Jeanne Ellin: Goldfish lifestyle, heroic endeavours and cardboard courtesies

Goldfish in a bowl

Banner with Jeanne Ellin's quoteWoke to the familiar thump of layers being added to my outside walls, but Sunday is usually a silent day.

Goldfish in a bowlIntent face at kitchen window, a workman layering the outside edges as I make breakfast. Not looking at me but so close.

Then, leaving the curtains drawn on the two patio doors while I ate, I heard a thump and drew back the curtains to see a boot on the ground! Fortunately not an accident, just a very hardworking young man finishing the lower edges.

Wonder if a goldfish memory would make the sense of being viewed any easier, if every view felt like the first? Hard to feel comfortable with strangers moving and working at every window.

The scaffolders have returned! Not to dismantle but to add another storey. I do enjoy watching their seemingly effortless strength and grace.

One young man, of perhaps five foot five inches, was tasked with moving the 20-foot steel poles from lorry drop off point to the main scaffolding. He manfully shouldered the poles and had them fall back against him, again and again till he managed to move each the 12 yards or so. I went outside – yes, nosey – and saw him continue till he succeeded with the final poles. Then he saw me watching and gave me such a beaming smile.

Now that is a winner; tenacity, and a cheerful enjoyment of his success. I am sure he will do well – and he is young enough to grow an inch or two and add some muscle mass, but he already has all he needs. I shall treasure the memory when I am working my daily challenges, from getting up, which can take 40 minutes, to the triumph of making fresh meals and smile.

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Struggling with the carcasses of some large delivery boxes that I had finally reduced to the required, neat folds, more cardboard than woman visible, I tottered out heading for the recycling bins when one of my ragged scaffolding knights saw me from a distance, and strode towards me to take the burden from me with a kindly smile, since we had no shared language.

On another occasion when I was anxiously snail stepping towards a large and muddy puddle, the other route debris strewn and slippery, another knight appeared and lay a carpet of flattened cardboard to make a safe, dry path.

About Jeanne Ellin

I am a poet working at living a creative life in a one room flat, companioned by a menagerie of chronic health problems. I began this series of posts after being inspired by two women younger than myself, who, fearful of their imagined old age spent in ill health and poverty, committed suicide. I explore every year as a bonus of adventures, with moments of discomfort or fear, but with unexpected treasure to be found - helped by a sense of the ridiculous, a world perspective and creativity.