Growing up I had several books about Marise who was a pilot in the Winter War

between Russia and Finland (the present horror should end so soon).   I remember vaguely one of the covers and some of a saying “Something is as full of wisdom as an egg is full of meat.”  You can tell I was struck by this because it has stayed with me.   Vegetarians look away now, meat to me meant meat -stew, roast, chops.  I’d never thought of using meat as an alternative word to food,  I think I probably checked up on it with my parents.  Maybe it stuck because it’s single syllables.   Maybe it just produced an image that lodged with me, slices of something in a shell.

I had chocolate eggs,

of course I did.  The family predilection for plain rather than milk persisted.  My much older sister and my mother went to trouble to get me plush covered eggs in lovely colours which they then filled with pretty silly bits.    I was a fortunate child without much of a sweet tooth.

Easter soon became a couple of days off.  And now, an elderly non driver, I avoid the lemming rush that Easter has become, made more pressing by the lack of freedom of movement and sun.  I had a different kind of Easter.

There is an agapanthus

in the garden which expanded and split the very pretty earthenware pot it was in.  I kept looking at it and it looked back.  Eventually I raised a hand to take away the broken piece and tried to ascertain whether I was going to be able to move the beast.   Moved a little too far towards me, I wound up with something very heavy above shoulder level and braced muscles I knew should not be involved.  As quickly and carefully as I could, I put it down.  Swearing.  Dead pot, must get something lighter.

Early that evening I saw Sarah Super Neighbour unpacking her car.  She is a gardener so I asked.   (Don’t ask, don’t get is a great rule – provided you are prepared to be refused).  I explained and she began to smile, raised a hand and walked away from me into the doorway, returning with a big light planter she had just bought from Lidl.  “Will this do ? “ she said “I just bought two because I can’t handle the weight any more.” I looked at her.  “Happy Easter” she said.  I offered to pay, of course I did.  She waved it away.  And it’s perfect. 

  (She went back and bought two more, I offered to buy those too, but she declined.)  

Later I exchanged greetings with the young man who lives on the other side and reminded him that he had offered to lend me his father’s long handled clippers to deal with the honeysuckle which needs what is professionally called a light pruning.  I have been in touch with five gardeners including the man with the white bull terrier but none of them apparently know how to say “Sorry, small job, not worth it.”  There isn’t an app for it.   “I’ll get the ladder” he said, “I can reach that. “  And with the existing shears and instructions from below (me) he did just that. 

He later turned up with a vase full of variously coloured tulips

and a covered dish.  “I’m going to my dad’s tomorrow” he said “ and these are just going to die.  So I thought you might enjoy them.  And this is leftovers from the salad to pick at …”  So he’s definitely a double yolk.

When I went for a walk on Saturday, I smiled at a tall slender dark woman incredibly 44,  brought up in Tanzania,  and as she was in Ramadan and I am not keen on bought coffee, we just skipped that and talked for an hour till her daughter arrived (quite lovely, reading politics at Bristol).  Both of them hugged me in farewell.   Never underestimate the hug – it is invaluable. 

And thus uplifted, I fell off the wagon and bought two books and a half a bottle of brandy.  Kindness,  generosity, open heartedness, thought, good humour, personal warmth and constructive self- indulgence – my eggs were full of meat.

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