I am making my way home from the local shops, having picked up some essential food items, when I spy a couple of extremely large cooking apples outside the Strand Local.
Strand Local sells all manner of groceries but also a whole variety of fruit and vegetables, many of which I don’t actually recognise. It’s that kind of shop, one that challenges me on so many fronts. I pull on
my mask, gather up the two apples and make my way into the shop. I enquire of the fella behind the counter (who is wearing a lanyard to explain why he isn’t wearing a mask) whether he has any more cooking apples. He apologises for the fact that I have
picked up the last two - and offers me, by way of compensation, some blackberries free of charge. I thank him for his kind thought but explain that my freezer is groaning under bags of frozen blackberries from my back garden. Afterwards I feel cross with myself
for turning down his generous offer which would probably have made him feel good about doing me a good turn. Why didn’t I accept gratefully? These days of Lockdown 2, even small gestures can help get us through each day of Nothing Special Happening.
I’m not alone in feeling this. Several of my friends have commented on it. It seems to me that we all need to invest in the Importance of Small Unexpected Gestures.
My (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys are celebrating the end of their country’s Lockdown. Morgan, youngest of the lads, is excited to tell me that his class has won first
prize in a school competition to collect the most pennies in all manner of bottles, jars and other receptacles. What is the prize? I need to know. Apparently, as their reward for their Excellence in Penny Gathering, his classmates will all be allowed to wear
their pyjamas to school where they will watch a film together.
James tells me that he has a favourite teacher. “You need to ask me why that is,”
he adds, just in case I start wittering on about something else, as is my wont. “Why is that?” I ask obediently. It seems this teacher hands out chocolates to her pupils; James goes into great detail about how the selection of chocolates is conducted
in a Covid-secure fashion. Not so very many months ago, such precautions over a box of chocolates would have seemed way over the top.
Sam tells me about his GCSE
studies and how he managed to forget about his Geography catch-up session. Perhaps his teacher should have invested in a box of chocolates...
Talking to my Welsh
Boys has cheered me up no end. Now I need to pass on the warm, fuzzy feeling to Mr B - by transforming the cooking apples into an apple crumble for our pudding. Food features high among Mr B’s pleasures in life. Though large, the apples are a little
battered-looking but I am not about to quibble as I wouldn’t like it if someone drew attention to my own, slightly battered, appearance. I keep the whole cooking process a secret from Mr B; he is watching Boris on TV while I am peeling, slicing, stewing
and crumbling in the kitchen. No, it’s fine, I survived...
“What’s for pudding?” I knew he would ask me that. I tell him to wait and see
as I bring empty bowls, spoons and a jug of cream to the table.
Ah, his face when he sees my apple crumble! The smile on his face is the broadest I’ve seen
all day. It was so very well worth surprising him. It’s the Importance of Small but Unexpected Gestures, don’t you see? I urge you to try it out for yourself.
If all else fails, then I can recommend an apple crumble...