With the warm weather only a whisker away this morning, time has been spent raking leaves ... this is an endless, ongoing task; one that I tackle when visitors are expected, or when the hot days of summer and the bush-fire risk aids urgency.
Admittedly I had raked the leaves into bundles a couple of weeks ago, and had not got round to it, but overseas visitors expected early next week added urgency. There is a song here in Australia, one of the lines being, "Give me a home among the gum trees'. We live among the gum trees, they shelter us from excessive sun and storms and in return drop dead leaves with the slightest zephyr.
While wheeling the barrow to the 'heap' I yearned for a block of ice to quench the thirst, and reinvigorate the enthusiasm. Suddenly a memory from my primary school days scrambled from the corners of a cluttered mind ... one word sprung to mind ... Ice.
In my youthful days few households had a refrigerator. How did you keep food cool and fresh I hear you ask! A Safe; a cream and green metal safe that hung under the weeping plum tree on the back lawn kept food safe from attack of flies and the gentle breeze wafted in keeping food 'more or less' fresh. I daresay there were some occasions when it didn't work, but my Mother, mindful of the fussiness of her two children, never advertised those moments at the dinner table!
We never had a refrigerator, indeed as a child our home did not have electricity! And that will leave you with a million questions as to how ... when you know no other way it is easy.
I lived in the country, travelling by bus to a school in the town. Country children took cut lunches, buying fish and chips or a pie once a week; town children went home for lunch. A bus took those, who lived on the outskirts of town, home, returning them 10 minutes before class. Us Country Children did not envy those Town Children at all; exciting things happened in the lunch hour! Knuckle bones, pick-up-sticks, skipping, annoying boys playing marbles ... all the usual happenings of the era.
But, come a hot summer day [a little like today] and the Country Children crowded the bus stop for the return of the Town Children. Because ~ some brought a preserving jar full to the brim with little blocks of ice which were dished out to 'friends'. On those days the Town Children had more friends than ice, but the secret was to be close to the bus when the door opened!
Today I made do with a glass of cold water, followed by a swig of a popular sports drink, as per doctor's orders; dehydration in the Australian warmer weather when one is raking and shovelling is almost as bad as death, except there is a return!