Saturday, 28 June 2014

In Which Cossack Cannot Find His Cheese


One minute I had a heavenly job at the orchard sitting in a sun-drenched shed and leaping up out of my chair only to staple labels on the bins of kiwifruit that the tractor-drivers delivered to us during the most important ten days of the whole year - the harvest!

While the contract-gangs slogged away under the vines picking at a whirl-wind pace, I had more than enough time to record the number of bins coming in and make sure they were not under or over-filled. There was time to laugh with the cheeky fork-lift drivers, time to drink coffee and eat cream-filled doughnuts.

But all good things come to an end and the following week saw me up a high ladder pruning off terribly spikey bits of plum-tree that scratched our arms and mocked us often by remaining just out of reach of our long loppers.

While my knees bruised against the top ladder-rung I wondered whether I should laugh or cry. A compromise seemed appropriate so I smiled as I surveyed my plum-tree world from where a bird might generally perch itself.

I am fully aware that life dishes up both the good and the bad, the fun and the drudge, the tripe and the fudge, so no point grizzling, sister!

And, after all, it's all relative isn't it, because the Bangladeshi woman who sewed the sleeves into the tee-shirt I am wearing up the plum-tree would probably swim a huge ocean to have my life.

Speaking of good and bad, Cossack is both those things, He can be a responsible citizen one day, pacing up and down our country road picking up rubbish, and immoral the next. Oh sure, Coss had an explanation for growing tobacco that had nothing to do with smoking but it shows poor judgement from the pillar of society that he obviously isn't.

"One of my students gave me those seeds and I merely wish to conduct a little horticultural experiment", my spouse said and he must have done something right because the plants grew high and happy with huge leaves but pitiful flowers.

Well, a couple of months ago Cossack was about to chuck the ragged plants, his curiosity having been satisfied but curiosity had only just started smoking away in my head..

I rescued some leaves and pegged them to our washing-line in the shed to dry. Then, today, I borrowed a cigarette-paper from my mother and here in our kitchen I chopped up the tobacco and rolled my very own lop-sided, sad-looking cigarette.

I got the only mildly amused Cossack to light up for me and tried to look sophisticated, even when the cigarette just spluttered and died like I almost died with the terrible taste of doom and destruction.

In church the other day we all got handed these little 'Self-Denial' draw-string purses and the idea is to put the money into it over a three week period that you would otherwise have spent on something unnecessary in your life. You know, like takeaway coffees, chocolate, restaurant meals, videos, wine...

Immediately, I knew what Cossack should give up. Now that winter is here, he has started grilling thick slabs of cheese on toast almost every single night and that is just not good enough for a man with high cholesterol.

So, I've hidden our block of cheese over in my mother's fridge at her house.

I am honestly thinking of Cossack's well-being and the 'Self-Denial' fund but I do feel a tinge of nervousness about when he can't find the cheese for his favourite snack.

He might even holler.

He might demand to know what I am giving up? Am I giving up my mallow-puffs, he will ask? Am I giving up my $4.20 coffees? Or my roasted cashew nuts?

My reply will come swift and sure.

"Cossack, I am giving up two things forever, not just three weeks of cheese like some people. From this moment forth I am never again buying clothes in factories that exploit their workers and I have decided to quit smoking".