Someone’s done it again! Dropped a silver coin in the dogs drink bowl outside my gate!
I love it! The fun of pretending it’s a wishing well. It’s happened a few times over the years, and I always have a giggle, and love to think of someone standing there, looking at the bowl, deciding to have a bit of fun, and then dropping a fifty cent piece into the water. It’s a deep one for thirsty dogs, and wasps, and birds who also bath in it, and make me keep changing the water. (I had no idea how dusty birds got until they began bathing in the aluminium- silver drinking bowl).
I love too, the whacky knitters who have covered the ropes and bollards in the centre of our nearest village with knitted crowns on the bollards and coloured cords twined around the ropes, all in glorious mismatched riotous colours. Hope the fun police don’t rip them off like they did the Father Christmas knitted white beards and red hats – (a numbingly huge job to make) which the same jolly knitters prised onto the life-size male and female heads which adorn the edge of the walls of the local loos
I can also visualise the Puritans who once confiscated the diaper (or nappy depending where you live), carefully draped around a huge bronze discus player’s private parts on a statue at the entrance to an Auckland park. It must have taken the guilty students ages to climb up in the dark for this bit of dotty fun.
Just as much as I love random acts of fun, I love random acts of kindness too. Princess Diana popularised this idea, which I think she picked up from a group in California. I realised I’d been practising this form of enjoyment when I used to pop some money into expiring meters, when I worked in the city forty years ago. I never knew how the expirees of the meters felt, but I did hear of one who was informed by a grumpy warden about to pounce, that a dark-haired woman had got there first and filled his meter!
And I once had the fun of going into an Open-Home, and seeing the absent owner had a collection of pale yellow Aynsley china, with a pink orchid for a handle on each cup and jug, and tea-pot. I had one matching jug at home, unlike any in her collection, so the next time I went into town, I popped it in her letter box. When I heard from someone that the owner was in a wheel chair, it gave me double pleasure.
These I suppose are anonymous acts of kindness – if indeed they can be called kind when they give the initiator such a kick of real well-being. Sometimes, indeed, they help to ease the heart-ache we feel when we hear of some-one’s plight. The girl who used to serve me at the coffee shop left to have twins. One died at birth, and the other faced years of pain and operations, which the little family with an out- of- work partner couldn’t really afford. Since it was Christmas, I left an anonymous envelope at her place of work with some notes in it. It wasn’t enough to make much of a difference to them, but it made a difference to me.
I am always awed and thrilled when I read of people who regularly go to some desolate city area to give hot pies, or ham sandwiches or whatever, to the hungry. Not random acts of kindness, but a regular commitment and a planned act of kindness. Like the old lady who used to visit a big city park in Auckland to fill little plastic drinking bowls under various trees and hedges for the hens which used to roam and delight generations of children. And the people who make long journeys every night to feed gatherings of hungry stray cats.
I had a friend who, wherever she went, took a plastic bag and filled it with litter. She did it when I walked with her on a beach, and she and her husband did it staying at camp sites all over Europe.
These little everyday acts of kindness somehow satisfy the soul as much, or more, than hearing about the wonderful organisations who feed the famine-stricken in Africa and elsewhere. They are little reminders to us that we can all do something in our own backyard, including spreading some laughter and goodwill with a random act of fun. I’m hoping for another silver coin in my water bowl!
Food for Threadbare Gourmets
Needing a quick pudding to please family or friends? Our tried and true standby is simply strawberry yogurt, cream and a handful of fresh berries or tinned fruit. We call it pink pudding.
Whip half a pint of cream until thick, add roughly the same amount of thick yogurt, which can be plain, or flavoured with the fruit you’re using. Stir them gently together, and then add the berries, or usually in our case, a drained tin of boysenberries or frozen raspberries, melted and drained. Add sugar to taste, and leave in the fridge till needed. Don’t leave too long in case the fruit sinks to the bottom. But it’s always delicious however it comes.
It can either be served in one large glass bowl, or spooned into individual glasses or bowls. A shortbread biscuit served with it, lifts it into a grander category of pudding, as do tiny hearts-ease flowers, or violets in the middle of each individual bowl. I’ve even used a large pink floppy rose in the middle of a big glass bowl of pink pudding. Looks are everything when it comes to food!
An added frill is to melt some marshmallows in some of the fruit juice, and stir in, to make the mix firmer. But I prefer the purity of natural ingredients with no preservatives, additives etc, etc.
Food for Thought
People have to be taken as they are; there are no other ones. Kurt Adenauer. West German Premier