Thursday, 12 June 2008


It was supposed to be a Thursday like any other - walk with mother's dog on the beach, lunch at mother's house, do a couple of jobs for her, head back home, cook dinner for mother-in-law, greet mother-in-law, feed her lots of cheeses, give her lots of wine, eat dinner, give her some homework - she loves me to print off something I have written during the week to read and we discuss it next week! But....son Hugh, who for many reasons happened to be home at our place on Wednesday night, said he would like to go with me to the market on Thursday as he was busy on Friday. So, being the mother-who-has -nothing-to-do-but-bend-to-her-family's-wishes, I said OK. What I imagined would be a quick trip in, a bit of food shopping, some morning tea at the market with mother in lieu of lunch and the whole dog thing and then home to the garden for the afternoon, turned into a mammoth day with Hugh, arriving home at about 5pm.

Hugh is larger than life! He is not tall or fat but is just plain all-encompassing, no matter how you look at him! From the top of his no doubt expensive, white sunglasses and blonde hair, down past the bulging arm muscles, great all-year round tan and the pale yellow T-shirt that says certified organic, to the shorts, hairy legs and sandshoes, he oozes presence! He knows how to have a good time, he understands people (especially his mother!) and he has a job the envy of many and the despair of his girlfriend's parents! He is a watch-leader on the One and All sail-training ship - a square-rig ship that takes groups of disadvantaged kids out for a week at a time to show them there is more to life than drugs, alcohol and bad language. He loves it and he and the crew are seeking the title "Best Sail Training Ship In The World". He has a passion and wants to lead the world - does that sound like anyone else you know from around here? He has plans and ideas - wise and otherwise - and nobody is going to keep him inside the square and I love him dearly for it and am very proud of him. .

So, at the market we just bought double of everything (and guess who paid?) - half for him and his house-mate (another lad from the One and All) and half for Roger and I. Sounds simple but life with Hugh is never simple or cheap. Of course, he wanted some special French cheeses, expensive wine and other things for a picnic on the weekend with his girlfriend - there I drew that line that pops up from time to time! He could buy them himself, that curtailed the spending enormously because he spent all his money living it up in Sydney after sailing there on the One and All last week. So he bought some fish and borrowed the smoker box and I picked him a basket full of goodies from the garden as well as some of my jars of preserves from the cupboard - olives, chutney, jam and bottled peaches.

My mother, at 85, has been going to the market all her life - well, since she and her family arrived in Adelaide from England when she was 2 - and she still goes, without fail. Instead of going to her place for lunch this week, Hugh and I joined her for morning tea at Zuma - a cafe in the market, where the coffee is excellent and the muffin of the day, cooked in little terracotta pots and served hot with cream is one of the best things in Adelaide. Once they stopped having these at Zuma because the pots are a bother to clean, they said, and there was a riot in the streets! I for one, told them I was going to take my patronage elsewhere because what was Zuma if not the place with the best muffins in the world?! Next week they were back. Speaking up is always good. They get the little pots from Bennett's Pottery in Magill, if anyone is interested in cooking them this way. John Bennett has a passion too and it is making terracotta things - another story. (I took the camera but alas, again, the battery was flat. Holy valotta I was disappointed but c'est la vie.)

We were sitting there in the window, slurping our coffee and chatting about this and that when my mother laughed and said she had something to tell me.....the other night she was at home, sitting at the kitchen table, shelling the peas she had bought at Wilson's Organics last week.... her glasses on, the radio going, the dog at her feet, dinner in the oven and so on. She slid her thumb down the line of peas in the next pod, to scoop them out into the bowl and she noticed that one of the peas had sprouted, there in the pod. She probably said "Well look at that, Sandy!" to the dog. She promptly stood up, took off her reading glasses, got the torch from the drawer and a trowel from the laundry cupboard and walked purposefully out into the dark, winter's night with the single, sprouted pea in her hand. Outside on the patio was an old concrete pot that I had filled with potting mix for her to plant a lemon verbena in. Instantly she decided to put the lemon verbena elsewhere and that this tub was to be the home of the pea. Into the soil it went.

Now, because my father was a nurseryman and had a passion for plants - all plants - he always did the gardening. My mother only started gardening at about 80 when my father died. I keep and area near her kitchen door clear for her to plant some vegetables in but more often this patch gets filled with bulbs and flowers - "Just for now, dear, until the weather warms up / cools down/ rains etc etc" So it was a wonderful thing for me to hear that she had planted a pea, - one of her favourite vegetables, in the dark on a cold winter's night. You see, parents can take after their children, even if it takes 85 years!
Later that evening Roger couldn't find his wallet, missed the train from work, rang his mother who said she wasn't coming to dinner because it was now getting late and she doesn't like to drive in the fog. Then Roger's bike chain broke, it started to pour with rain and I had to go and pick up him and his bike from the corner of the parklands...dinner got late, very late. Hugh rang to say his car battery was flat and so was a tyre and why didn't I stay and help him instead of abandoning him at 4.30pm in Pt Adelaide...Hugh is lovely but there are limits to my endurance!...I went to put some wood in the fire after dinner, just thought I would lie down in front of the fire for a minute and went to sleep there....
Life is good, if unpredictable... Go with the flow....
(Bloody blogger...why won't Alex fix it!....he says he is doing other stuff but will get to it soon. Oh yeah! Don't hold your breath... I have been using Windows Live Writer which is much better. Today I forgot, in my enthusiasm to write this!)


Anonymous said...

I must have seen you and your son
at the market yesterday - I
noticed the shirt!

Pattie Baker said...

What a woderful, wonderful day, Kate. And I know you loved every unpredictable minute of it!

I used to take th Long Island Railroad out from my apartment in Manhattan to see my mom on Long Island on some weekends and would always go back to the city with a sutuiace full of provisions (so I know how Hugh feels!)