Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ahh Tissue

Before anyone wonders, no I do not have a cold ... thank goodness. 

Recently while doing the washing my attention was drawn to little pieces of paper wafting around in the bowl of the washing machine!  Tissues!!  And no, I do not use tissues, much preferring to use the good old fashioned, though according to those who know, full of germ handkerchiefs.

Significant Other prefers tissues, and I prefer not to go through his pockets before starting a wash day; hence tissues floating amongst the soap suds.

Of course there is a quick remedy, and living in the country where water soaks away quickly [we live on sand ... but not of the beach variety], and where creatures and the elements dispose of waste paper, all I need do is whisk the now soaked tissues out of the water and throw them out the back door, which is always open on wash day.  That little pieces hang onto clothes is but another distraction, but at ironing time I have a special little contraption that neatly brushes lint etc and it adheres to the 'brush'.

That my patience becomes a little frayed is another tale!

However, such disturbances give one time to contemplate the advent of the tissue as a replacement to the handkerchief.  I am not sure when the changeover began; I have an idea there was no specific date as in GST, or going digital.  It kinda evolved!

I do recall having a handkerchief safety-pinned to my jumper in my early school days, but after noticing how 'gross' it was, soon insisted I was a big girl, and big girls wore their handkerchief tucked up their cardigan sleeve ... out of sight until needed.  Some poor girls [where did boys carry handerchiefs?  did they not have them at all!?] didn't even have a handkerchief; instead a large piece of rag adorned their front.

Over the years I have owned, and used, many many handkerchiefs.  Some were floral, most were colourful, some were utilitarian in plain colours; some, and these were for Sunday Best were white lawn delicately embroidered.  They were always ironed ... killed any germs after washing, though back in the olden days a hot water wash, or even a dip in the copper, managed to attack unwanted germs.

When heavy colds were 'on the rounds' and school too exciting to miss, which was most of the time, a man's handkerchief was pushed up a sleeve.  Oh yes, it was bulky, but the advantages of using a dry corner.

Handkerchiefs were a handy present; pretty boxes to keep them in were in great demand.

Now tissues float in the washing machine; tissues are thrown away, with their encumbent germs; and yes no doubt tissues are more hygenic ... if only they didn't mess up the rest of the washing!! 

And in case you are left wondering ... I do use handkerchiefs, though if a heavy cold has managed to catch me, a tissue is the preferred option.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Where is Joy?

We made a trip into town this morning ... milk and mail being the main reasons, but also the freezer compartment was becoming depleted of meat. 

I don't know if you are fortunate to have a butcher shop in your area?  While our local butcher does not have a chopping block for cutting up sides of beef, or lamb, we are fortunate to have a butcher.  Somehow Supermarket meat doesn't taste the same; whether it is the prepackaging in plastic, or the lack of chat [or gossip] that is part and parcel of a real butchery.

I waltz in, cheery as always.  Mr Butcher wasn't in sight.  I called out a goodmorning and from the depths of 'out the back' came a "Won't be a tick."  I know some folks wouldn't call out and slowly become impatient if their presence isn't noticed.  But, at the moment, our butcher is the only one there, and if we want sausages made 'out the back', or tasty rissoles that are not available anywhere else as they are made to a special recipe, then we find it easier to call out. 

As I wandered along the front of the counter I pointed out what I wanted ... two of this, three of that, 500g of the next.  My Significant Other refuses to come into the butchery with me as he is of the opinion that one should ask for a quantity of this or that.  I prefer to have a variety.  Open the freezer compartment and grab a parcel ... each meal depends on where the fingers land.

And as is the case with a real butcher, the state of the nation is discussed, as is the state of most other unimportant topics ... weather etc.  You know, all those things we have no say in.  But today we did manage to find a discussion that is apt to everyone everywhere. 

The topic?  Why is it that newspapers, TV, and most other media are glass half-empty people?  Moans about this, groans about that!  And as this discussion was important, some important 'facts' we put forward.  We discussed and came to a conclusion ... they, those faceless people behind the headlines, like to keep us in a state of fear! 

Oh, and you wonder what began this serious, state of the nation discussion?  The fact, as reported in large headlines on the front page of the newspaper that drinking is as bad as asbestos, and smoking was in the mix as well.  Of course anything done in other than moderation can be injurious to health; but scary headlines are every bit as hard to take.  We wondered if perhaps someone, somewhere might consider printing a newspaper full of good news; joyous news! 

Is that really too much to ask?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oh no, not a rat!

In my childhood I read, or had read to me, the story by Kenneth Grahame, 'Wind in the Willows', in which book creatures that we normally would have little to do with featured as the main characters.  Remnants of the story remain in my mind as a haze in the annals of time.  Mole, Badger and Ratty played out their lead roles in 'Wind in the Willows', and a charming tale it was.

Around 4.00am this morning another Ratty played a major role in a non-welcome event.  I awoke to a strange sound; the splashing of water.  Alerted to the unaccustomed sound I concentrated to discern its whereabouts.  Water running indoors should not occur, especially at that hour of the morning.  The noise appeared to  be coming from the bathroom.

Being of an extremely brave disposition I nudged Significant Other, silently wishing I didn't have to resort to screaming.  In his half awake state I whispered, "There is something in the toilet." 

A mumble was the reply, but not to be put off I persisted; his sleep broken I guess he decided he might as well waken properly and listen.  I repeated my statement.  For some reason the only reply I received was a half-hearted grunt that could have meant, 'I hear you', or even 'what to you expect me to do at this hour of the morning?'

More whispered consultation followed and he, being a big brave man, scrambled out of bed and grabbed a huge torch ... to see what was what?  Or a weapon?

Moments later I heard the lid of the toilet being put down.  He returned to bed, commenting, "There is a rat in the toilet". 

I do not like rats, outside, inside, and specificially not in the toilet bowl.  But at least the lid was down!  As I lay awake planning murder Significant Other rolled over and slept.   Sun-up at the moment is around 6.00am.  Significant Other rose, made a coffee and allowed me a blissful [? how much longer can that rat swim in a toilet bowl?] few moments before I decided I may as well get up, as that way the sloshing of Ratty in the toilet bowl was less evident.

We breakfasted.  I suggested a couple of rather barbarian ways to disuade Ratty [or to send him to a watery grave].  S.O. headed for the bathroom, armed with weapons.  He wasn't gone long; each swipe made at Ratty allowed Ratty the opportunity to attempt an escape up the handle of the 'drowning tool'.  S.O. was not amused and rallied the troops [me].  Well, in the interests of animal safety I will not divulge my method, suffice to say there is more than enough Scottish blood in my veins and memories of blood thirsty tales of pouring boiling oil on the 'invaders' of Scottish granite sanctums rose to the forefront.

Poor Ratty.  A big flush sent him on his way.  It is fervently wished that he, or his relatives, never return, though they are welcome to wander around the great outdoors [out of my sight] to their hearts content.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goodbye Summer!

I wonder if I say it often enough Summer will take the hint and fade into the sunset?  Autumn would be a most welcome visitor this March.

According to pundits a heatwave consists of three consecutive days when the temperature rises above 35°; what would one call three consecutive days, or more, registering above 40°?  Because this is what we have been handed, whether we like it or not. 

I remember not long after my daughter married an Aussie when she reported, during a long telephone conversation, that her Mother-in-law had handed her a piece of advice ... 'in summer complete all your essential chores early in the morning, and let the rest of the day look after itself.'  She wasn't sure of that information, for in New Zealand most days, even in the height of summer, one could tackle chores anytime throughout the day.

Well, we have had at least four days where the temperature reached above 40°; before that we had a two or three just above 30°, and before that three or four above 40°.  I guess that were we the possessors of air conditioning we could have sat in the cool just above 20°.  We haven't air conditioning, and while I consider anything under 35° OK, once the thermometer hits 38 or 39 my get up and go, gets up and goes.

Autumn, you are most welcome!  Goodbye Summer, take the hint, and just go away!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shopping and Memories

As I wander around the shops today I wonder how today's children will remember their youthful experiences 'at the shops'?

Last century, when life was less rushed [who was it that said, Life will be full of leisure with the advent of computers?] a day shopping with my mother was a day of excitement, especially if that shopping trip was to the distant city.

Up early, breakfast, a careful wash to disperse any sign of food on face, a taxi ride to the railway station, a hour and a half on a steam train when we managed to lower the windows ever so slightly [against rules] passing through the two tunnels, and the excitement of arriving in the bustling city with shops stretching as far as the eye could see, and beyond, on both sides of the street; tram cars rattling down the middle of the road hitched to electric wires above.  We kept careful watch for my uncle who drove a tram.

My favourite shops were McKenzies or Woolworths, not the modern supermarket shops of today, but shops where goods on show were placed in rickedy wooden trays just high enough for a small child to have to stretch up on tippy toes.  Money didn't grow on trees, or cards, nor was it pulled from an electronic device; money was made to go round, and just, at that.  Looking gave more than enough excitement!  Toys were beyond my price range, balloons and pop guns were viable if careful budgeting was in place ... first to check there were no other temptations.

Often I bought a ball of wool to improve my knitting skills.  Needles were not essential; Mum had plenty at home.

Yesterday while at the local shops I noticed a young Mum carrying her child in a front harness; the baby's legs dangled loosely as Mum struggled with shopping at the same time trying to keep a toddler safe.  

I wondered what memories those children will carry with them of shopping days?  Would they remember the scary thrill of trying to make a shilling or two stretch to enable the purchase of a coveted prize?

Or will they be happier shopping on line?  A confession; while not usually an on-line shopper recently I made a purchase that will give daily pleasure for many months, and years, to come. 

A cute mouse mat emblazoned with ancient, well old-fashioned, cotton reels.  It is colourful, useful, and inspirational ... reminding me that time spent 'surfing the 'net' is really time wasted when one could be creating crafty delights.