This is one of those themeless posts, a collection of thoughts skipping about. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Jonquils have been flowering in the garden since the end of May. They are pretty and I love them, but it’s all wrong. They’re spring flowers and we’ve barely started winter. I was so surprised to see them that I emailed someone at the Climate Institute. There was no reply, perhaps because they’re busy monitoring glacier melt, but this citizen scientist thought it was a small yet important sign of Something that Someone should look into.
Then I found out that jonquils are flowering in Melbourne too, which made me accept the oddness of it. We’re having a topsy-turvy year anyway. Who knows what’s normal anymore?
On a Zoom call last week, in which people I would never socialise with were suddenly looking into my lounge room, someone said to me crossly, “I can’t see your face very well.” I was flabbergasted. Stage lighting has now been added to all the other things we’re required to be expert in. “This is my lounge room, not a movie set,” was what I wanted to say but of course didn’t.
I went outside at dusk to watch the cockatoos (flockatoos) fly in. I was taking a photo of an interesting cloud when two neighbours, Jerry and Suzanne, walked into shot. I’m very fond of these two. Jerry is Czech and has a healthy disregard for authority. Suzanne, in her 70s, has decided to sell up and move on. When I asked where to, she said she didn’t know. Her acceptance of uncertainty is something I admire very much.
The pomegranate appreciation society has arrived. King parrots are so beautiful it’s hard to be cross. To be honest, I prefer pomegranate molasses to the fruit, so they’re welcome to it. Excuse the blurry photo. I wasn’t allowed to get very close.
I noticed last week that I have come to accept the monotony of my days: work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep…yaaaawwwn. To no longer be mentally at war with my job is a good thing, given that we’re all a bit stuck at the moment. BUT I do want to keep some of that fire that I felt in the first weeks of isolation.
When everything else was suddenly taken away, I came face to face with the long-term compromises I’d been making and found them unacceptable. I felt enormous grief and anger. It was like waking up. So when, last week, I realised that I’d slipped back into dull compliance I almost shouted out loud: “No! STAY AWAKE!”
People talked a lot at the start of lockdown about how different things will be afterwards, how this is our chance to change things. Will they be? Will we? It’s very, very easy to slip back into old patterns—much easier than forging ahead with something new. What was it that we wanted to change/do/be? Let’s keep our eyes fixed on that. Note to self.
I bought another cookbook. Okay, I saw that eye roll. If you think I have a lot of cookbooks, you should go and visit my friends S and J. They have half a wall full. I think I was secretly hoping that Giorgio Locatelli would deliver Made at Home in person. It did come in an awfully big box, but he wasn’t in it.
I’m making eggplant parmigiana first, in memory of a little restaurant in Glebe (name now forgotten) that used to serve an excellent version. When I was a uni student and lived down the road, it was a treat to go there for dinner. The restaurant was in a converted terrace and diners had to go upstairs to the serving hatch to collect their meals. There was always a risk, as you walked back down the steep stairs to your table, that the eggplant parmigiana would slide off the plate onto the person in front of you.
In the past fortnight I’ve been to someone’s house for dinner and to someone else’s house for lunch. How strange that this is noteworthy. At the lunch, a couple of people were talking a lot, butting in or starting side conversations when I was trying to listen to someone else. At first I was annoyed, but then I realised that they were extroverts and hadn’t been out much. They couldn’t help it.
It was tiring to be in the company of several people at once. I’m out of practice. With the isolation and now the colder weather, I’ve started to go into hibernation. What about you? Have you been out and about again, now that restrictions have eased a bit?
If you do go out and about, be careful what you wear. A letter written in 1927 and reprinted in the recent NRMA Open Road magazine made me smile, so I thought I’d share it here. Bestockinged gals, take note:
I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t safe for girls to wear any but light-coloured stockings. My headlights failed to pick out fair pedestrians who were wearing dark stockings, and on several occasions I missed them by inches. Those who favoured light stockings could be seen 100 yards away.
The only other thing of note that’s happened in the last little while is that I went to buy some looseleaf tea (inferior teabags now finished) and was temperature checked by a person wearing a mask AND full face visor before I was allowed into the shop. 2020: the science fiction novel that keeps getting weirder.
Bye for now.