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Gecko guts and grapes

Patricia Pike <>

17:41 (0 minutes ago)

"Touch my head, touch my toes. I never want to go in one of those." My Gran would always say when she saw an ambulance. The day finally came when she was rushed off with a burst appendix in 'one of those.' Afterwards, she lamented that she had been tempting fate by saying those words. As a child, I thought she had beaten the odds by quite some margin. She had muttered that saying for thousands of times and yet only once was she forced to use the ambulance services. 1000 to 1. Yup, I would take those odds. I have been feeling the spirit of Grandma these past few weeks. First I had a craving for Ox-tail soup and then a sudden urge to make marmalade. I raided the ever abundant lemon tree and started preparing. Now I can't eat shop bought marmalade because it is usually laced with grapefruit and my medication freaks out at even a small sniff of the fruit. Hence the homemade variety is my guilty little diabetic secret. I slice a nice piece of Camembert cheese ... heat in the microwave for a few seconds with a tablespoon of marmalade and hey presto .. divine! Oh well, I will stop drooling and bring myself back to earth. But what I wonder is how a packet of sugar .. in a pot on the stove .. manages to coat every surface in a 100-meter radius, including myself and my clothes. How I wish Grandma was here to tell me her secret of staying sticky sugar-free while producing bottles of golden yummy marmalade. I now have four bottles of seriously tasty jam and I should really count my many blessings but sticky stuff in my hair and in my ears ... how did that happen? .. drives me nuts.

This week I put away my temple clothes for an extended length of time and was wondering out loud if they would get smelly in my cupboard. I remembered visiting a good friend many years ago who had bowls of lavender leaves around the home and I thought 'Aha I have lavender in the garden and some pretty little baggies. Should I make up a potpourri bag for the clothes?" As quick as a wink Barry had dashed outside and chopped down the whole plant ... well no, not really. But it was a huge huge bunch of branches. I made up some bags of the leaves and as I was putting them in the drawers, I wondered what the police would think if they came and raided the house. Those bags looked suspiciously like whacky weed. We sometimes watch those police shows where dogs are brought in to ferret out drugs. Would the dogs react to lavender? Or would they just get mellow and relaxed and perhaps fall asleep? I will test it out on our cats to see what they think. Although seriously they are more interested in catnip than other herbs of any sort.

We have a new situation with our resident cat. Venus started life as a fly catching kitten and then moved on to crickets. This is her first Winter and suddenly there are no creepy crawlies for her to chase. No problem. She has taken to sitting on the lawn and waiting for the earthworms to pop out of their holes. They are then brought into the lounge to be presented for approbation to the humans. Sadly the humans are not really appreciative of wriggly worms. Barry carries the worm outside and repatriates it onto the lawn while I endeavour to restrain the Venus monster. It reminded me of the gecko guts episode a few years back. (Sorry for those who have already heard this story.) Our resident cat of the moment caught a gecko and laid it at my feet while I sat on the couch eating grapes and reading a book. Trying not to squeak like a little girl, I jumped up and put the cat in a cupboard while I re-homed the gecko. Yes, I did release the cat. She was not amused that I had not appreciated her generosity in sharing her bounty with me and stalked off to find a stray sunbeam. An hour later I thought I should prepare dinner for the hungry husband and stood up only to feel something squishy under my foot. My mind immediately imagined a pile of gecko guts. Yes, I do have a vivid imagination. I looked down and yes, it did look like disembowled gecko. Yuk. To be fair I did not have my glasses on and I was not interested in taking a closer look and decided that it was a 'male' job. No, really we don't have gender-specific jobs in our home but we do make exceptions at times... and this was a 'time'. Barry got home and I directed him to the gecko guts. He grumped a little bit about getting the 'dirty' jobs around the house. And lamented that it was always him who had to remove dead animals. But off he went with a paper towel in hand to deal to the offending mess. He humphed a few times, which I ignored as I stirred the dinner. Then he wandered back into the kitchen after a few minutes with a puzzled look on his face. "This isn't gecko guts." He announced. "It's a squished grape." How to save face after that? Well as luck would have it a song came onto the radio and it was "Have I told you lately that I love you?" I put down the spoon and looking gorgeous in my old track pants, unwashed hair and daggy apron, I grabbed Barry and said "Dance with me." Which he did, whirling me around the kitchen and all mention of gecko guts versus grapes were forgotten as he dipped me and we both enjoyed the moment of romance. Barry is nice like that. When I am an idiot he is quick to forget and move on to more interesting pursuits.

We had all four of our children home last week and decided it was time to sit them down and have a 'talk'. It was about what to do when their Dad dies. No, his death is not imminent but one of our sons lives on the other side of the world and we have to seize the day when we can. We spoke of things like songs and coffins, eulogies and food, money and who does what when. A friend thought we were very brave to have the 'talk'. Really? Don't other families talk about things that are important? Things that need to be sorted well ahead of time so that in the heat of grief and pain, no one makes a faux pas and hurts someone else's feelings. I have told my husband that I want to donate my organs when I die. Our daughter, Colette died when she was 8 months old. But if she had lived a little bit longer we might have needed someone to donate a piece of their liver to help her live a full life. I felt it was hypocritical to expect others to donate organs for my family and not do the same in return. Can you imagine not telling your family that sort of thing ahead of time? We really need to give our loved ones time to get ready for the sad times in life. Hence the 'talk'. Okay, enough drama. I always get a bit tearful when I talk about our daughter and no one likes to see me do the ugly cry.

Did you know that we are allergic to our own body? Yup, our eyes swell up as they react to the tears we shed. Enough enough enough stupidity for one day. I have a kitchen to wash and sugar to remove from hair and ears.

Lots of love


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