Friday, November 27, 2020

The kindness of good people


I wasn't planning on doing an update on how my broken bones are healing, but today started with a knock at the door and a very pleasant surprise that gave me an idea for this blog posting about kindness.

If you aren't one of my regular readers, you might
wonder what I mean by "broken bones". Here's 
the evidence, a broken heel encased in a very
colourful purple fibreglass cast. If I behave myself
the cast comes off on December 15, a bit over
two weeks away.

Now, onto this morning's pleasant surprise. Our neighbour, Jane, from two doors down the hill, came to the door with the loveliest bunch of hydrangeas cut from the bush which is "going mad" right now in Sydney's spring. She had heard about my broken hoof and just wanted to wish me well. 

This simple, kindly gesture has become one of the themes of these last six weeks. Neighbours all around us have offered to help out however they can, especially with car transport. Close friends have actually done the driving for us when needed, delicious treats from friends' creative kitchens have been delivered, and all sorts of people have been in touch just to ask how we're both going. 

The kindness started even at the moment back in mid-October when I initially hurt myself. Later on, once I emerged from the hospital's emergency ward wearing a brand new plaster cast on my leg and wobbling along on a shiny set of crutches, two young men wearing turbans on their head rushed over to help me make it to the taxi rank. (I think they were Sikhs, but they were definitely also good Samaritans). One fellow whipped out his mobile phone and summoned a cab on his app for me, and when the taxi arrived they flagged it down so I only had a few awkward steps to make before I slumped into the back of the cab. My thankyous and their best wishes were warmly exchanged ... and now six weeks later I am still so grateful for their simple acts of kindness to a total stranger.

Meanwhile, I have discovered a completely new side to my darling Pammy. After 30 years of marriage we've got our respective household job descriptions quite nicely sorted. For all that time I have been the one to do the gardening and any heavy lifting, and she has been the creative person who comes up with ideas, who spots pest control problems on plants and generally offers good advice on what we should do next. We garden as a team, but I'm the one who gets covered in dirt.

The breakthrough to this old regime came early ... and it happened in the kitchen. We're keen on recycling vegie scraps, and composting is my job! So when the little vegie scrap bin filled up, she asked "what do I do with this now?". With my broken foot it's a very long way down to the back of the property and the compost bin, and my first utterly sexist reaction was to suggest we forget about the scraps and composting until I healed up. "Nonsense, where is it, what do you do?"

Well, the truth be told, compost bins are almost rocket science, but not quite. You see, you have to remove the lid from the bin, tip in the contents of the scraps bin, and replace the lid. So it's incredibly complicated. And worst of all, down there near the shed, it's a bit yucky, and there might be spiders there, too. 

And so ever since becoming compost bin attendant, Pammy has been adding my "boy's job" skills to her repertoire, each time doing it with effortless aplomb.

She's been watering the garden on all the days when rain hasn't been forecast, pulling out weeds, picking up fallen fruit and trimming back over-growth. And the garden is looking quite nice, actually.

Then Pam very sensibly decided that we needed to get in a professional team of heavy duty gardeners for a few hours, and two strapping lads whipped out their chainsaws and powered hedge trimmers and in a cacophony of noise and activity all manner of overgrowth was cut back, carried to the truck and disappeared. That's how to manage an overgrown garden!

She has been magnificent over these last six weeks, especially when you consider that she's as busy as can be with her art teaching at the same time.

And so, to finish off this update on the fun and games at our place, here's a few photos, taken this morning, to share.

Our potted New South Wales Christmas Bush has never looked
so red nor lasted so long. It usually colours up in late October
and runs out of puff well before Christmas, but at least it will
provide good festive colour well into December this time.

I planted silver beet seeds just a few days before I broke my
foot, and so all this excellent progress is due to the watering
skills of my watercolour girl Pammy. 

And on the same day I planted the silverbeet seeds I also
planted a Jap pumpkin seedling, and it too is loving life.
Our original thought was to be bossy and cut it back if it
spread too far but right now we're thinking of it as a
"very big groundcover with edibles" and we like that idea. 

And so the news here from the land of the broken-footed gardener is that for the last six weeks I have been surrounded by the kindness of strangers, of friends, of neighbours and, most of all, my wonderful woman. I am truly a very lucky boy.