Thursday, 22 September 2016

I Squeeze Two Oranges

I have a new habit.

No, I have not entered a convent,  although as a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl, I did offer 'Nun' as a reply to a question a careers teacher put to me once.  I forget what the question was.

My new habit is to squeeze two oranges each morning - for the juice of it.

Orange juice is best straight from the orange.  Ever since my mother taught me this, I've been spoilt for the bottled / canned / cartoned varieties, though I've mostly made do until recently.

No more.  I begin my mornings these days by taking two oranges from my constant supply, using the pleasure of my new sharp knife to cut them in half, before turning them this way and that on the ridged dome of an orange juicer, and then tipping the collected juice into a glass.

After all this, I'm too wanton and needful to sip the half glassful, so, still standing, I down the lot in a few sweet, crazy mouthfuls.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

I Cause A Stir

Three weeks ago, young Tim turned up at badminton. 

I'd met Tim in an idiosyncratic  pub which serves excellent beer.  I had been chatting in Poets' Corner with a friend from badminton about putting up shelves, motorbikes and whether he was going to play at the next session.  Tim overheard our conversation and asked about the badminton club. 

"This is Tim," I said to Hollie the following Tuesday. "I met him when I was out with Paul."

The next Tuesday, Chelsea asked me who the new guy was with Tim.  It turned out to be young Jack.  "I hear you met Tim when you were out on the pull," said Chelsea, "I'm impressed." I was momentarily perplexed, blushing.  "Oh! No!" I insisted. "I met Tim when I was having a drink with Paul," adding, by way of explanation, "talking about badminton.  And shelving."  This suddenly sounded highly implausible.

This week, Tim and Jack turned up with young Raj.  When Chelsea arrived, she winked at me.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I Puzzle Over Significance

A friend came round earlier in the week and saw the half-completed jigsaw puzzle my Younger Son and I have been tackling.  "I didn't have you down as a puzzle person," he said. "I'm not," I replied.

I didn't have myself down as a Mahler person either, but what I've learnt, seven symphonies and 1000 pieces later, is that listening to rousing music whilst searching through barely distinguishable tiny bits of blue card can make me behave like a different sort of person from the person I imagine myself to be - I become meticulous, methodical, patient, single-minded: satisfied in passing by the finding of a piece that fits.  Looking for Lego pieces, my son reminded me, used to produce a similar, almost forensic, effect in me.

I have also discovered that, when looking for missing pieces, shape matters more than colour as in indicator of fit.  I've learnt that if I keep looking, the piece is always there, somewhere. I am pretty sure this is a metaphor for something significant.

I am less sure whether it is significant, or merely a coincidence, that I came across the puzzle, a reproduction of a painting of Mount Lefroy, for sale in a shop in Presteigne when looking for a birthday present. Or that my son saw I'd bought it and asked to open it before I could give it away. I do know that the puzzle has provided the backdrop for several hours of gently concentrated conversation, some of it about Mahler, some of it about shades of grey, and also has resolved the problem of what to give my co-named relatives for Christmas.  It's also set me thinking about taking a trip one day to the place my Canadian grandfather was born.

The next symphony coming up on our playlist, no. 8, is known as the Symphony of a Thousand.  And next door in the charity shop, a thousand piece puzzle is displayed in the window, going cheap.  Now there's a thing.