Tuesday, 9 February 2010


Yesterday was a hot and dry day.  In fact it was 42C (107F)  in the shade yesterday, and already it's 40C at 11 in the morning.  I wonder what it will be by the middle of the afternoon! (ed.  so far it has made it to 43C... 110F in the shade outside my back door... it's funny to be able to put your thumb over the bulb of the thermometer to bring the temperature down...  it's only 30C... 86F in the kitchen.)
The garden looks a bit the worse for wear, but despite that,  I am finally picking enough vegetables to keep us...  along with rice and lentils and/or beans.  I am much happier eating home grown meals.
I am staying inside and I'll probably spend some of the afternoon in the coolest part of the house,  reading.  It always seems so luxurious...  anything but the hard life.

As I made the coffee this morning,  and brought it in to the kitchen (I didn't light the fire this morning... I used the gas stove on the back verandah)  I put it onto the usual trivet that I use to protect my kitchen "bench"   right here....

This started me thinking about the trivet and where it came from.  I have had it since I lived in Regina, and it was made by a neighbour,  Al Wall.   He and his wife were my best friends while I lived there.
I had left Australia for the third time, very sad,  as I didn't expect to ever get back here again, at the time...  but that is another story.  It was 1986.
Al's wife,  Gwen,  was the neighbour who showed up on my doorstep with a container of home made cookies "for the children" (I had four at the time) and a list of phone numbers for tradesmen etc, details of services (garbege collection,  milkman,  etc) and, of course, her own phone number... in case I needed help or babysitting!   I was noticeably pregnant at the time,  and later,  Gwen was to tell me of her apprehension about possible noisy neighbours.... with all those children!   It turned out that we weren't noisy at all, and Gwen became a good friend.  We could wave across the two back yards between kitchen windows when the leaves had fallen and the snow was on the ground... at -40C, one doesn't get out much, and even a sociable wave is significant at about this (FEB) time of the year!
In Canada,  children don't remain at school all day (unless they live very far away)  as, particularly in winter,  there's nowhere to accomodate them indoors.  And so my children had to return home daily,  for lunch.  While I was in hospital with that particular baby,  my older children had lunch at "Gwen's."
In fact,  in the two years that I lived in Regina,  I had two babies,  and moved when the youngest of my six children was only three months old.  We had only been there for two years... and, not surprisingly,  I found it exhausting.
Al Wall was a talented wood-worker.  He made all manner of wooden items,  some elegant and spectacular, some practical household items and all absolutely beautiful!  And so to my trivet...  Al used left over tiles from another job and made this simple trivet that he gave me when I left Regina... and  have used it ever since.  What's more,  every time I do... just like this morning when I made the coffee, I think of Al and Gwen.
There have been many people who have had an influence on my life,  but there is something about having familiar objects (ones that you use every day)  that keeps these people as a part of one's life,  no matter how far away or how long ago.  It is no wonder that attachment to objects... whether personal, fetish or even symbolic religious icons are so important to people....  or even a trivet for my coffee pot in the morning.
In recent times,  I have caught up with Gwen on the internet.  I "discovered" her daughter on Facebook,  got an email address,  and she does email occasionally.  I haven't mentioned the trivet to her yet.


Fiona (posts by her mum and dad) said...

I remember once that you were sick jane, I ran to Gwen's front door and burst into tears telling her that you needed help. Is this a figment of my imagnation?

Jane said...

Probably not!
I was often on my own, sick and overloaded with kids at the time... including one scary event when I ended up in hospital but couldn't be admitted as I had to get home before everyone woke up and had to get to school!
I was rehydrated intravenously and went home in a taxi to feed a baby and get kids to school.