baking goods
grief, Objects

Crying for Baking Goods

The door of Unit B104 jams about a foot off the ground and I give a series of short tugs until it gives way and suddenly slides all the way up, revealing a small room stuffed with things, mine and my parents’ (which are mine too, now). 

B104 is not my first storage unit, nor my only one. I have another, several suburbs away, which houses bigger furniture I couldn’t bear to part with when we prepared the house for sale – four dining chairs from Scotland, the writing desk made by my great uncle, the Axminster carpet my parents bought with wedding present money, my Scottish grandmother’s kist, Mum’s Magic Maid, my uncle’s wardrobe, my Australian grandmother’s rocking chair with the embroidered seat, the wooden baby high-chairs my Dad made. 

What else could I do with them?

I hold my mother’s baking trays and cake tins and search for places to slip them between the mass of book cartons, reflex paper boxes, see-through plastic tubs, shipping trunks. The trays feel slightly greasy and I tell myself I’ll use them one day, when I have a place with an oven.

For years they lived in the pantry under the stairs – which we called the Cave – along with my mother’s pots and pans, orange plastic scales, Breville mix master and electric fry pan.

When Mum moved permanently into care, my brother suggested we start to clear out the Cave and dispose of perishable foods that would never now be used. Mum hadn’t baked for over a year since my father went into care and there were inedible, out-of-date packets of dried fruits, currants and glace cherries, dessicated coconut, slivered almonds and it hadn’t seemed so hard because she was still alive then.

After Mum died I cried for the ingredients we had put out months before. I wanted more than anything to see the big green plastic bins where she kept rice and flour and sugar, now in the op shop. I wanted little bags of crystalised sultanas and weevily flour and softening brazil nuts.

After she died, I wanted everything back.


Crying for baking goods.

Feature Image by Filmbetrachter from Pixabay

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animals, grief, Uncategorized

The Buddies

On the paved area outside the Van I put my folding chair and the little lemon tree I’ve brought with me. On Dad’s birthday, days before I left their house forever, a professional gardener helped me take six grafts from Dad’s lemon tree and from the smaller lime tree Dad had himself grafted years ago, onto a lemon tree root stock. Four of them survived. I think Dad would be pleased that I have a next generation lemon and lime tree, but he’d think I was mad to take it in the Van.

Hanging in the old lemon tree at Mum and Dad’s was a bird feeding tray that we used for years to gain the trust of a couple of lorikeets. They became so tame we could stand quite near the dish while they ate. One of them would also eat from my flattened palm, one claw on a branch, one on my finger. Sometimes they walked up and down on the exterior kitchen windowsill or sat on the door handle. They were so comical. I loved them. Apparently they mate for life. We called them the ‘Buddies’.

One morning in the January after Mum died I heard a crash. I rushed out of my room and looked down over the balcony. A Buddy was lying on the paving outside the kitchen.

‘Oh no no no’, I raced down and threw open the door. The little bird was lying motionless on its back.

Gasping, I bent down for a closer look. Not one of the Buddies….

I rang my brother and as soon as he answered I blurted,

‘Uh uh…it’s a Buddy…there’s something wrong…’ I can barely speak. My throat has seized up.

‘The dunny? There’s something wrong with the dunny?’

‘A Buddy!’ I squeak.

‘The study?’

‘One of the Buddies! He’s lying on the ground! He’s not moving.’ I’m frantic.

‘Ok, ok. I see. He’s just lying there is he?’

‘Yesssss….Just not moving… what if he’s de….’

‘Ok, look. He might just be stunned. They hit the glass hard, but then they suddenly recover. They can be pretty resilient’.

‘Oh’, I gulp, ‘What should I do?’

‘He’ll probably just jump up and fly off in a moment’.

‘Ok’. I calm down a little. We finish the call.

I get a towel and approach the bird, picking up the still little body in the towel and laying him near the door. I look at him for a while then go back inside.

Suddenly I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. The little bird has leapt out of the towel and is staggering like a drunk across the paving. He gives himself a shake, straightens up and suddenly takes off. I burst into tears. Relief washes over me.

Something hasn’t died.

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