Popping In

The day the meter reader called and what came in through the window.

What I thought was the sound of my daughter in law and small daughter arriving back home, turned out to be a meter reader here to update our hot water meter’s relay function.

Angel’s Fishing Rods, Fairy Fishing Rods or Dierama Pink Fairies … I’ve also heard them called Fairy Whips … but whatever you want to call them, I love the show they put on for us each Summer.

Meter readers, milk boys and girls, drapers’ vans, grocery delivery vans, butcher vans, the Bonns Brush Man, the Rawleigh’s Man (door to door sales people were always men back in the day) photographers … Long gone days that smack of Janet and John school readers and spelling words written by the teacher on to cardboard rectangles to be transported home in a tobacco tin (in my case, a Greys red and grey one obtained from Granddad.) Neat, round words like ‘Of course’ and ‘Could’. Words to practice spelling at home, ready for the next day’s spelling test.

Driveway drift
Yellow rose from the Oamaru Gardens
Red bridge in the Oamaru Gardens, putting me in mind of the Japanese bridges we saw on trips we’ve made to that country

Outside the open window I can hear the cheep of sparrows and the occasional heavy sigh of traffic as it makes its way down our street – a street fairly popular for through traffic, providing as it does something of a short cut from seaside to harbourside. In fact, not far along from our street, there’s a historic shortcut the Maori used to shoulder their waka from the harbour to the sea.

Small escallonia flowers bring back memories of walking home from school past fragrant hedges of escallonia, the aromatic smell lingering on my fingers long after plucking the sticky leaves on my way past. As well, a specific associated memory of playing with a litter of warm and velvety puppies on our front lawn – the smell of fat, bendy puppy tummies mixing in with the smell of grass and escallonia.

My daughter in law and granddaughter have arrived back. Now floating through the window, the sound from the down stair’s flat as my granddaughter remonstrates about the fact that it is time for her afternoon nap.

Seeded poppies I saw today by a garage door
Growing where you end up

Overnight, poppies have also flowered in our garden. I have been waiting for some days for them to ‘pop’. (I do wonder if their tendency to pop up, is the reason for their name? Just as I have often wondered if dandelions are so-called because of their yellow ruff; their mane of gold.)


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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