Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Soap, vegetables and secondary school

Yesterday's soap has turned a very strange colour - it's lilac (for want of a better word) on the outside, and a weird greenish shade on the inside. I wonder if this is to do with drying out, pH, or oxidation. Or something else I haven't thought about. I hope it improves before tomorrow, at which point I have to give some of it to somebody.

It has all been cut up and is drying in shoe boxes (what? Do you not use shoe boxes to dry soap?), which are useful because they stack well. I now have to start packaging some in preparation for tomorrow.

I went to The Field to gather some vegetables in payment for this bike, only to be met with evidence of my inadequacy. Although I had plenty of beans (plenty being a conservative description) and more than enough artichokes, the peas were long past their best, and it appears that I failed to plant any radishes. This means that I do not have the means to 'pay' for my bike tomorrow. I am hoping to pop into a vegetable shop and fake the peas, but I don't think there is much I can do about the radishes. The really galling thing is that, had I made it there last week, I would probably have had massive amounts of lovely fresh peas to eat, all by myself. I shall have to do better next year. If we get any sun, that will be easier.


My baby sister, Anne, starts secondary school tomorrow. She will be attending my old school. Our cousin, who is fifteen, will be walking to school with her, which is good - it's reassuring to have someone to walk in with on the first day, and a co-pupil is much more useful and less embarrassing than a parent. She is so lucky to get on with her cousin so well, and to have her living so close by.

When Anne was born, I was fifteen. It seemed that it would take an awfully long time for her to reach this age, and it did. I was mindful that by the time she was my age, I would be 30. I couldn't imagine what I would be doing at that age, and I am still unsure. I don't foresee any children by that point, but I have no clue what career I will be in (I've narrowed it down to four possibilities, one of which is what I am doing now; I could be completely wrong). It doesn't really matter - it's just an age.

Anne was a delightful little baby (except at bedtime), and was wonderful until she was three, then a bit annoying until she was seven, and has reverted to being delightful. Long may it last... I have been making a point of spending time with her these past two summers, as I know she will not be a child for much longer. Last summer she came to stay for a long weekend, and we sat on The Field, eating most of the peas we were picking for the parents, until she suggested we should stop. This year, we visited our other sister, Louise, in Bordeaux.* She had a lovely flat, right in the centre, with a balcony accessible from her bedroom windows. The cockroaches were much cuter than I expected, too. Anne behaved beautifully, and was a lot less annoying than I.** It was good to have the opportunity to get to know her a little better before she changes into a grumpy teenager. I do not look forward to that.

Anyway, good luck to her as she embarks on the next stage of her life. I do hope she turns out to be less lazy than I was, and that she makes friends as good as mine.

*She has actually just arrived back in the UK, I think - she was due to be collected from the airport at 10.30.

**I do hope it doesn't hurt too much if she falls off this pedestal. She's a gymnast, so she should be able to think of an imaginative landing...

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