Thursday, September 4, 2014

4th of September, and a story about marmalade

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence which started about 4.35 am four years ago, a day when the earth would not stand still.

So ... it was all shaky and crazy ... and shaky, and things fell over everywhere, including the contents of my pantry. Miraculously only two jars of marmalade broke when they spilled out onto the floor, and the whole sticky mess was covered in soy sauce. (To this day the soy sauce bottle is stored at the back of the bench and not in the pantry). Pretty lucky I thought - just two jars of marmalade lost. Not even one piece of broken crockery, which considering the violence of the shaking was pretty amazing. On the news Canterbury residents were told to take photos of broken items before they cleaned away the broken mess, so they could itemise each item in their insurance claim - even food products from kitchens. I didn't bother - two broken jars of home-made marmalade was hardly a tragedy.

Later that afternoon - a brilliant sunny spring day - I decided to calm my nerves by stacking two fallen chimneys worth of bricks on the path at the front of our house, while my kids frolicked inside and out (I'm so glad the ridiculous shaking didn't bother them, like it did lots of kids). As I was stacking bricks a little old lady (I mean that quite literally) pulled up in her bright yellow car and asked if she could buy some of my bricks. I told her she could have them, she was after all doing me a favour - what was I going to do with a ton of bricks. As I helped her stack them in her wee car she told me she was going to use them to build a platform for her wheelie bins. She also told me that her name was Daphne and that she already knew me because I was a friend of her older sister Margaret. Margaret is a delightful lady and a walking encyclopaedia of knitting techniques who I met through my weaving and spinning guild. What's more their parents used to live two doors down from me. We chatted some more and eventually she drove off to make her brick wheelie bin platform.

It continued to be shaky and crazy ... and a few days later Daphne walked in through my gate carrying two jars of freshly made marmalade that she wanted to give me as a thank you for letting her have my fallen chimney bricks. I looked at her in amazement and told her about my pantry and the soy-sauce-marmalade mess. She was better than an insurance company! She had replaced my marmalade within days, and it was so fresh it was still warm!

Later on I realised what that amazing stalwart woman had done. She simply carried on with life, despite the ongoing terror, set a large pot of boiling sugary liquid onto her stove and turned grapefruit into marmalade, even though the entire lot likely shook at least once or twice during its making, and risked the very real possibility of ending up all over her kitchen floor.

So, that's how I met Daphne.
And today on the 4th of September, quite by accident, I find myself making marmalade (and it hasn't been shaken ... yet).

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