This last week has been spent nursing a well earned cold. My dad used to shout, “close the door”, over and over again, often to no avail. As kids we never did, as cold wasn’t something we felt. In fact we were always warm and running. Dad was the keeper of our warmth in winter and felt it his duty to keep living areas warm. He was the stoker of fires. It is strange how men are drawn to fire much more than women. In the period between post WW2 and pre our migration period, heating by dad was done with the help of coal in ornately decorated cast iron combustion heaters. The coal was taken up two flights of stairs in jute bags carried on the back of strong Dutch coal carriers. Mum used to put drop- sheets down from the bottom of the stairs all the way to the top and leading through a corridor to the back balcony were the coal was dumped in a small coal shed. The jute bags would be taken back empty. It was one of those yearly events in early autumn for the coming winter. My mother’s job would be to make the amount of coal last as heating was expensive. A severe winter was never welcome.
These were some of my limpid flu inspired thoughts trying to make the best of the situation as well as having two of our grandchildren for a couple of days giving their mum a break. She had to work and school holidays are not easy on working mums. Both grandsons have a father born in Australia but from Croatian background. No need to dwell on its history but most will agree that the eating of chevatis always played a big role not just with Croatia but also Serbia and surrounding States, that vacillated between bloody endless wars with each other, yet never forgetting that sharing the cevaps also held promise of peace between neighbours. With that in mind and a promised barbeque made inescapable by gloriously warm weather I made my way to Woollies with grandsons hopping behind and around me, busy on IPhonic mania of which I have long given into and surrendered.
I love the Super market’s somewhat hidden counter proudly displaying the items ‘close to out of date’ and spotted a packet of twelve cevaps for just $ 5.75 reduced from $7.85 and still two days left till being be a bit off or rotten. I bought them quickly and after buying a loaf of white sandwich bread rushed home. The kids were ravenous and probably ready to eat anything irrespective of any dates. The rugged Croatian blood line and the frugal Dutch a perfect combination. I pointed out to grandsons that we should be so happy to have rescued those almost out of date cevaps from getting thrown out. Many in this world go hungry, why waste food at all?
Thomas looked a bit serious after that little sermon. He could well end up telling his mum to go and loiter around the ‘out of date’ food items, which might be a good thing apart from saving money. I lit the barbeque and all twelve but one of the cevaps were packet between the white bread and eaten quickly. My flu symptoms were pushed in the background by the show of grandsons concentrated enthusiasm for their, no doubt inherited love, for the Croatian cevaps. It was a joy to watch. Next morning it was always going to be pancakes. I mentioned many posts ago about having an inscription; ‘Here rests a good Opa, he made very fine pan-cakes and loved bargains.’ For those that wondered about the twelfth cevaps, that was given to Milo.