Sources of Joy – Days 18—20

Fuel, and refuelling

The only thing worth mentioning about my car running out of fuel for the second time in two weeks on almost the same spot on the same road is that both times I was able to phone a friend to rescue me; the second time rather more fortuitous than the first because it was not midnight, and I had a container and a funnel to hand. That was how Day 17 ended.

Petrol container and weeds
Petrol container and weeds

Day 18  – May Day – saw me working steadily, since I had elected weeks ago to be available for translation for a good agency client on that day. It is a source of joy that the month’s earnings from this client were 20% up on last month’s; a trend I dearly hope will continue. I am glad of the summer-like weather in spring which afforded me the opportunity at the end of the day to strim pathways through the rampant weeds two feet high at a friend’s house, followed by a well-deserved ice-cold drink at the nearby café/pub. This establishment used to be an ordinary place, with old-fashioned wooden chairs and tables. It is now all posh and caters to wealthier retired expats. I took great pleasure in taking my dusty self in my odd assortment of gardening attire inside as a gentle, if not dishevelled and very hot (see below), reminder of what the literal manifestation of being down-to-earth means.

Day 19 was devoted to administration tasks, interspersed for sanity purposes with doing what is known in the translation industry as speed laundry, and speed hanging. I should say, though, that I was not so speedy, since I have been working the entire week with a fever threatening to become a lung infection or cold, combined with that menopausal favourite, the hot flush. These two things in tandem with brilliant days for drying clothes meant that my usual endless cups of coffee were replaced with large glasses of water – and that has to be a good thing!

The charity shop where I volunteer on Fridays in the early evening has received one month’s notice to vacate the premises from the owner who had been letting the organisation use the space rent-free. This is a blow to all involved, since the place is just beginning to take shape. We can only hope that a similarly generous person steps forward to help us out of what will be a major logistical problem in terms of storage – not to mention the hard work involved in moving all the clothes and items of furniture. The source of joy here was the sudden realisation that as a group, we have achieved something in the last six months; a cohesive sense of purpose, apart from having helped quite a few people so far.

One source of amusement for me was that I received a marriage proposal in the charity shop last night – from a slightly nutty woman who belongs to the oldest profession in the world. After a full five seconds of earnest consideration, I declined in the nicest possible way. Those big Levi® shirts of mine will do it every time. But hey, I have even been called “Sir” when wearing a skirt too. Go figure. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, and this is a good thing for the majority of the Earth’s 7 billion-odd inhabitants.

Today – Day 20 – was a Saturday, and I treated myself to rising late. I made a good home-made chicken soup to boost my immune system, did a bit of outdoor work, and worked a deal to exchange eight brand-new linen serviettes found under someone else’s sink to be used as polishing rags. I shall deliver my pile of rags in the next few days. Meanwhile, I have washed the newly-acquired serviettes, and cannot wait to iron them!

I bumped into my Chinese friends at the local café in the early evening, at the halfway mark of their daily stroll, and met some of their neighbours. They had all been eating snails. I was full of chicken soup, so had to resist offers to be fed again. When they heard that I had been running a fever all week, they insisted I come to their house to get some medicine. In true athletic fashion, I drove up the hill (a distance between one kilometre and one mile) and parked at the house. Then, I took my camera and strolled down the hill to meet the walkers, and looked mainly at stone walls and carob trees along the way.

Here are a few pictures of the steep country lane. Taking pleasure in ordinary things feels quite extraordinary!

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