It’s been a quiet week. Despite best efforts at hand washing and healthy living plus not touching yucky public things, the G.O. and I succumbed to a common cold lurgy.
Feeling unwell isn’t conducive to looking on the bright side but this week along the lines of WikiHow’s How to Lead a Fulfilling Life Based on Words Ending in “Ty”, I gave it my own best shot with tea and words ending “y”. Positivity.
Following advice recommending lots of rest and fluids, I took a day and a half either side of the weekend off work. I attended only to household necessities, pottered around, rested and drank tea. Efficiency.
Over the course of the week we’ve drunk much and varied tea… lemongrass & dried ginger tea, peppermint tea, black tea, green tea, lemon myrtle tea, jasmine dragon pearls tea… but left to my own devices on Monday and not well enough to venture out I wanted something else… with a kick… so I brewed a concoction from what was to hand. Spicy.
In a teapot: Nancy’s Lemongrass and Ginger tea + dessert spoon of fresh grated ginger (from a jar) + dessert spoon of organic honey + half teaspoon Garam Masala + half teaspoon Tumeric + half teaspoon Cayenne Pepper + slice of lemon. Creativity.
Soothing to the throat and warming of the chest. The G.O. looked sceptical when I told him. But it was tasty.
I put it to dual use as an inflamed ear poultice, soaking a cotton pad with the tea, applying it still warm to my sore ear. The mother of invention is necessity.
We had things to do last weekend. A car show and a visit to our new niece. We didn’t do either. Or anything else. A quick top-up grocery shop as I walked home last Friday lunchtime plus fridge-freezer and pantry contents and little effort has fed us this week. Simplicity.
Not going to the Hot Rod and Custom Auto Expo saved us cash. Frugality.
We didn’t visit my family and new niece then realise we were sick. We rain-checked. Sagacity.
After he finished work on Saturday the G.O. admitted the lurgy had taken hold. We stayed all plans and had an early night. Practicality.
The G.O. and I spent a cosy recuperative Sunday together on the couch catching up on recent TV episodes of the second part of the first series of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Misery loves company.
The G.O. has been dragging himself to work. His system has a higher tolerance for Panadol and the Pseudoephedrine content of cold & flu tablets than mine does. Duty over captivity.
I have a higher tolerance for limiting my existence to within the walls of our apartment. Ingenuity.
But even I have limits to how much time I can spend recuperating at home so I’ve been going to and from the office at odd hours. Logging on and checking emails remotely. Flexibility.
My foggy head managed some reading to pass the time. I posted reviews on Goodreads but unless you’re a Diana Gabaldon fan and are interested in reading the Lord John Grey novellas, I haven’t got anything new and wonderful to recommend. As well, I’ve been haphazardly reading & commenting on blog posts. Literary community.
I felt like my head cold addled mind could barely string two words together but I managed to polish my ‘branching out’ short story to just over 2000 words before checking the submission details. Somehow I’d gotten it into my fuzzy head the required word count was 2000 to 5000 words. Realising the word limit was up to 1500 words, while muttering “show, don’t tell” I killed 500-ish of my darlings for the better I must say. I submitted it to Australian Country Style this morning. Maybe words formulated under the influence of lurgy brain will give it an edge. Tenacity.
I’m getting better, and we haven’t needed to visit the doctor for an antibiotics prescription, or a flu shot. The G.O. is holding his own and the rain has accomplished what gentle nagging did not; he came home from work early today although it wasn’t easy to persuade him to go and have a sleep. Plus he has the weekend off. Happy.
Confession time. This is my office tea mug. A post workday wine o’clock conversation with the G.O. segued from wonderful old newspaper advertisements now accessible via Trove to an anecdote which brought the mug and its precedent to mind.
The G.O.’s story was about an old mate he knew in the country near Uralla who using old lathes & machinery imported from England, crafted bespoke parts for earthmoving machinery, in this case the dozer the G.O. was working on. Due to unfortunate circumstances the old bloke lived on his own, so even when not needing work done, the G.O. would purchase smoko from the bakery in town and call out for a visit. The old bloke’s contribution was mugs of tea. The kettle was dipped into a 44 gallon drum of water, and the wild brew sipped from blackened mugs. The G.O. laughs and says a lot of people wouldn’t have dared but he figured it wouldn’t kill him.
As I listen to the G.O.’s story my mind travels to the past and my Dad’s automotive mechanical workshop in Murrurundi, with its makeshift corner kitchen: brass cold water tap running from the weathered corrugated iron rainwater tank over a grimy sink next to a bench on which sat a mismatched collection of stained mugs, kettle, box of tea bags, jar of instant coffee, small carton of milk purchased daily, sugar in a jam jar to keep ants out, and crusty teaspoons.
For comfort there were half a dozen odd chairs, and during the cold mountain range winter an aged woodstove was lit. After whosever turn it was returned from collecting the bakery order, we’d congregate for smoko and consume pies, sausage rolls, or devon salad rolls if the weather was warm, followed by an assortment of cornets, matchsticks, apple turnovers and vanilla slices, accompanied by mugs of tea or coffee.
Cleaning up entailed sweeping the crumbs onto the floor for the dog, chucking paper bags into the bin or fire, rinsing the mugs under the cold water tap and resetting them on the bench.
All of a sudden my office tea mug made sense. I’m fanatical about using fresh water to make tea but I can’t remember the last time the mug had a wash. I drink straight black tea, as does the G.O. although he has a sugar. The mug might absorb layers of tannin for months before I spruce it up for a cup of soup, and only then because experience taught me soup dissolves tannin.
The G.O.’s work thermos lid is worse, and although I never give it more than an occasional wipe if it strays into the kitchen, he takes this opportunity to remind me it is sacrosanct and would be unacceptable to upset the long accumulated residue.
Just in case I might ever be tempted, the G.O. follows my recollection with another anecdote: his uncle throwing their billy to billy-o (possibly another explanation for the phrase?) after some well meaning but obviously female family member not being au fait with such things, gave it a scrub and ruined it.
Ah yes, so true… “The past is never where you think you left it.” Katherine Anne Porter