Yesterday we had a trip out of town to pick up two chairs we’d purchased on EBay, very nice retro yellow and grey to match our recently renovated kitchen. Deciding not to waste the long trip we combined several activities into the day, shopping at stores not available in the small town we live in. First stop Bunnings garden centre, a sort of retail heaven for me. A red grape, several punnets of seedlings (including our favourite nasturtiums), a hibiscus to fill the gap down the drive and a slow dawdle down the herb aisle. I’d picked up two pots of thyme and was hanging about the salvias when a lady struck up a conversation about these plants, pointing me in the direction of one that had caught my eye earlier and telling me of its bird attracting qualities. Two of my weaknesses – plants and birds and I was sold, picking up another just for good measure.
We still had an hour or so before chair pick up time so drove across town to a shopping centre for lunch and a browse. My husband needed more canvases and I needed more, well more of anything if it was a bargain, a use for which could be worked out later, such is the serendipitous nature of idle shopping. Lunch was pretty ordinary, a dried out eggplant quiche and a side serve of limp salad, but the coffee was to die for. I saw two people with familiar faces while we were having lunch, one a younger man with a gaunt face I’d almost spoken to when his blank look told me the recognition wasn’t reciprocated. It was then I realised he’d been one of the contestants of The Biggest Loser TV show that recently finished. And I won’t say any more on the subject of this ‘reality’ show for fear of litigant action. The other person was immediately recognisable, and I was still trying to put a name to the face when I realised who it was staring back at me. I’d been staring at my own reflection in an adjacent mirror. Embarrassed at my elderliness, I returned my focus to the limp salad and conversation with my husband, who thankfully I could still recognise.
Then it was time to set off for Nintingbool and the chairs. I’d scrawled some vague directions on a scrap of paper that thought I could decipher when the time came, and I almost could apart from a slight mix up with a couple of roundabouts. One phone call and a short detour later we arrived as a house in the country with a beautiful welcoming garden edging the long drive to the house. Here we met the friendly Sandy, who offered us coffee and cake with that country friendliness you don’t see that often these days and we loaded the chairs into the car. As we opened the back of the wagon she spotted our earlier purchases from Bunnings, asking what plants we’d purchased, leading on to a discussion on gardening in general. She then asked if I liked irises, canna lilies and belladonna lilies. I said yes and before I could turn around she was digging up her garden beds and handing me plants to place in plastic bags for the trip home.
We left with much thanking and arm waving to find our way home, not caring too much if we got lost or otherwise side-tracked, still under the spell of Nintingbool niceness.