Thursday Thoughts # 83

from a Hat full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
" Granny Aching had never been at home with words. She collected silence like other people collected string. But she had a way of saying nothing that said it all."

"Most people didn't know about it and just used the traditional method of finding out whether plants were poisonous or useful by testing them on some elderly aunt they didn't need."

Today's Thoughts:

I'm going to have to start saying no.
Really. I need to.

Take last Sunday for instance. I'd woken up early after having slept really well and breakfast was over in a matter of minutes. Yoghurt in a bowl, add chopped apricots, eat. Done. so then I cleaned my house. Both rooms! And the kitchen. And the bathroom.

By then it was late enough that I didn't feel I'd be disturbing anybody's sleep if I turned on the washing machine. So I stripped the sheets off the bed and got those started in the machine, with a few other white things, in really hot water. it was looking sunny and hot outside, so I decided I'd hang today's wash out on the line. 

Usually I hang things on the small collapsible line in the back porch and here's why: the outside line is a little too high for me to reach comfortably, the wires need to be washed free of dust and spider webs EVERY SINGLE TIME, and the ground is uneven out there. Plus there's a problem with ivy and other climbing plants that grow over the back fence from the yard beyond.

see how dense this greenery is? my line on the left, K's on the right. This is after I cut back all the vines swooping towards the ground and clinging to the washing lines.

While the washing machine was doing its job, I went out with bucket and rag, and the secateurs. I got the lines cleaned, then started cutting on the ivy which was wrapped around one corner of the hills hoist and trailing over several of the wires. 

I tried to be as quiet as I could, but the neighbour heard me anyway, and came out to ask, if I didn't mind, would I cut the greenery away from her washing line too?  I'd already noticed that her line was caught quite a lot, but on closer inspection saw the ball of greenery was so dense her line was held fast as if with an anchor, so couldn't turn in the wind.
I said I would and she went back inside. I'm pretty sure she watched me from her window, but didn't offer to help at all. 

see how close the lines are to the fence, that's my sheets hanging there.

I ended up cutting back along the entire fence line, which took me just over an hour, since all I have is a pair of secateurs. And I'm short. I had to reach up high, grab a branch, pull it down, then cut it off as high up as I could reach. 

When I finished I used my broom to sweep everything along to the rubbish bins and piled it all in. As I swept, all the long branches rolled themselves into a long sausage, which I just sort of shoved along the ground.
Then I remembered that my line is very close to the rubbish bins, which are filthy, no one ever cleans them. I got my bucket and rag again and washed the lids and fronts of the bins where my sheets might touch against them if the wind sprang up and blew things around.

very close to the now clean(ish) rubbish bins. If the line rotates left in the breeze and the wind springs up, my sheets will touch the bins.

I got the washing hung out in the sun, then the same neighbour asked if I could please take some photos of her plants so she can send them to her son. I've done this for her before, so I grabbed my camera and photographed her front porch pot plants, but then she asked me to come inside and take photos there, of her flower arrangements and her cat. Twenty-five photos! and I knew she wanted me to print them, like I've done before. 

                                      Felix, K's cat.

On Tuesday, I bought new ink cartridges for my printer. One black, one colour. 

Surprise, surprise, the price has gone up. Again. 
And photo quality paper isn't exactly free either!

So I am going to have to start saying no to this neighbour. I can take the photos, but I'll have to put them on a usb stick and she can take that to the photo shop in the shopping centre where there are machines to print the photos. She won't know how to use them, but the shop owner will do them for her and she can pay him for them.

As for the ivy, I'm going to have to keep a closer eye on it and trim before it starts strangling the washing lines again. I'm still aching from all that cutting!

Angel, keeping an eye on things.


  1. "Most people didn't know about it and just used the traditional method of finding out whether plants were poisonous or useful by testing them on some elderly aunt they didn't need."

    I think you should substitute aunt with neighbor!

    You are obviously too nice. My wife has this same affliction. I keep telling her it is easy, just form your mouth into an "O" and push your tongue off the roof of your mouth and exhale out, "No!" It can be done but it is hard for nice people and not always nice people know this and take advantage.

    Still, in the long run it is better to be the nice one.

  2. What joeh said. Can't management be in charge of the vines?

  3. Unless your neighbor is elderly and disabled, I think "Sorry, no" is a useful phrase. Can you cut back the ivy near her lines? "No but I'll lend you my cutters" Print her photos? "Ink and paper are very expensive but I'll put them on a memory stick for you to have them printed yourself" Does she have a computer? Email the photos to her. I didn't learn to say 'NO' until I was almost 40 - better late than never.

  4. No is a very hard word.
    You need more practise. I need more practise.

    1. Or perhaps we can just perfect Granny Achings 'look'.

  5. Loved the kitties. I put my wash out when it's a nice day, as I have a retractable cloths line. Vines can take over in a short amount of time. I hate for them to be overgrown.

  6. I agree with Grace.

    Are there no maintenance people for the units?
    Surely that's their job?

    It's very important to say no, especially at such times.
    We are responsible for creating our own boundaries - not have them set by others.

    Saying "no" to another is saying "yes" to you.

    No one will pay you for your time and effort, or pharmaceuticals, should you injure yourself in any way.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, but you need to take care and create those boundaries...

  7. As a very special favour I might print out one photo for someone, but that it is. Ink and paper are very expensive and I am surprised you have done it already. It's the same when asked to send a photo from my mobile. It costs me 50c a photo to text. There are so many other free ways to that.

    Did you return inside after all your work and think, I might have overdone it a bit?

  8. Tell her you sold the printer as you couldn't afford the ink and paper any more.

  9. Joeh; sadly, neigh bour K doesn't accept food from others. Says she has a 'delicate' stomach and eats very little. I'm not sure I believe that, she's as wide as I am.
    I did tell her I can't print any more photos for her and why.

    Joanne; the vines aren't grown on Housing property, so maintenance won't touch them. A few of us have put in occasional complaints and there is paperwork in the works to get the overhang trimmed, but no one knows exactly when.

    fishducky; and I'm learning to use it, just not often enough.

    Grace; she is older than me, 73 I think, could be 74, and has chronic fatigue, spends a lot of time napping, also has had two hip replacements, so I try to help out when necessary. She doesn't have a computer and barely even watches television.

    Elephant's Child; I'd like to perfect Granny Aching's 'look'. But I think it might be a little rude to use it on this neighbour. Okay for someone younger though :)

    Linda Kay; I used to put my wash out every week when I first moved here, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to reach above my head, so now I only hang things out there when I'm doing big articles like sheets or curtains. Even then sometimes I'm too achy and fold the wet sheets to hang on the small indoor line.

    Vicki; there's been a lot of cost cutting lately, so maintenance isn't as active as it used to be. Plus, these vines aren't on housing property, they're growing over and through the fence from the yard beyond. I may walk around there one day, if I can gather enough courage, and ask the homeowner if he can cut them back away from the fence. They've grown unchecked since I've been here and are right up into the trees and over the roof of our old 'shed' which used to be laundry rooms before the flats got refurbished and had laundry taps installed.
    I need to be a bit more harsh myself.

    Andrew; I was thinking I'd overdone things while I was cutting, but it's one of those jobs that can't be half done. I will keep a closer eye on the ivy and trim it before it strangles the washing lines though. I never send photos via mobile anymore, I email them to people. The only ones I will be printing from now on are for my sister, who has no phone or computer.

  10. I was going to tell about an easy way tohang your sheets so they aren't as close to the ground but I read you have trouble lifting your arms up. On the off chance you are able - don't hang the sheet over the line but peg one end to the outer line (securely) then peg the other to one of the inner lines. It will hang like a hammock underneath but the beauty is, it will be nowhere near the ground than before.. Also doesn't seem to flap as much either so doesn't seem to get caught up with things outside the circumstance of the line
    Rest up River, gardening is good, helping others is good but there are times when you have to draw the line somewhere :)

  11. Don't know what the circumstance is of having the line caught up but it really should be outside the 'circumference' lol

  12. You are going to have to start saying "No", firmly and politely; or you will keep on being taken for granted and it's just not fair on you. People just don't think! And their not thinking or considering others really does get on my goat!

    Take care, River. :)

    1. By the way, River....have you any idea what's going on!!!?? Now I can't get into Delores' site..."Under the Porch Light"! Can anyone enlighten me? Where has Delores disappeared to? Has she also, like Jacqueline, changed her blog title?

      Thanks in anticipation of your advices.

  13. Cathy; I hang my sheets over the line right across the centre of the sheet, pulling the edges and corners square, so they dry nice and straight for easy folding. I'm usually able to reach up long enough to hang, then later to get them off again, but with all the vine cutting beforehand it was a bit more achy. And some days I don't ache at all.

    Lee; no idea about Delores, but sue did email her and she is okay; no word about the blog though.
    I've already told the neighbour I won't be printing any more photos for her. The ivy is another matter. The lines need to remain accessible.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

the new kick-start diet

a lizard in your home is lucky, right?

Sunday Selections