Wellington is enjoying an astonishingly fine autumn. On Monday Ali came round for the garden, and we got an amazing amount done, mainly because of her encouragement, energy, skill and knowledge, but also because the weather was so good that I didn't flag as I usually do. She brought me lemons, new plants, and her latest batch of quince jelly (see "The magic quince").
But later in the week I did flag quite badly - the aftermath of Rarotonga, I expect, plus the approach of a holiday, always a difficult time, beset by a heightened consciousness of being on my own.. It's hard work, this living alone business, especially if you don't go out to work every day. You have to organise all your company and companionship, all the time - it's no longer just reliably there, ready whenever you need it, without having to actively do anything to get it. And of course, by the time you've been together as long as we had, there's such a generous store of shared experience and knowledge that you implicitly understand so much, being together is easy. (The danger, of course, is that you take each other for granted and don't fully value what you've got, but something of that is probably inevitable.)
The other problem (maybe it's just me?) is I can get quite nervous about contacting people to arrange things, especially over holidays, thinking that they're probably all busy already, and maybe a bit weary of hearing from me anyway. Silly, I know, but it's easy to get into a downward spiral about it all.
Anyway, I managed to rally enough to go out last night and buy myself the new House and Garden (to inspire the major tidy-up I planned for the weekend), a block of peppermint chocolate (in lieu of an Easter egg), and one hot cross bun for this morning (though I am totally non-religious, I irrationally cling to the tradition that Good Friday is the proper day for eating hot cross buns). This afternoon I went for a walk down to Harvey's plaque, and tonight my neighbour is coming in for dinner.
Not sure about tomorrow yet, but on Sunday my lovely long-distance driving friend is taking me over to the Wairarapa, and on Monday another one is coming to the garden centre - I need some new pot flowers, and maybe some tulip bulbs. Harvey always grew them, and in the photo are the ones I grew (I was so proud of myself) for his last spring. But I didn't bother last year. So I think it will be good to revive that tradition, too.
OLIVIA WANNAN - The Dominion Post - 07/03/2014 [image: Kathryn Carmody] CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ SOMETHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT: Kathryn Carmody wan...
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