from The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
"the skinny, half-mad horses that pranced up the drive or pulled coaches up it were normally conveying a very different class of man: one who always had land and money, but often very little chin. And whose wife sometimes resembled his horse."
"She was cleaning things already clean, but the algebra of mourning required the effort of getting all the death out of the house; and there was no shrinking from it; you cleaned everything, regardless."
Last Tuesday I was sitting here posting my WEP challenge story, when I realised I'd been hearing noises coming from P's flat for a while.
She died just after Christmas and the flat has been left closed since then.
So I went into the back porch and had a sticky beak. I couldn't be seen behind the shade cloth and matchstick blinds.
There was a big dump truck there, with a small trailer holding a baby bob-cat.
All of P's furniture was broken up and tossed into the truck, bedding, kitchenware, everything.
A couple of small things that were silver were placed on the porch, a tray and a gravy boat, they'll probably go to a second-hand shop to be cleaned and sold. Also her solid wood, huge square, low table where she stood her TV, has been placed on the porch as salvageable. It's dark wood, about one metre square and 35cm high. A light sanding and a polish, it will be good as new.
I was in the back porch when her mattress and base was dragged out. OMG the smell! The breeze was from the south, so all the smells were wafting my way and that was the worst. Cigarette smoke, cat, and of course she died on that bed, so whatever smells go with dying were there. I had to cover my nose and mouth when her clothes were carried out, the smoke/mould smell was so strong.
I noticed one of the men bringing a couple of rubbish bins in through P's back door, then I heard the sounds of crockery and glassware smashing as it was all thrown in. When the bins were full, he took them out near the truck and emptied them into the 'cup' of the bob-cat, from there it all was lifted and tipped into the big truck along with everything else.
The bins were taken back inside and more smashing was heard as they were refilled.
You may all think this is a terrible waste, but I've been in there and seen how scratched, cracked, stained and generally grubby everything is/was. On top of that, all the food she had would have been mouldy or otherwise bad. P had so much food in there, carers would bring her things and of course it all just got stashed in the fridge, freezer, or on the floor and shelves in the corner of the kitchen.
The washing machine which was near new and barely used, got saved, it will end up in one of the Salvo's Stores for resale.
So I'm glad the flat is finally being emptied, next there will be repairs, painting and eventually, maybe soon, a new neighbour will move in. I'm hoping for a non-smoking neighbour who doesn't feel the need to be your newest best friend and drop in for coffee and a chat.
from the Sunday Paper:
"LAUGH YOUR WAY THIN.
Fancy a toned tum? Try laughing more, Dr Helen Pilcher says. The Comedy Research Project author looked at the dietary effects of laughter and found that cracking up can burn as many calories as going for a brisk walk-but you have to get right into it.
A howling, rolling-on-the-floor-with-tears-streaming-down-your-face is the biggest burner, getting rid of 120 calories per hour. Belly laughs zap 100 calories per hour and even a sneaky chuckle will wipe 20 calories if you do it for 60 minutes.
Need more incentive to get your giggle on? Your obliques, which are key to getting an enviable six-pack, get a better workout from your cackling than crunches."
All well and good, but who rolls around on the floor laughing for 60 minutes at a time? Really, who does that?