My Favourite Things


(Apologies to my South African readers, this recording is nearly 14 minutes long so, if you have capped internet like me, be warned you will not be able to stop listening to it once you press play – unless you hate jazz of course).

Peter and I have at last got around to updating our joint will and very straight forward it is too. If one of us dies, the other inherits, if both of us die, the children inherit equally, and if they die before us and there are grandchildren, they inherit. Come to think of it, I’m not sure what happens if all of us die. The fiduciary consultant who drew up the will for us suggested that we compile a wish list specifying which of our possessions should go to which child, in order to prevent any falling out between them. This got me thinking about our belongings and how to divvy them up not only fairly, but appropriately.

I was reminded of Alex when, as a young boy, he asked if he could have all my teapots when I die (I have collected quite a few over the years in my pursuit of the perfect cuppa). Initially we were puzzled as to why he should place such a value on these but then we realised that for him they symbolised motherly, and grandmotherly, love. Alex will never say no to a cup of tea and often as a child I would find him ensconced in front of “Enna’s” telly with a tray of tea and biscuits on the table beside him, looking for all the world like the cat that got the cream. He says now that he doesn’t want the teapots but I think I should leave them to him, just in case.

Recently on Chris’ blog he prepared a graph differentiating music into categories which I thought I might adapt to help me draw up our possessions wish list (hope you don’t mind Chris):

  • Nostalgic gems – these are things that are valuable and have special memories (like a few items of jewelry and furniture)
  • Good, objective – these are things that are valuable but have no sentimental attachments (like the Subaru, camera equipment and flat screen TV, although Alex may have some emotional attachment to the TV).
  • Nostalgic, dubious – these are objects that have value only in the memories associated with them (like the teapots and other decor objects)

Sorry kids, by far the longest list falls into the nostalgic, dubious category. I have always tended to appreciate functional more than fancy (it’s my Yorkshire heritage) and now, more than ever before, I have very little interest in accumulating stuff unless it serves some purpose. My desires have turned more towards simple pleasures; the following being some of my favourite recent acquisitions (in no particular order):

  • A print of Matisse’s The Dream, bought at the Met when we were in New York with Kiera and Alex, which hangs over our fireplace. It gives me a sense of having a guardian angel looking over my home and reminds me every day of precious time spent with my children.

the dream

  • A shiny new 10kw generator that has a house of its own just outside the garage, like a sturdy sentinel protecting us from the cold and the dark. 
  • A pot of miniature, yellow daffodils. They bring a promise of spring to come against a dreary, brown winter’s landscape, and a reminder of my dad who loved daffies.  The sight of these cheery flowers always manages to lift my spirits.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

  • My recent 56th birthday present, a shiny, second-hand Husqvarna tiller, which has sparked my enthusiasm for cultivating the land once more by planning a potato, mealie (corn) and pumpkin patch adjacent to our new orchard. Its purchase was the conclusion of a domino run which started several months ago when I, minding my own business on the way to pick up our mail at the Rosetta post office / trading store, noticed that the garden centre was advertising 20% off all fruit trees, an offer I for one could not refuse. So an orchard was born in our recently mowed field, alongside the cricket pitch, which will be in tip top shape in time for the wedding celebrations (that’s another story). Not long after the fruit trees had been planted, in concentric circles around an intended wildflower meadow, the duiker started to muscle in on the action. So of course we had to fence the orchard to protect the trees. We measured the circumference and bought fencing material. When we were discussing with Kho where it should go, we had a brainwave. Let’s fence off the whole bottom field and plant veggies that we don’t have room for in the allotment. So, more poles and weldmesh were ordered and the bottom field started looking very good. It was then that we decided we needed something to help us till the land and complete the whole pastoral picture.

CRT 51

  • And finally, a pretty, Indian cotton summer dress that I bought in Stellies for the wedding celebrations in December. I NEVER wear skirts or dresses but when I tried this one on it made me feel quite girly and to be honest, “girly” is not how I would describe myself. However I did not dislike the feeling and have since decided that there may just be a time and place for showing my legs in public.

By the way folks this is my 100th post. Thanks for your support, which makes it all worthwhile.

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6 Responses to My Favourite Things

  1. Louise says:

    Johnny Coltrane kept me company whilst reading your 100th post……keep it up!!! I am looking forward to hearing about the wedding celebrations and maybe seeing a leg or two???!!!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Louise, I thoroughly enjoy receiving your comments, this one made me laugh. As long as I don’t get stuck into the bubbly too early, perhaps I won’t get legless!

  2. Judy says:

    Wow! 100 posts. Well done you. Am looking forward to the next 100! Regarding your Will. Can I have Edna?

  3. Chris Ammann says:

    I can only dream of 100 posts! Nice reuse of the model. We did something similar when we made our wills – it does concentrate the mind as to what is important. Maybe we should simplify our lives according to which items we’d be happy for our executors to stumble across. Everything else goes to the tip.

    • Cathy says:

      Moving house is always a good opportunity to get shot of unnecessary stuff and I was quite ruthless. But it’s the bits and pieces left behind my children that I just can’t get rid of – my excuse is that I’m keeping things for non-existent grandchildren.

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