Letter # 7

For today's joke

to you all,

The origin of tea began, it is said, when Daruma, a Buddhist saint, irresponsibly fell asleep over his devotions, and, upon awakening, was so distraught that he cut off his eyelids and threw them to the ground where they took root and grew up as a bush, the leaves of which, when dried and infused in hot water, produced a beverage that would banish sleep.

It would take a lot more than the thought of cut-off eyelids to put me off my first hot cup of tea of the day taken by the window overlooking the river when it is shrouded in early-morning mist. A Chinese watercolour in motion! Last night was the longest night of the year which we spent, as so many nights before, sleeping in front of the fireplace which is the nicest possible thing to do. I can't image that somebody could go through life without ever having roasted chestnuts or prodded glowing coal or made dream pictures in flames or listened to the fire sounds - the crackling and the hissing and the sighing and strange whimpering of a knotted log - or just dozed off in front of a fire.

Winter at "Riverbend" is a time of hibernation, of introspection. Of watching videos, reading books, playing chess - a time for every purpose under heaven, according to Ecclesiastes. And of recuperation after two eye operations and some surgery for yet another melanoma. When I got the bill for the melanoma operation I knew what that doctor had been wearing his mask for!

I seem to remember a saying from my days in Greece, "Nothing worth knowing ever happens beyond the distance of a mule ride." On our occasional excursions we haven't gone much farther than Moruya to the south and Ulladulla in the north, both a comfortable mule ride away!

With best wishes from the Riverbend Quartet!
Peter & Padma & Malty & Rover
Saturday, 21 June 2003




My trip to Samoa   An Island to Oneself   Pigeon Island   Your holiday destination in Australia   Bougainville Island