13 September

Ticking all the baskets

How are your hampers going? If you know who you’re planning to give hampers to and what contents and containers you already have, you can work out what else you still need and plan how and when you’re going to get it.[1] Perhaps:

  • Do a round of local op shops to get baskets (next Saturday).[2]
  • Cook strawberry jam when your strawberries are ripe (November, with luck).
  • Make flavoured oils (October).
  • Cook lemon butter (December).[3]
  • Get some pretty material to cover the tops of the jars (the week after next).

Because, if you don’t work out soon what you have, what you need and when you’ll get it, you’ll risk your hampers becoming a source of last-minute stress rather than a well-organised breeze.

One final task for today: nominate a date and time for actually assembling your hampers – maybe a week before Christmas? – and write that into your schedule.

This was a surprisingly easy task for me today: In January, I decided to make a hamper for the staff at Auntie Helen’s nursing home, but I no longer need to. (It doesn’t feel like she’s been dead for six months and I still find myself planning to take her a jar of jam or tell her about a family barbecue. I can’t say I mourn the loss of her feeble last days, but I do miss the woman she was before that.)

13 sep 2016.jpg
Jams looking sweet. I’ve got it covered.

I cleared out two whole boxes of my books for the book stall today. (I pick most of them up from fetes and op shops anyway so I have an easy-come, easy-go approach and I only keep those I think have enduring value.)[4] Then I took the books to Jill’s grandson’s Riley’s primary school and found that they had a shelter shed set aside for jumble and there were already several other boxes of books stacked up, so I will recommend to Jill that we do some preliminary sorting: there’s no way we’ll be able to get through them all on the morning of the fete.[5]

[1] As a young man, my colleague Murray lived near an underwear factory outlet so he made hampers of underpants for all of his family – which might have been received well had he got the sizes right.

[2] My sister Wendy drops into her local op shop before she goes to the supermarket because she says they often have lemons. (This is probably the reason she has so many novelty cake tins. She can’t resist a fifty-cent butterfly shape and the cooking equipment is right next to the lemon basket.)

[3] You might be able to get the lemons from your local op shop (and put it, your strawberry jam, your chilli oil and a fancy spatula in a butterfly cake tin to round it all off).

[4] And enduring covers: disintegrating paperbacks aren’t worth shelf space.

[5] Well, maybe we could if we got up at 2am, but I have my limits.

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