Dora weeded the flower bed
stretching down from the street.
close to their farmlet’s driveway.
Daisies and buttercups crept
through the grass on to the bed
full of colourful annuals, perennials
stealing the rich soil’s nutrients.
She worked rapidly twisting
soil loose with her little fork
dropping loosened weeds into
the waiting rubbish bag.
Baa baa !! Baa baa !!
sounded close to her head.
She jolted back in surprise
looked up saw a ewe from the
paddock next to the drive, her
head pushed through the fence.
Baa baa !! Baa baa !!
repeated the ewe loudly.
Dora stared at her, looked
around the paddock, puzzled …
… saw a small lamb with its
leg caught in the bars of the
far gate struggling to be free.
Dora climbed the fence,
crossed the paddock to the gate
freed the lamb from its trap.
It rushed to its mother who
turned to Dora”Baa baa !!”
then they turned to the far
end away from the gate.
Kamala the city zoo’s senior
elephant lived with friend Jamuna
enjoying their walks, swimming in
their elephant pool, climbing up
through the bush to the ridge at
the back of the zoo sometimes
dragging pruned boughs back down.
Early one morning young Jamuna
pushed through unlatched gates
out a side gate to the busy main
road full of rush hour traffic.
Drivers rang the zoo who went
two keepers who guided her
back home to her great relief.
Her reunion conversation with
Kamala was full of excited squeaks
whistles and ear flapping.
Long years of Kamala’s early
life on concrete floors and
courtyard took their terrible toll
on her feet, their pain growing
stronger and longer. With her
eyes unfocused behind the pain
she was finally euthanased.
With Jamuna so bereft in her
grief the keepers in turn slept in
her back room, talking to her
when she stirred in the night.
Five long years later young Mali
arrived, chatty, exuberant, friendly,
Jamuna’s ears flapped, she
squeaked, whistled, trumpeted,
She was happy now, no longer alone.
An era ended last Saturday.
Our long time neighbour in
our block’s street front flat
went to live in a faraway city
where his two children settled
with partners and grandchildren.
His eight years here covering
my seven years have passed
so fast, his steadiness anchored
our little community as other
tenants ebbed and flowed.
His six day work weeks recently
shortened to five day weeks,
steadily constant, broken only
by long weekends visiting his
roving children settled far away.
This year sharp pains exploded
in one week to cripple his hips
abruptly halting his work days
constantly driving around town,
ejected him from his driver’s seat.
Limping cautiously moving his
joints as best he could, working
was no longer possible.
Our lives will have a strange
gap for a while until he recedes
behind the swirl of new tenants,
new happenings, life ongoing.
After doing my evening meal
dishes I leaned my fry pan
against my dish rack against
the bench splash back in my
tiny little kitchen. They would
finish their drying there.
With my head in the cupboard
I put more dishes away as
there came a very loud CRASH !
” _ _ _ _ ! _ _ _ _ ! _ _ _ _ ! ”
I exploded in shock !
As I set pan and rack upright
my neighbour rushed to my
back door having heard my
up roar through our open windows.
“Are you alright ? Did you fall ?”
she anxiously asked.
Feeling most foolish I explained
the crash, that I had sworn
at fry pan and dish rack.
Then I thanked her profusely
for coming to check.
I am glad to have a neighbour
who comes to see if help is needed.
A gardener is contracted
to prune our little front hedge
to mow the front lawn, street
berm, to prune the shrubs of
the little front gardens along
the drive for the rented flats
but not mine, I don’t rent.
He keeps the front lawns and hedge
very tidy, ignores the little gardens.
Shrubs outside two bedroom
windows sprouted up large during
a wet summer after a wet winter
catching him by surprise after
summers of drought. Property
management said “Prune them !”
My neighbour in the next flat was
excited when he arrived, being
often confined ill to her bed in a
dark gloomy room. She greeted
him effusively but he snarled at
her, did not want to prune her
shrub but was ordered to do so.
He sheared off its sides and top
straight up down across with
screaming electric trimmers.
He did the same to the other shrub.
Two tenants were stunned, aghast.
I don’t want to do our gardener’s
job, but to keep me and my
neighbours happy. I now prune those
shrubs with secateurs and saw.
The gardener says nothing.
Our large medical centre is
coming to terms with its new
computer system which has tossed
up a large team of health
professionals and administrators
all spinning in the air, all coming
down again in a jumbled heap.
One third of patients are registered
on the patients’ website, the other
two thirds are overloading
the centre’s telephone system.
Prescription repeats are now done by
nurses upstairs as a recalcitrant
system bats them around for days
then releases them to the pharmacy.
Patients’ invoices from doctors and
nurses creep slowly to reception as
staff and patients drum fingers
on counters before snaking queues.
This morning the doctor had to
dictate to his computer our initial
and final discussions. He stood
looking straight at his computer
clearly enunciated careful sentences,
looked a query at me. I nodded
encouragement. Seeing his words
on screen made his happy again.
But he still seems suspicious
of his centre’s new system.
Two weird little gadgets check
diabetic blood sugar to show
levels of microscopic sugar
particles sludging through the
blood stream gradually sinking
to the soles of the feet, slowing
down that vital flow of oxygen
minerals, nutrients through the body.
Three monthly blood tests show
what was in our blood stream for
those months but not which foods
which our bodies do not readily process.
So one little gadget pricks the
finger tip deeply, drawing blood.
The other little gadget reads the
level of those microscopic particles
after a meal, shows which foods
leave high or low levels behind.
My great great grandfather died
of diabetes and gangrene in 1885
he had no blood tests or gadgets
to show what was in his blood.
My sister says that is too long ago
to count as part of our genetic lottery.
I am gradually reducing tingling and
numbness in the soles of my feet.