Thursday Thoughts #21

H: I folded my arms. “I don’t usually do stakeouts.”
M: “I thought it might be a nice change of pace for you. All that knocking down of doors and burning down of buildings must get tiring.”
H: “I don’t always knock down doors,” I said. :Sometimes it’s a wall.”

My thoughts today: 


I've been living here just over three years now, and I haven't got to know many neighbours, which is normal for me. I keep to myself and watch how things are before getting to know people. I take it slow. Glacier slow.  

So I was in town recently and waiting for the bus to come home and a woman sat down next to me and asked was I waiting for the (number) bus. I said yes and she said did I live in the flats? I said yes again and we got to talking.  V asked have we met because I looked familiar and I said no, I didn't think so.
We continued the conversation on the bus and then walked along the driveway through the flats to her unit, which is where I suddenly remembered her. At that point V took off her hat and I knew who she was. 

Last Christmas, a group of us had got together and had a Christmas lunch at the nearby hotel. I'd taken my camera and shot a few pictures of us, (without me since I was the one holding the camera) and a few days later printed the photos and taken them around to the others. I hadn't seen V since then.

On this bus day, we were standing discussing her garden and she invited me in to see her back garden where she has built a cat run for her cats. 
Her back door opens onto a wire netted structure with plenty of room and scratching posts, large tree branches and other things that cats love, this in turn opens onto another netted structure, V's fruit and vegetable garden. 
Talk about Eden!!

V has lived there for twenty years, (she is 78 years old) so her fruit trees are very well established. 
Apricot trees!! I'd mentioned mine and how the tiny seedlings had died and I was trying to grow another with my last remaining seed and here I was looking at V's twenty year old apricot tree absolutely laden with more apricots than I'd ever seen. 

There are paths through the trees and beds and we walked through looking at lettuce, (she pulled one up for her dinner as we walked), strawberries etc, then V mentioned that she keeps the seeds from her apricots to eat the kernels and would I like some? 
To plant or to eat. 
Well of course I said yes please! and she brought out a bag with about two kilos of seeds and gave me half! 
I'll have to buy a nutcracker.
I've planted three in the same pot where my last remaining seed is and I'm hoping they all grow. 

I learned more about V in that one short visit than I would normally learn in a couple of years of 'hello, how are you?' passings on the street. I'm uncomfortable talking to people, but V made it easy. 
Some people can do that. 
It impresses the heck out of me, I find it very hard to start a conversation.

Along with her garden, V has another hobby to keep busy. 
A small spinning wheel in her living room and a small loom in the front bedroom. 
(She has two bedrooms). 
She spins yarn from Alpaca hair that one of her friends gives her, then she weaves that yarn into mats and scarves, vests too. 
She was wearing a vest that day, over her shirt, it was quite fluffy, it had been made from the hair collected in the brushes when she brushed her four cats!


  1. Now that is the perfect neighbor!

  2. Wow! A vest made from cat fur. I wish you'd been able to sneak a photo of that, River! :)

    Her garden sounds great. She is an industrious woman from what you've written.

    I hope the apricot seeds you plant do what they're supposed to do.

    Save your peach and nectarine seeds, too for future ingestion...apparently they have the same properties as apricot seeds. You're probably already's advised not to crack the seeds until you're ready to munch on the kernels.

    I think you've found yourself a new friend in V, River. :)

  3. Here's an interesting site for you, the sprouting of apricot seeds.

  4. I really admire people who can just start up conversations too. I can do it with strangers, people I will never see again, but find it much harder with neighbours and the like.
    V sounds like a gem. A hard working interesting gem.

  5. joeh; she is a lovely neighbour and invited me to drop in and visit anytime, which I haven't done yet. Dropping in is one of the things I find awkward and hard to do.

    fishducky; she is amazing, she fills her days and her life with so much more than most people I know of her age.

    Lee; I didn't have my camera with me, or I certainly would have asked if I could.
    I've saved peach and nectarine seeds in the past, but after planting they just never grew. I'll certainly try again although the peaches available in shops are as nothing compared to the huge sweet juicy Golden Queens I ate straight off the tree in one of my previous homes. an old-fashioned variety no longer available in the standard nurseries. I'll check that website as soon as I finish comments.

    Elephant's Child; I've always found it hard to start conversations, I got used to it at the checkout, because it really wasn't true conversations, more like three minutes of filling time with words for people that were just passing by. I did get used to my "regulars" and words flowed more freely there, but after three years here I'm still uncomfortable speaking with the neighbours. Possibly because they ask so many questions and I've always been such a private person.

  6. I know it's hard to get to know people....I have no small talk to my name and usually end up making a fool of myself. Good for you getting to know a nice neighbour.

  7. So many interesting ideas here I don't know where to begin.
    Eating apricot seeds?
    Creating clothing from cat hair? Looking back, I could have filled a couple of closets with with the shedding my cats did over the years.
    What a find, your neighbor. And remember, you may be doing her a favor sharing your company with her.

  8. She seems like an interesting neighbour and busy enough with her own life to not become a pest to you with frequent knocks at the door, 'put the kettle on River'. I think many of us remain reserved with neighbours for that reason.

  9. Delores; I find it so very hard to start a conversation, always have. Way in the back of my mind there is still that tiny, tiny voice that says 'what if they laugh at me?'

    Marty Damon; the kernels inside the seed are the part you eat, just like almonds. I still haven't bought a nut cracker, so I'm tapping the seeds with a hammer and then having to chase the bits as they skitter across the room. :( Cat hair is certainly different, but clothing has been made from many types of animal hair over the centuries, starting in caveman times when animal pelts were worn. Now there are camel hair coats, woolen clothes from sheep, cashmere from a certain type of goat and so on.

    Andrew; I agree, we are more reserved than in days gone by, when neighbours chatted over the fence or popped in daily for a cuppa. Not so good for us shy types, but things were better then when everyone knew everyone else and most people kept an eye out for anything that didn't "fit" going on in the neighbourhood. Now we have 24/7 jobs, the internet and suspicion and locked doors everywhere.

  10. ... how wonderful that you met your neighbour at the bus stop, River... She sounds like a lovely lady....
    I like the idea of a cat run... I love cats...
    Hugs and Blessings.... Barb xxxx

  11. V sounds a delightful older person with so much going on in her life. I often used to say to Phil that if I could spin I would make a jumper from the hair that Precious shed and left in her brush. It was so soft, the softest hair I've ever felt.
    I didn't know you could eat apricot kernels. I know I'm wrong but I thought I read somewhere that some seed kernels can be toxic but not sure which ones.
    I hope you get some trees come from those seeds. I guess patience is a virtue when trying to grow trees from seed.
    What a wonderful idea she has for her cat run, lucky cat.
    I hope you and V can be good friends from now on.

  12. Barbara Neubeck; if I could figure out where to put a cat run, I'd have one already. Angel would love it.

    Mimsie; I know apple seeds are toxic in large amounts, they contain cyanide, but swallowing the odd one or two with your apple won't do any harm. I'm not too sure about apricot kernels but I tried a couple and they were bitter. I think I'll have to google and find out. V said she eats them, but didn't say how many or how often and I forgot to ask if they should be dry roasted first.

    mm; thanks.


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