Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Wall Completed

A post by Madame

Saturday 19 March 2011

Things happened all over the place – here and in Spirit. It's been a busy Saturday, one way and another!

Not a picture of us in the Fitzroy Gardens, but Louis was wearing this jumper.
These memories came while Louis and I were out. We were en route to Smith Street, a shopping strip that has a section of factory outlets I hoped would include hosiery stores. Having been pleasantly surprised by the success of a just-below-the-knee length denim skirt I bought recently (I haven't work a skirt that short in decades) I wanted to get some coloured tights or leggings for cooler weather. It's not that easy to do, since the makers' mantra seems largely to be “Colours are only for those under a certain weight and age. All other women are to wear black.”

Smith Street is in Collingwood, which meant that the routine Louis and I have followed lately on our Saturdays out wouldn't work. We've taken to stopping at the Café de la Place and Fawkner Park, just as we do on weekdays, for coffee and the chance for me to do reiki and remember what happened at Home during the earthly hours of night. But those stops lie well off the route to Collingwood and would have taken a serious chunk out of our day (a major consideration when using public transport). But the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens lie on the route, and have a coffee shop (albeit far inferior to the Café). After the unspectacular coffee and a good but expensive cheesecake, we made our way to a broad-spreading oak, and there Louis was able to trigger my memories.

Unlike most of my recent trips Home, I woke in our bed that morning. Louis was just waking, too, and we lay cuddling and comfortable, just happy to be there. The only odd thing was that I could smell scrambled eggs. Louis teased me about thinking about food, but I could actually smell them. I shrugged that off, but a few minutes later I could smell coffee. Now coffee being heated is a much more distinctive (and un-ignorable) scent than scrambled eggs.

Breakfast couldn't have cooked itself, could it?” I asked Louis, not thinking for a minute that it could, but almost wondering if he'd set it going, though he didn't seem in any hurry to get up.

Then we realised what was going on: the kits had sent up the coffee odour to entice us to come downstairs and feed them. Little wretches! Like they can't feed themselves. But then, it's like Louis observed about Katie the other day: it's just not the same as having someone serving you.

We threw on our white bathrobes and headed to the main room, where the cats were indeed all sitting around looking alertly at the staircase. I swept them a bow and we presented them with their breakfasts, and headed into the kitchen for our own. I had the scrambled eggs on toast their first scent-temptation had suggested. Louis had his usual bacon and eggs, because, as he said, he has Obligations to the queen of the house. He called to Katie to tell her breakfast was served if she cared to come and have it, and eventually she did fly up onto the table to join in. Louis cut a portion of bacon and told her plainly that part was hers and the rest was his. I doubt she took a whisker of notice of this little lecture.

After eating we had our coffee and talked about what to do during the day. I asked Louis if he had any plans or preferences; he favoured going on with our wall. That suited me; I was enjoying the work and it was coming along so well. We went back upstairs – I had one clear image of his bare legs and feet on the stairs above me – and dressed.

I don't remember word-for-word our conversation upstairs (or for any of the day, for that matter) but I do recall saying it's pleasing that our clothing seems to be self-cleaning, and that we could always do naked bricklaying, but that might be a trifle eccentric even over There. Louis agreed to that. I also said I was glad the bricks aren't of the sort that would break toes if they landed on them, since Louis was busy shoving his plimsolls on; he agreed with that, too, saying he had no wish to wear steel-capped boots.

Once again we headed outside, and the one thing I noted was that Louis stopped to remonstrate a little with one of his dogs. I haven't noted this dog before; he's a brown and white hound (one from Louis's earthly days, I think). He'd dug a hole in the lawn and Louis said, “I trust you will fill that in, sir,” or something along those lines. The dog looked somewhat shamefaced, almost like a little kid, but I gather that yes, he would fill in the hole he'd dug. I registered his name almost as “Bo,” while recalling this, though I'm sure that isn't how it would be spelt; he's not an American dog, after all. It's probably Beau, shortened from “Beau-something”. Regardless, it's nice to have a clearer glimpse of one of our canine friends.

The rest of our day only showed itself in glimpses: I know we had slices of roast meat in bread rolls for lunch, and thick soup or broth with crusty bread for dinner, after showering and changing. We'd dressed after our shower because we had the feeling someone would turn up for a visit, but I'm glad to say we were wrong. Our evening was spent on the couches, reading to each other.

The wonderful and unexpected part was that I had two days at Home, on this one earthly night. It's rare enough to get more than a day and night there, and rare to get back after I've woken on the earthly side, but to combine them is very special indeed. I remember waking that second morning, thinking I'm still here! and holding onto my sleeping husband. It wasn't long before he woke, with the same delighted reaction - “You're still here!” - and we fell into giggles, and onto each other, for a morning romp.

That's all I recall from the second day; I asked Louis what else we did, and the great news is that we have finished our wall! It's all done, and now we can turn to laying out and planting the knot garden it is to frame.

All these memories took perhaps twenty minutes to relive, and rather longer to record on my phone. Once it was all done, we continued to Smith Street as planned, searching for stockings. I had no luck there at all, so we came back through the Fitzroy Gardens (this would have taken a couple of hours altogether) and caught the tram to Bridge Road, another shopping strip. It was devoid of anything but black stockings, too (I eventually found some in the city) but it did inadvertently provide the highlight of the earthly day.

In the window of one small shop – the jewellery, bags and accessories variety – I saw a white cotton scarf, printed with flowers and leaves in dark pink and mossy green. Those colours go with pretty well everything I wear, and I liked the scarf. Five minutes later I'd bought it.

When I came out of the shop, I had the strongest impression from Louis – one of those how can you doubt this? moments. He was laughing over the fact that on a trip to look for stockings, I should buy something about as far from them as possible (only a hat would be farther than a scarf!). More than that, he knows my weakness for scarves. His laughter was of the “that's so like you” type, but just saturated with love. Yes, he was laughing at me, but in a way that – how can I describe it? – filled me with delight, with the feeling of being loved, not the feeling of being teased or put down. Not that I need say he never does that, but it's hard to describe what this moment was like. He had his arm round me and kissed me on the cheek, and raised my happiness level a notch or three, as he so often does.

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