Day Fifteen


220px Bullers fantails

The Thursday before Easter is the traditional day for hot cross buns and I've made Monday's purchase last so that I have one with my coffee today. There are a couple of squares of chocolate left too but I doubt they'll last till Sunday, the traditional celebration of chocolate. I'll make some truffles according to Lorelle's simple recipe.*

It's a quiet day. In the afternoon I take my sheet of scrounged sandpaper and tackle the exterior windowsills. I can only reach about half of them and as always when you get up close to something there's more involved than I first thought. I sand and scrape some parts down to bare wood – that will need priming but it's too late in the day for it to dry. A chunk of filler falls off the bottom of the downstairs door. It's not a bodged repair that I have made so it must be pretty old. I can patch it up with primer and paint for now but it will be on the list when tradesmen can work again.

There are fantails in the garden, flitting around in the fruit trees where perhaps they are finding insects. A weka picks through my bag of weeds, apparently finding oxalis bulbs a tasty treat. These are regular visitors to my garden but I notice a lot of people are commenting about increased bird life, perhaps because the birds are venturing further in the quieter cities. But also noticing birds is like smelling the roses, it takes a little time and a calm, settled attitude.

On Facebook there's a photo of a deer in a back yard in Wainuiomata. Other reports indicate that skies are clear over usually polluted cities and waterways are clean. We should be ashamed of ourselves: if it's so simple to clean up our own backyards, then surely the air pollution in Beijing, the rubbish in the canals of Venice and the damage to wildlife everywhere is entirely and easily preventable. The drastic reduction of tourism will be a good start.

One of David Attenborough's programmes showed how the animals and the forest re-colonised the city of Pripyat after the Chernobyl disaster caused everyone to leave. It didn't explain how the animals dealt with the radiation – drone footage showed foxes in the green streets which looked healthy enough. I think of Ben Elton's book This Other Eden in which the rich build huge domes to create safe, healthy places to live away from the terrible pollution that people have created in the world. But because the heavily-consuming rich are shut up in their bubbles, the world heals.

As you know, I have hope for big changes. In the meantime, simple pleasures.

*Lorelle's truffles

Equal parts of dates, peanut butter and cocoa. A little coconut to roll them in.

I use a tablespoon of each ingredient to made six bite-sized treats.

Soak the dates in boiling water till soft enough to mash. Tip off most of the water. Mix in the peanut butter and cocoa while the dates are still warm. Roll into walnut sized balls and roll in coconut. Cool in the fridge.