About three years ago, I decided the Badger and I needed a new kingsize winter duvet, 13.5 tog to be warm and snuggly in the snowy weather. I went hunting on eBay, and sure enough I found one at a very low price indeed and duly bought it. How happy I was to have exercised frugality in this way and made a purchase, not from a big store that would ultimately impoverish the local economy to fill the coffers of powerful people far away, but a small independent UK trader working from home.
The duvet arrived, still new and sealed in its packaging, 13.5 tog. I unwrapped it, and only then in preparing to put it in the duvet cover and settle it on the bed did I espy the label stitched into the side of the duvet: 10.0 tog. Oh.
It had been sent me in good faith, by a trader who had evidently been pleased to get hold of a job lot of duvets, not realising why they were so cheap. I wrote to her; she, mortified and full of apologies, offered to refund my money. But I said it was OK – 10.0 tog would do. And in our centrally heated house in Aylesbury with a long radiator right by the bed, all was fine.
Then we moved down to Hastings and took up residence in our garret, which (at our own request) has no central heating; we like to experience the seasons, and central heating dries out my eyes and nose and all my skin. In the summer, the garret gets mighty hot and we open the great skylight windows to let in the breezes from the sea. But in the winter it gets ffrrrreezing! Last winter we piled on three blankets, wore our socks, added a couple of hot water bottles and clung to each other, and we were OK.
My mother has recently moved to live in a village just five miles away from us, downsizing a third time – from a big country house to a medium town house to a small town house and now to a small apartment. Careful and thrifty like all her generation, there have been things she has hesitated to get rid of, and a week or so back she did another winnow of stored possessions. She managed to find new homes for everything that came out of the boxes – except for a kingsize 13.5 tog quilt: had we any use for it? Oh, well – as it happens . . .
So the quilt came home with us, just as the cold weather is returning and nights with the 10.0 tog had begun to feel a little challenging. How wonderful!
But with the journey into autumn have come rain, mist, cold, fog and drizzle. And we are in process of a massive re-think of the garden – everywhere is mud and plants dug up and trellis/fences/rose-arches/posts/trees/etc half in and unfinished. So the washing line is out of commission and even if it were not the idea of trying to dry anything in this weather is merely laughable. So there is a huge pile of laundry in our bedroom because the indoor drying space is already in use by someone else. I have three sets of pyjamas and now two are in the wash and if I don’t overcome the laundry conundrum I shall be chilly at night indeed. So this was not the best evening to change the bedding and add a second pile of laundry to the one we already had.
In addition to the clothes and the bedding needing washing, the 10.0 tog kingsize quilt will have to be washed and dried before it can go into store for use next summer. This means it will have to go to the laundrette, as our washing machine is too small for it, we have no drier, and it will never dry out of doors in this weather. But the laundrette requires pound coins (of which I have none), and because we need to use the extra big washing machine it will need an extra lot of pound coins – probably about eight in all to get the quilt washed and dried. The Badger has some in his loose change pot, but only about three, cos I checked.
I have given away my car now, and a kingsize quilt is a mighty big thing to lug ¾ of a mile down the road to the laundrette. And back.
All of which goes to show that in the ending of every story a new story begins. Every resolution carries an embryonic challenge. Heaven and Hell belong to one another. Every situation turns into its opposite. The lily is in the compost and the compost is in the lily. There is no case for complacency and no need to worry.
This is the second time in only a few days that life has reached over my shoulder to direct my attention to the Endless Knot.
I think I can afford to relax. Surely the lesson is that in solving this one the triumph I achieve will bear the seeds of the next moment’s downfall. Energy moves in circles. The secret is to stop thinking about destinations and concentrate instead upon the journey. Namaste.