Yesterday…

…this post was called ‘Today’ but the storm led to a power cut and I lost all my scribble.

… Trevor the carpenter finished the outside loo door. It replaced an old latch door and frame that had rotted from the bottom up. Now the outside loo, only used for as a local cat poo depository (they like the garden in winter when the perennials have died down and it’s more appealing than a litter tray), has a great door opening onto a pink palace. Sometime, I imagine in the mid-70s, the old woman who previously owned the house – one Miss Ambrose – painted said toilet in a fuchsia pink. Gloss. Dusted with age, the paint now peels from damp and years to revel crumbling plaster, mortar, and the previous paint – gloss bottle green. Mid-60s, I’ll warrant. I fancy myself a pair of chinos that colour – like walking around in a bottle of Ralph Lauren Polo.

… I was supposed to clean the house. My day off. What larks. Instead, I went and saw Inception. I was a little disappointed. No dream is that sequential, or logical. And Tom Hardy and Third Rock – two great actors – had very little to do. I wanted more character other than ‘let’s make them opposites’. And little emotional engagement. The Leo and wife story did little to hold me.

On the way home, I counted the corpses. This time of year the road kill is legion. I passed a badger, bloated to look more like a furry seal, and its sweet rich smell invaded the car through the air conditioning. It repulsed and fascinated.

I finally planted out the leeks that had been clumped in the ground and left to do their thing. Now, roots and leaves trimmed, they’re orderly. As winter arrives, some will turn purple grey in the cold. But enough of that. The grey is too briefly gone from our lives and winter had too much presence this year for me.

I made a salad from home grown produce – heirloom Black Krim tomatoes (the name may be different in the US, for PC reasons – I think it’s a Crimea reference, in case you’re wondering), cucumber, red onion (whose fire from the drought still lingers on my tongue, between my teeth – don’t kiss me darling), flat leaf parsely, garlic. Halloumi in a smoked paprika batter. Delicious.

The rain. Our drought finally broke. We were walking to the store for tea. We turned back. The small hill towards our house had a stream that skipped over drains and soaked our feet. My shorts clung to me and I felt fresh – for the first time in weeks. And then cold. We ran home. The drain was blocked – back out to clear the gunge which once allowed the gutter to overflow and water to work its way into our old boiler and kill it.

The power went, but the boiler was fine.

My bottle of Timbuktu arrived. I smell wonderful – if you like that smell.

And your yesterday?

34 Comments

  1. I am finding this “How was your yesterday?” question quite poetic. :)

    Usually, my yesterdays are rather prosaic, and full of me discovering details in the details, if I’ve a mind to look. As you know, at the moment, I’m in the midst of gathering all sorts of new, so all the strokes, the big and the small, are filling my brain.

    My yesterday…more sounds of instruments being practiced than I’ve heard in a couple of decades (there is a music conservatory across the courtyard where I am staying)…white gloves and a smart hat on some very serious looking guards…seeing urns sparkle and bee bottles glisten…boules on yet another park whose ground seems to be more sand than dirt…being baked in an escalatisserie…watching closely as my younger son struggled with the potential onset of some sort of bug, which is not fun anytime, but certainly not fun while on vacation, let alone such an unusual vacation. And yet it was just that watching which makes the strongest thread between yesterday’s yesterday and other yesterdays I have experienced.

    That, and the joy of hearing laughter out of the mouths of my family and others.

    My first flat was painted pink and blue. Everywhere. Tiled in the bathroom to match. My roommate and I redecorated every single room. Except the bath. Where we freshened up the paint, and installed flamingos everywhere. Shower curtain, towels, statue. Oh, we felt so cool.

    What is cool changes when there are more yesterdays, it seems. But I can still smile and remember how that cool felt when a given yesterday was just yesterday.

    Yay for the broken drought, enjoy the produce, and here’s a hug for today. :)

  2. Gorgeous descriptive piece. What part of England do you live in? I live in Berkshire, and it was simply wonderful to have rain yesterday – it seemed that we were being avoided at all costs by the rain clouds, and I was beginning to think we were never going to have any again. The moisture has brought out the smells from the woods and the cool breeze floated through the windows last night carrying the smell of honeysuckle and damp earth into the bedroom. There are three woodpeckers on the lawn right now, hunting for insects and feeling glad that they can finally drill through the compacted soil. They are being studied intensely by our two cats, who are hunched at the windows, grunting and chirrupping.

    Your food sounds wonderful! We just had stuffed red peppers and flat bread with goat’s cheese and caramelized onions. It’s strange how the smell of the peppers is lingering in the kitchen this morning, and it’s almost a deep rose perfume with a pepperiness – a bit like Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if. We washed our meal down with a lovely, weird Italian sparkling red wine that is made with strawberries – bitter but sweet, and intense and highly aromatic. A bit like the essence of a hot summer night.

  3. Yesterday, just like countless days before, was hot, sticky, with smells and odors wafting through the hot air and the sun scorching everything it could lay its eye upon. Lawns have now grown yellow instead of the lush green they used to be. City sidewalks and roads have grown sticky, the former because of countless chewing gums melting and the latter because of the bitumen slowly giving way to the heat like butter. I love summer and warm/hot weather, but this numbing heat is taking its toll and I’d love a refreshing storm with some rain, but with the climate changes in recent years making summers short and intense with follow-up period of rain and cold weather, so maybe rain would mean then end of summer.I better be carefull what I wish for.
    Contrary to the heat, I have worn stuff that could be considered unsuitable for summer by some, by way of example: ineke – field notes from paris and nez a nez atelier d’artiste. love them.

  4. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away….

    Thank you for your usual beautiful piece of writing, Lee, despite mentions of cat poo repositories and outside loos (I grew up in the country and yes, we had an outside loo until I was 11).

    The sun has found its way out again today. I hope it is as nice up in Yorkshire, where we will be spending the next few days, being called “love” by all and sundry.

    Regardless of the weather or my location, I am continuing to work my way through my rare Guerlains. They are never inappropriate!

  5. I’m left wondering if the stray cats can open the fancy loo door themselves….clever creatures.

    Lovely day you had, laddie. I’m enjoying the vicarious rain storm. These parts have only getting the occasional late afternoon or overnight thunderstorm, and while it can be majestic, there’s no dancing in the rain. Though the smell of remains of a soaking on the hot asphalt is gorgeous.

    I want some of that salad. And since I believe you not to be a vampire, you know a little garlic will not deflect me.

    Yesterday was a suburban run-around for me-saw a few patients, one of whom pulled the heart-strings hard. She is youngish, has had multiple brain injuries, and has no family in this country. An eager subject, she was just so excited to work and try to regain skills. Inspiration.

    A snack and a nap, and in the evening off to usher a very good play on Spinoza’s exile from Amsterdam. The philosophical piece played nicely off the rabbi’s decision to protect his community.

    And off now to hit the trail, my bestest friend this summer.

    Happy Weekend, all!

  6. Ah, my yesterday was wonderful, starting with a fantastic performance of Richard III on the night-before-yesterday. I’ve been on vacation at my country place for the last two weeks (no gardening, house is in the woods and I just let things run riot) and yesterday I had a lovely massage to complete the mellowing-out before I have to go back to NYC and work on Monday.

  7. My yesterday was anxious – until it wasn’t. Went to Peoria on gubmint bidness, which is about 1/20th as painful as doing it in Chicago – and the man who took my information at the gubmint office was pleasant, efficient and good-looking – hat trick!

    Wore this Middle Eastern @};- soliflore in the baking high 90s, 120% humidity day. It was glorious.

    Came home and was going to feel all sorry for myself….then I got over myself and watered my beautiful container garden on the front porch and watched my little lady cardinal chow down on her dinner. Little things…

    xo >-)

    • I watched a hummingbird try to drink from my impatiens a few days ago. Stubborn little bird as it took a while for him (her?) to give up and move on. First one I’ve seen all summer and I felt so thankful to have been outside at that very moment in time.

      You’re right, little things!

      • Ooooh! I would’ve swoooned with delight. We have a hummer feeder but it came late in the season and there is so much bird activity on this one small porch, I think they are unlikely to visit.

        But the cardinals and finches provide much delight. And….I got not one – but TWO- cardinal couples this season! whoo-hoooo!

        xoxoxo >-)

  8. Yesterday– was part of a group which toured a correctional institution. Always a sobering experience. So much wasted human potential, so many people locked in into foolish, ignorant choices and behaviors, for whatever reason stuck with the consequences. Wore Feminite du Bois to keep my sense of balance–

    • Jail sucks.
      And is depressing.

      And stinks. literally.

      I’m not elaborating. Just sayin’.

      You smelled good though.

  9. After slogging through the 10-hr drudgy day job, I arrived home to find that my SO had cleaned the bathrooms (YAY!!!), and that the highly anticipated bottle of Sharini Grains de Paradis that I won on Grain De Musc (thanks Denyse!) had arrived in all its olfactory glory! To me its reminiscent of the style of SIP and Roxana Villa, both of whom wear well on me, so I doused myself in it before heading off to the crazy-hard flamenco class. That’s the class where most of the other students are members of a prefessional flamenco troupe, and the pace is, to be poilte, extremely challenging.
    Of course, that was the night that we did nothing but footwork, and discussed the importance of how to add tempo builds to lead the guitarist into the different parts of the song (cuz they’re working with live musicians), and how to do the already-hard footwork with dynamic changes AND tempo changes. By the time class was over at 10, I was sweaty and foot-sore, but also energized by the actvity and could feel the little brain pathways making room for the additional information.

    • Disteza, hey, I’m so happy that Graines de Paradis made it to you so swiftly and that you like it!
      And you dance flamenco — bendita seas! A woman after my own heart. I gave up years ago. My classical-music formatted brain couldn’t adapt to those diabolically complicated tempos. I could barely “tocar las palmas” without exposing myself to ridicule…
      Deeply envious now. Graines de Paradis *and* flamenco!

      • I also started out with classical music and dance training; had I not, I don’t think I would have been able to comprehend flamenco. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down. Of course that means its also very rewarding when I finally get it. I’m in the process of learning castanuelas (castanets), which is only adding to the complexity–the day I can do a seguiriya AND castanets I’m sure my head will explode. :o

        • I think that you are bad ass . I envy your skills!

          rock that body.

  10. Black Krims are called Black Krims here in California. Did not know of the Crimean reference, perhaps with the K as a result of the Turkish language? Will check it out. thanks.

  11. Yesterday was uneventful. Just a lazy summer day.
    I couldn’t get the girlies to want to ‘do’ anything with me.
    So I did my usual work out and run in my forest.
    The weather here has sucked, not as much sunshine as I need.
    And I need to stock up my reserves of vitamin D it to last through the cold winter Lee.
    I want to see Inception , if just for Leo alone. Love that cat!
    Look at his cute manly man wrinkles on his forehead, I’ve watched him grow up and cry his way to stardom. He’s a good cryer.
    Up there with Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson crying before those cats got all loopy and stopped acting in good films.

    Yesterday I hemed and hawed over getting decants of Parfum d Empire at TPP cause they are on sale and I haven’t tried any yet.
    But I can’t bring myself to do it , I’ve been so good pinching my pennies towards my Tauer’s in Oct.
    Although I also wanna break down and get Amoureuse BC from BH.
    Ahhh dilemas like this are stupid but such is life sometimes.
    I bet you smell lovely, I still smell of White Aoud from last night. I told you it’s been cooler over here, I can do that sort of thing.
    Anywho, in other boring news I’m excited!! that my MAD MEN is this Sun. I cannot wait. I’ve missed my bastard Don and want to wallow in everyone’s woe in 64′. Not to mention all the shifts and dresses. My figure suits these styles Lee. ;)
    Ahhh Don is swoonworthy, even my girlies agree he’s handsome.
    Have a great weekend, my house is messy too. :P Muaah<3

    ~T

      • Mals!! My dear how did you know this is my daily mantra??
        I’m trying. I can do this!

        SAVE FOR THE TAUERS INDEED.;)

  12. What a lovely entry, Lee! A glimpse into your world so far, yet so close, away.

    Interesting you should ask about yesterday as I had one of the most emotional days in a while. Met up with a friend from junior high school who I hadn’t seen since about 9th grade (LONG time ago). She was with her husband and along with another old friend I’ve known since kindergarten, we had a leisurely lunch and caught up. Their son died a few years ago at age 19 and the depth of their grief touched me in places I didn’t know I had. It wasn’t all sadness as we laughed as much as we cried. I left feeling quite raw yet strangely comforted and happy.

    And you know, I can’t say I ever noticed one scent.

    • Hey P W,

      (snicker)

      Everytime that ‘A Cinderella Story’ comes on me and my girls just have to watch it. She’s cute.

  13. Just want to say:

    Today:

    109 (heat index). Sweltering. Thin sheen of salty sweat no matter where you are, other than a meat locker (maybe).

    Now: storm moving in. Gale-force winds and a 20-degree drop in temp in 10 minutes. Ozone and lightning everywhere. I have every window in the house open, to catch the cool breeze. No doubt I will make a mad dash to close them when the rains come a-pelting…but that is then….and this is Now.

    xo >-)

    • Goodness Musette!

      Where the devil do you live?!

      I love that smell, right before a storm….

      Even though I don’t know you, I see you running around shutting windows and cursing for some odd reason. ;)

  14. I watched Inception yesterday too. And finally! somebody else who was disappointed with the movie!..:) I felt like they could have done more with it..

    I want your salad. And the rain (and windows in my office. Yes- our building doesn’t have any windows. *shakes head sadly*

  15. I love that you have a carpenter named Trevor and an outside Loo: one that has a history that can be written of in paint layers.

    I got up early and still managed to waste time enough to get a late start. I went to work and did random tasks, left early for some city stuff then came home to watch Ina Garten make Matzoh balls with parsley and meringue or something and tomato sauce with raisins, which for some reason I thought was just wrong. I ate a nice piece of Talapia for dinner and watched the documentary “Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills” about a local tailor, which I highly recommend. I resisted the urge, once again to dust. Plus ça change, you know the drill. I’m wearing MKK, because, well I can.

    That salad reads divine, and if everyones indulged then kissing isn’t an issue. Besides, parsley purifies. Or something.

  16. I got home from the gym Thursday and it seemed a little warm inside the house. And then a little warmer, and a little warmer, and gradually I realized that the AC was not working.

    When it’s 95 F outside and the “heat index” is 100+, having no AC inside a sealed up modern house is not an an insignificant thing. So yesterday was spent waiting for the AC guy, finally napping in lieu of any sleep the night before, then waking up to find it had blown again. Miraculously Mr. HVAC was willing to come back — Friday afternoon, 6 pm. I felt like I should bake him a pie or something. Then a temporary fix that should last until the part gets here. We hope.

    4711 from the fridge, cool showers, every fan in the house. Today I’m thinking about how fortunate we are to live in comfort most of the time.

  17. Oh yes, the outside loos in rural Australia….memories! The silly song about redbacks on the toilet seat….
    Yesterday I was up at my bush block, gophering for the guy who was putting finishing touches on my wonderful new corrugated iron shed, and checking my heifers who are calving for the first time.
    I am feeding them silage, a wonderful concoction of preserved fermented fodder which smells a bit like olives. When I got back into my car for the trip home last night, I smelled of silage, manure, and many samples from my ‘meh’ basket which I took up to the farm!
    We are hunkered down in a cold wet stage of winter. I am craving the ambers and incenses, whilst you guys are revelling in the summer ‘fumes! Yay to Timbuktu! I am seeking the very best amber, I have Sultan, Narguile, Ambre Soie, Alahine, vintage Shalimar…what else is out there?? I just fell madly for Messe de Minuet, and it seems to have disappeared.
    I always find it amazing that when you are in the extremes of one season, you cannot imagine or feel the extremes of the other.

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