26th July 2022

Two days of storms broke the stifling heat, temporarily.

Plant life has perked up considerably which is cheering to see.

When bushes droop and flowers begin to look exhausted, despite daily watering, it makes me feel drained too.

Though I have little to complain about.

When I first went to the Pacific Northwest I found the climate delightful.

My winter coat hung in the closet unused. At most, I wore a light jacket. The jokes I had heard about Seattle weather seemed unfounded. We used to get a week or two of hot, dry weather during summer. Nothing too intense.

Gradually, though, it all began to change. Or maybe when I purchased a house with a garden, I began to notice more.

A lot of my time seemed to be taken up dragging hoses around and summers became more uncomfortable.

We began to get snow more frequently.

The last summer before we left to come east, we had a lot of smoke from wildfires. It was very attention-getting.

The winter following our move, Seattle had significant snow. And yesterday, I read that Seattle had their hottest temperature on record.

In my time out there, we were not equipped to deal with great fluctuations. I’m sure many people still aren’t. Changing climate was one of the reasons Seattle lost its appeal for me.

Moving to Upstate New York was viewed as somewhat extraordinary. “Winters are so harsh!”

My aunt and uncle had retired to Maine and I remembered how difficult those winters could be for the elderly. Was I mad?

Additionally, summers could be uncomfortably hot.

Probably I would not have purchased a house that was not air-conditioned. It was the only “precaution” I took.

That and having a generator.

Climate change is catching up with everyone and as far as I am aware, no place on Earth is immune.

There have been terrible storms in this area and some, very damaging. I know better than to take four years of good fortune for granted.

Everyday I see reports of devastation from around the globe. And I have to hope that those in power will act.

Strange things are happening everywhere, not just weather-related.

This image is of an unripe milkweed seed pod which I found on the path by our front door.

And there is the piece that was torn out.

What struck me as somewhat bizarre was when I stepped back and got the full picture…

“Diner est servi!”

Whatever creature did this has obviously been to a school of haute cuisine.

Presentation is everything, isn’t it?

The photographer did not arrange this. Promise.

If you go looking, I suppose you could attribute strangeness to a lot of things….

My “drink” consists of Cran-mango juice and soda.

One day recently I re-filled my bottle and thought:

“That’s got a perfume.” It tasted of it too.

So I looked at the soda bottle. It had no label.

But it had done when I took the bottle from the bottom of the fridge, because I had noted that it was soda and not seltzer. We’ve been trying to decide if there’s a difference.

Grant appeared: “Taste this.” I said

“Hm. Not flavoured….”


“Yes, yes exactly.”

“So where did it come from?”

“Where’s the label?”

We looked at each other.

No one else lives or comes here, so….

There’s got to be an explanation, but I can’t think of one.

Then there are other sorts of strange things.

Such as what people collect

When we drive into Cambridge, we pass these unappealing mobile homes.

No-one lives in them. They just sit there.

It turns out someone collects them.

Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

It doesn’t seem very practical.

Not the kind of thing you’d be terribly thrilled to have left to you in someone’s will.

This is what was left to me.

My father’s stamp collection.

It consists of a wide variety of dates and provenance.

He had collected stamps since boyhood.

This was my father’s last occupation:

He meticulously put together three albums for just his collection of US American stamps.

Stamps always fascinated me. I was often with my mother when she went to dealers in search of particular stamps my dad was interested in.

Over the years, I contributed quite a few myself.

Stamps are a pictorial history of a country, of different time periods. So they belong somewhere where they can be seen and appreciated.

It is my duty to find such a place for this collection but so far I have not had much luck.

It would be sad to see it is an estate sale.

There is also the collection of my father’s hibiscus paintings.

My parents lived for some 15 years in Barbados and my mother being a keen gardener, she had a great variety of the flowers which flourished there.

My father was an artist and painted images of each one.

Many have been given good homes, but I still have a drawer full, as well as those I have in frames on my walls.

My memories of Dad are very mixed and some are very troubled, but when I look at his exquisite albums and consider the quality of his painting, I tell myself there was good in him.

And that is the best thing for me to remember.

6 thoughts on “Strange

  1. I collected stamps for many years and, when I could afford to, I bought whole sheets of new UK issues thinking they would be worth a great deal in future. Sadly, they are not!!!!!!!!

  2. I like the dinner plate of the milkweed – that’s interesting! And wow, that’s a huge stamp collection … I also like the stamps of different countries (for me, it tells a story of a specific period in a country). I think you should set up a camera in/near your house … maybe all your furry friends coming out during the night and play some tricks on you!

  3. Collecting mobile homes is a new one to me. It’s a shame the collector doesn’t arrange them in a more pleasant configuration. They just look like an eyesore. I have a friend who collects stamps. He is so painfully ‘niche’, he only collects French stamps postmarked in certain areas of Paris on certain dates. He has spent his retirement building that collection. He is now 83, and nobody else is interested in them. I suspect they will end up in a charity shop when he dies.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. In the end, I guess not, They are paper and fragile. I have a little book of poetry that was given to my great grandmother for “improvement” in 1887. It is disintegrating though I try to protect it.

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