Small, Comforting Pastimes
Last week I woke up one morning with an inexplicable desire to clean the kitchen. No-one was more surprised than I was when I found myself washing windows and mopping the floor. Well, actually, Posy was possibly more surprised than I was, but only marginally. But never fear, the kitchen is not entirely clean and uncluttered, because before I got halfway through, I thought I would get the ladder out and wash the outside of the kitchen windows. I mean, once you've done the insides, it's depressing when your view is still covered with spots and smears on the outside of the glass. It was when I was up the ladder and polishing the windows enthusiastically that I realised that the whole kitchen wall, which faces all the weather, really quite desperately needed painting and it's going to be winter soon, so actually, best seize the day etc, and so then of course I found myself spending the next three days up a ladder and painting the outside kitchen wall. I knew I bought twenty litres of house paint last year for a reason. It's extraordinary how these things happen. It occurred to me on day two that late last year I had my tea leaves read, and while no mention was made of plagues and quarantine I have a very definite memory of being told I would be painting the house. So here I am with one more wall painted and I still have a messy kitchen.
Posy is making the most of her school holidays by watching all of Netflix and all of the internet. In between doing that she has been baking bread and began a sourdough starter. She is now the official baker of the household:
She bakes more beautiful bread than I have ever dreamed of. Over a period of twenty four hours she took up the ukulele and then put it down again. She has made dinner several times. She has run out of bleach so can't dye her hair any more shades of blue, green or purple, but now she has taken to cutting her own hair and mine and is doing an excellent job of it. She has started scouring the bookshelves and rereading the kinds of books she hasn't opened for years. Right now she is reading Little Women. I would love to post a photo of her with her punk hair, ripped jeans and Doc Martens reading Little Women but I am not allowed. Rosy popped by today to pick up her old collection of colouring books to keep her going through the uni holidays, and I am getting reports of my two older children in Melbourne holed up in their share house. They have made a fire pit in the back yard to roast steaks and toast marshmallows, and The Girl is starting a knitting group to teach the boys how to knit. She is sending a message to her boyfriend's mum to send emergency quarantine knitting needles for them all.
I have got out the sewing machine to do mending and in the process of breaking three sewing machine needles while mending Paul's work pants have discovered that there is such a thing as dedicated sewing machine needles for denim (who knew?) and also that standard sewing machine needles come in different sizes (again, what?). I have learnt this in conversation with The Girl, and then mentioned it to Paul who said, "Oh, yes, I have a packet of denim sewing machine needles in my box of beads and sewing notions." Well, of course he does. So now his pants are mended, I have ordered new sewing machine needles and have learnt so much more about sewing machine needles than I ever dreamed of..
It sounds like I have been very busy but bear in mind that painting a wall takes half a day which leaves the other half a day for sitting in front of the fire listening to audio books and eating chocolate. The premier of Tasmania instructed us all to stay in and eat chocolate over Easter and I am nothing if not compliant when eating chocolate is involved. Even mending doesn't take that long. It does of course, take a good two years to get around to it, and then each job takes about ten minutes. Or less. It also takes ten minutes to break three sewing machine needles in succession. Ask me how I know. And now I won't be able to do any more mending until the new sewing machine needles arrive in the post. Oh, dear.
All this sitting about in front of the fire has alerted me to the fact that I need to brush the cobwebs off the dining room window. Also, the other half of the kitchen needs cleaning. I think this will take at least a week in between all that patriotic eating of chocolate.
Whether Easter is the beginning of spring and a turning towards the sun for you, or whether it is the time that the year swings towards winter and darkness I hope that you are able to rest and reflect and find some small, comforting activities to keep you anchored to reality and to each other in these strange and uncertain times.