking expectantly towards Hester I waited for her news. She was clearly thrilled with its contents.

"Aunt Alice", she trilled, this is the most wonderful news!"

I waited.

"This letter is from Karen and Jake! After their visit they decided to put their little flat on the market. It sold almost immediately!"

"Where are they going to live?"

"That's the most wonderful part Aunt," Hester replied. "Just before take over date they are both handing in notice at their work and are coming to live in our town! Oh isn't it just marvellous?"

I agreed, thinking that Karen and Hester had a lot of catching up to do, but deep down had a small reservation. Karen and her mother were very much alike in their ways. While this move is lovely for them both, I do wonder.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An Opportunity

Dear Diary, small adventures occur when one least expects them, and once in a blue moon we make a discovery that defies the law of generalities.

As I peered at my watch [I really must either buy, or pass a hint to anyone who will listen for a watch that has an easily read face], it became obvious I had time to spare. No shopping beckoned, the afternoon sunshine had gone into a snoot and hid behind fluffy white clouds; the wind whipped around the shopping precinct, and I did not feel inclined to stand at a bus station for ages, yet wasn't keen to move too far away. A small building beckoned, its older facade reminiscent of a bygone era. The windows were shining, and the door open inviting passers by to enter, while a sandwich board sign on the pavement announced the first week of a new Op Shop, the profits to be distributed among several local charities.

Dear Diary, an Opportunity Shop is an Aladdin's Cave! Many fascinating finds hide within. Treasures that belonged to another, often discarded when an elderly relative left this world and not wanted by family, find their way to Opportunity Shops. Thank goodness Niece isn't with me! She is particularly fussy; hints that goods for sale in this type of establishment are second hand, inferring in a haughty manner that second hand means second best. Only once did I persuade her to enter a Thrift Shop. She, hesitatingly, stood on the threshold, sniffing that particular aroma that sometimes inhabits these places that house pre-loved articles, and rather rudely I thought, announced in a carrying voice that the air stunk! This was a few years ago, and being less circumspect than now, I told her to grow up. Today, Dear Diary, I would phrase that a little more gracefully.

Never again did I bother to ask if she wanted to purchase goods from the Op Shop. When I did arrive home with a treasure in a plastic shopping bag, I made sure I washed and ironed it before wearing it. Invariably she ooohed and aaahed at the wonderful cut of a skirt, or the designer label I allowed to be prominently displayed. At the same time I maintained a diffident expression as I suggested the garment in question was an old one that I found in the back of the wardrobe. While she may have looked suspicious, there were never any direct accusations of fibbing.

This shop had a brightly painted interior, a warm beige with a hint of pink; the colour of the paint suggested that a few cans of left-over paints had been mixed in one large can. The overall effect was inviting. A highly polished wooden table acted as a counter. As I approached that table a lingering smell of lavender drifted towards my nostrils. It reminded me of my school-days when we had to polish our school desks with polish. Some children brought floor polish from home, while others used a lavender furniture polish. I begged my parents for a tin of lavender polish and weekly spread a small amount over the top of the desk, polishing it to a high sheen with an old pair of bloomers; the polish and bloomers I kept in a biscuit tin that held shortbread given as a Christmas gift years earlier.

While I was not particularly interested in clothing this time, I did need to fill in time, so wandered around, fingering jackets and woollen jerseys some that would no doubt be purchased for the wool, pulled down and crocheted into squares for a warm blanket.

In the corner stood a bookcase with a variety of books for sale. There is one thing, Dear Diary, that I dislike about bookshelves. To read the titles it is necessary to bend one's head sideways. A crick in the neck is the unpleasant result! As I was straightening up to move along a little further I happened to notice a copy of Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This book was one of my favourites as a child, and while I had watched the wonderful television series, I had lost my original copy of the book. I suspect it was loaned to a friend and not returned. I don't know Dear Diary, whether it is my age, or whether I tend to spend some time remembering the past, but I occasionally have the urge to re-read these childhood classics. Who could not be entranced by Anne's adventures?

I picked the book up and opened the flyleaf to refresh my mind of the story. Imagine my utmost surprise when I read the inscription on the facing page. It was my old book! Memories came flooding back as I recalled how it came into my possession ... it was a school prize, and while the ink was faded, my name was inscribed on the label. Dear Diary, of course I bought the book. As I still had a few minutes I related the saga to the lady on the desk ... she smiled and told me that many similar tales abound.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Travelling Children

Dear Diary, the days are indeed cooler, though if one finds a sheltered sunny spot it is most pleasant; the nights exceptionally brisk.

The household is quiet. No word from Karen, which leaves Niece feeling sad and neglected. After a huge sigh I enquired as to what was wrong. There was nothing wrong! Why the sigh? I didn't ask. Silence is often the better part of valour.

This morning after a sudden urge to catch a bus and go to town, I hastened through ablutions, dressed warmly, and hurried to the bus stop. Bus trips can be rather fun affairs if the traveller is aware of her, or his, surroundings. The riders this morning were true to form.

Settling into a seat not too far behind the driver, characters began to show themselves. Across the aisle sat a young mother with a pre-school lad. He sat quiet ... for the first five minutes. Boredom set in, and Mother, after one or two half-hearted attempts at seducing him into good behaviour, gave up, allowing him to turn around on his seat and poke his tongue out at the elderly couple directly behind. At first they ignored him. He persisted, his face screwing up grotesquely as he slid his tongue in and out of his rather large mouth like a lizard catching a fly. The gentleman, dressed in a sober grey suit, with a tartan waistcoat [I heard later it was Tartan day today, so guessed had some Scottish heritage], a pale blue shirt buttoned tightly at the neck and held even closer with a striped tie in pale sky blue and a deep navy. On his lap sat a darker grey fedora, which was in remarkably excellent order considering they were the fashion for gentlemen when I was young, leaned forward as if to say something to the child. How I wished Hester were with me. Then again, I didn't. She would not have tolerated the tongue sticking out episodes from this pre-schooler! A few sharp words from her tongue may have embarrassed him so that he would have sat down and faced the front! The gentleman changed his mind, which was rather a shame. Instead he began an animated conversation with his wife, who was dressed in a style reminiscent of a much earlier period.

Dear Diary, as I sat and appraised these elderly folks I thought how neat they were in appearance. Shiny shoes, his outfit was sparkling as though it had not long come from the dry-cleaners, and her dress and matching coat in a warm woollen fabric of mid blue with a beautiful butterfly brooch on the coat lapel, and black shoes were dated, in the eyes of some, but to me, marked this couple as fastidious, but with taste.

The mother of the lad, her nose in one of those gaudy magazines full of the comings and goings of movie stars, continued to not notice her son's behaviour. Other passengers were beginning to whisper among themselves about his behaviour, when a voice from a few seats behind bade him sit around and face the front. I have to admit, Dear Diary, I thought the admonisher extremely courageous! It is not the done thing to admonish children, especially if they do not belong to your family. Was World War 111 about to break out?

Just as suddenly as he had stood up and began showing us his tongue, which Dear Diary, was unremarkable as tongues go, the boy sat down and began to whimper. The mother turned to him and told him to be quiet! He did as bid!

The rest of the journey took us through the countryside where cattle grazed on limited pastures, and where hay was strewn conveniently as a supplement.

Shopping was uneventful. I poked around a few shops, purchased a magazine to peruse in a quiet corner in the shopping mall where I ate a salad roll.