Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Jasmine Thief

One Monday night in early September, I go on what looks like my usual run. But this is a ploy. I am not going for my usual run. I am casing the Inner West for blossoming jasmine vines...

Jasmine gelato, gelato di gelsomino. I read about it in "Midnight in Sicily"; searched Sicily for it before lighting on it in a gelateria in Trapani; Michael-my-ex got a recipe for it on the net and makes it every year. Except this year he was sad for he had no jasmine flowers.

I jog, I sweat, I negotiate busy roads, I keep an eye out for jasminum polyanthum. Not just any - they must be almost in full bloom, large, and hidden. There's one in Forest Lodge: front fence on a busy road - too open. Here's another in a garden on a quiet lane-way in Annandale - bit small, may do in a pinch. This one on an overgrown bank below some flats, on the same lane - perfect.

Next Sunday morning, just after six, I take my shopping bags and scissors, and head to Annandale in my car. On the way I see more jasmine, in Camperdown: a front corner fence hidden by bushes. Is it too out-in-the-open? Does that old man going for a walk suspect what I'm up to? I do U-turns and crawl along the street, and cross the intersection again, looking for a place to park that's close (for a quick get-away), when I see the perfect froth of jasmine, cascading over a back fence in a quiet lane. I boldly stand there, snipping off full heavy bunches of the flowers but I find using my fingers is easier. No time for plucking single unbruised blossoms - I grasp the blossoms with my fingers and drag them off the vine.

The Annandale laneway is productive too, the blossoms here bigger and sparser. The smell is divine on the cool morning air. I don't take too many, and I cull from all over the vine. There's plenty left to scent the lane-way, and please the eye of passing joggers.

I wonder if I have enough, and hope I can get some more out West, where I am heading to visit my Dad. Maybe Rookwood, that vast glorious necropolis, might have some. Maybe around my old suburb, though so many of the old weatherboard bungalows and their gardens have gone. Maybe if I can find no more, what I have will be enough?

But on my way out west I pass the biggest bank of the stuff I have ever seen - on a busy road out the front of some flats in Stanmore.

I stop. I am bold. I also calculate that the traffic goes by too quickly to take an interest, and that people in the flats are still asleep. Plus there is so much. Pluck, pluck, pluck. My hands are sticky with flower-dew and my car smells like heaven.

Later that day I got to Michael's and surprise him with my mornings work. "Yay!" He is so happy - he'd given up hope of jasmine gelato this year. I plan my next hunt...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Thrift #1

Last night I sat in front of a DVD, drank cheap red wine, and darned socks.

I darn well... never said I darn well.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A wry smile played on his lips.

Last week an ex (I have 2) - let's call this one X  (the other one is "Michael") - sent me a Facebook friend request. We'd defriended ages ago because his husband worked in a high security job and they weren't allowed social media accounts (plus... there'd been jealousy) but I'd noticed a while back that X was back on, so it was nice to get this request. I clicked Accept, and wrote a short message saying thanks, nice to hear from you, but haven't had any communication back from him. That was a few weeks ago.

On Monday, on my News Feed, this update from him:

X would like to wish his husband a wonderful and happy 2nd wedding anniversary. xxxx

2 years! 2 years he's been married, THREE years since I was still involved with him, 3 and a half since we met!! I couldn't believe it'd been so long! [Or that that part of my life had been dead ever since - but, another story.]

Anyway, I was watching Good News Week that night, and that young indie singer Megan Washington sang a song as a clue for part of the quiz they play - and it was Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, which was "our song".

As I listened and watched, a wry smile played on my lips.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


The bunch of clivea in the Vice-Chancellor's Garden, the soft warm air, a good night's sleep, a couple of deadlines met - was it one of these?

The reed-warbler in the pond, come south to nest; the run I did the other night, the first in ages; the new scent of jasmine on the air that night; the gazes I met of runners and bikers as we passed: one of these?

Or is it just Spring? Today I feel like I'm young again and I don't know why.