There I am, bottom up, in the front garden weeding, and I hear a voice: “Janice? Is that you?” And of course it is yet another friend from Wellington.
“Just passing and thought we’d pop in to see how you are doing in your new house.”
And I think, oh no! The house is in a mess. I have had two days and a night of minding baby Tane and he’s now crawling, everywhere. But these are nice people. Of course they aren’t being nosy. Rather, they are being concerned and caring. Right?
So I pull off the gardening gloves, kick off the Crocs and usher them in. I have to show them every room. They expect no less. I fling open the door of the main bedroom. That’s when I notice the flies on the ceiling. Then I notice the clothes like puddles on the floor. It was cooler earlier. I’d changed mid-morning.
Then, horror of horrors, I see a disposable nappy – all wrapped up but sitting there on my bed, which doubles right now as a changing table for Tane. I must have got distracted when… Oh no! I am now seeing every room through the visitors’ eyes. I see the ripped-up magazine on the sitting room floor – Tane’s new play activity. I see the washing to be sorted. Can’t miss it really. It’s on the dining room table.
I rush them into the kitchen and offer coffee. When I open the larder, I realise my brother has drunk the last of the coffee.
Do you have more unexpected visitors now you’ve moved nearer town? After I farewell them – “Lovely house,” they purr as they leave – I hide in the back garden, pulling out silverbeet that has gone to seed, and I think about planting peas, spinach, spring onions, lettuces, radishes, poppies, stocks, sweet peas and larkspur for the winter. Gardening stills my heart, which is beating wildly from embarrassment.