Work and relaxation

28 October 2013
I'm not sure why but there are a lot of readers who are interested in what I do each day. I'm ordinary. Usually I'm here at home doing ordinary things.  When I'm writing, which I am at the moment, there's not a lot to report in my normal daily activities - I make three meals, clean up and write most of the day. But yesterday I took time away from the computer and spent most of the day working in my home, and relaxing.

Up at 3.30am, I dressed, cleaned my teeth, checked emails, made tea and crumpets and packed my trusty little trolly in the boot of the car. When I left home at 5.00am to go to the local market, the sun was just peeking through. I was after some fish for our terracotta pond which sits on the front verandah. Tricia bought me a beautiful iris last time she was here, it's been flowering its little head off and while it sits in water to grow, the water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We used to have some native rainbow fish in the pond but when I moved it last week, I realised they'd disappeared. Also on my list, a tall tropical plant for the area near the front door and some avocados. Hanno needed line for his whipper snipper.

The market was packed when I arrived at 5.20. Some were sipping coffee, others walking around eating toasted sandwiches or fruit. It didn't take me long to find what I needed and I was in and out very smartly. I was home again at 6.45. Hanno was sitting at the kitchen table eating his breakfast - rolled oats with blueberries and walnuts.

I had five little guppies in a plastic bag so I had to work fast to get them into their new home. I emptied the water out of the pond with a bucket onto the hanging baskets and pot plants, moved the pond back into the shade of the verandah, then filled it again with rainwater from the tank. I cleaned up the iris, clipped off the dead flower heads and placed the plant in the water. When I opened up that plastic bag the fish swam out into their new home. The verandah feels cool and restful with the water and plants. It's reminds me how easy it is to create a relaxing space when you have shade, somewhere to sit and a few plants. When everything was set, I swept the verandah then went inside to make some cool drinks for us.  By this stage Hanno was watering plants in the front garden. Usually we don't have to water our outdoor plants but we're in the middle of a drought.

We both rested with some early morning tea - apple and cinnamon pikelets and lemon cordial made with sparkling mineral water and ice.  I made the bed, finished off another two napkins (more on that tomorrow), washed up and prepared lunch. Crumbed chicken breast with the last of the potato salad, lettuce, avocado, tomato and cucumber.

After lunch I repotted the large heliconia I bought. It's sitting right near the front door now. It's still a bit untidy but as new leaves grow, it should look really splendid. I gave it a rich potting soil containing worm castings and cow manure so it shouldn't be too long before it takes off. Late in the afternoon we adopted a baby magpie that's been hanging around without its mother for a few days. It flew into the verandah and sat on the back of the lounge where I was sitting, so Hanno got some tiny pieces of pork sausage to feed to it. It must have been very hungry because everything Hanno gave it was eaten. It looks like it has a damaged beak. I have a feeling the mother is dead because this baby it too young to be alone. We'll look out for it over the next few days and continue feeding it if it turns up without mum again.

And for the rest of the afternoon, dear friends, I put my money where my mouth is and I relaxed on the front verandah. I read and knitted Jono's cardigan. It was everyone for themselves at tea time. Hanno made himself sandwiches and I had some watermelon. It was a beautiful mix of productive energy, fixing this and that, and shoes off, feet-up relaxing.  I hope you did some of that as well. It's back to work again today but I'll be out on that verandah again to break the work day up. I work better when I look after myself. I think we all do.