The Snake and Scarf

IMG_1142 snake

During my last week-end away in Manly, it became blatantly clear I am not very fit. The person I spend the week-end with was so much fitter. Admittingly a few years younger but even so, being a male I ought to be at least as fit. I suppose, too much time on the iPhone and computer and with my dog Milo not getting any younger, he too easily now will just sit down and refuses to walk any further.ย  Of course he doesn’t have the iPhone to blame.

Coming back from Manly I was limping from the walk that my friend took me on. It was between Manly and Shelley Beach. A lovely week-end interspersed with a ferry ride to Circular Quaye, Sydney and a look at the Archibald exhibition at the Gallery of NSW.

I decided to try and lift my walking to at least 5kms a day. There is no better place than the Alexandra Lake a mere minute from my place in Mittagong.

The lake is populated by a large variety of birds in all shapes and sizes. Right now the ducks have ducklings and one can observe proud Mother ducks walking around with their brood while Dads keep a lookout for dogs who must be on leads at all time. There is also a large friendly snake oblivious to all the going on by walkers. I have been told that that snake is always there and people feed it little snacks, perhaps small frogs or house-rats, baby mice, rabbits etc. The photo above is of this friendly snake.

In between walking I will continue my knitting. Again here is a photo of my latest efforts. I now even know how to ‘cast off’. How many of you know how to cast off from the knitting needle when the garment is finished? It takes a bit of skill and practice!

IMG_1055

IMG_1144 scarf

Tomorrow last year it was Helvi’s last day on earth. A year has gone, and I miss her daily but I am also happy to have found that nature, walking, knitting, friendships and so much more have given me the pleasure in making life so worthwhile and I feel happy.

All the best, my dear friends,

Gerard

34 Responses to “The Snake and Scarf”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Thinking of you and your loss of dear Helvi. Sending virtual hugs. So you are in Mittagong now instead of Bowral. One day we will stop by and take you out to lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Peggy.
      I moved from Bowral to Mittagong about 6 months ago and am happier here. I have my own garden and no longer live in fear of the midnight sound of secateurs by someone going around cutting it all down.
      Look forward to having lunch with you and dear John. We could even meet at Goulburn?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Big M Says:

    I hadn’t twigged that it had been a year since dear Helvi had passed on. What a dreadful time for you both. I’m sure she would be very proud of you moving and adjusting almost all of your habits.It’s been a trying time for grieving families with so many restrictions. Glad you were able to get away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meindert Muller Says:

    To me it seems a homage to her the way you pick up life after Helvi passed away: making it a colourful scarf. Chapeau.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Meindert. Helvi was a great knitter and also crocheted.
      At primary school she was known as a champion knitter with her friends claiming, ‘Helvi is able to make garments using matchsticks for needles if necessary’.

      For many years I watched Helvi knitting.
      So many memories now, including unravelling old jumpers and Helvi re-knitting the wool to make something out of it again.

      You hit the nail on the head which I had not thought about. I am sure Helvi would be happy me taking up knitting.

      Like

  4. Curt Mekemson Says:

    So glad to hear you have found a bit of happiness, Gerard. Friends, walking and knitting sound like they have served you well. Looks like the snake has a great location, given that people feed it. Why move? ๐Ÿ™‚ Also enjoyed that you listed the lake. It gave me a chance to check out your neighborhood on Google. โ€“Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. Never a dull moment. Yes, Lake Alexandra has a bit of history and it can be traced by a good bush walk taking it to an open coal mine, a rail line and a waterfall.
      Knitting is a great activity. It is so becalming and peaceful. How the world would be different if only Trump would have taken up knitting. His mother no doubt might have been a knitter. Who knows?

      Like

  5. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve heard of ducks and squirrels and alligators who become accustomed to people, and grow friendly, but the snake is a new one. It looks rather placid, I’ll grant you that.

    You look quite handsome in your scarf, Gerard. It’s great that you can make your own haute couture these days. I know Helvi would be impressed — not only with the scarf, but also with what it says about your ability to adapt to an entirely new world.

    Good for you, getting out there and walking a bit more. Everything I’ve read of late suggests that walking is just as good as running or jogging, and in truth, better for the knees and hips. Carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. The snake is a curious creature and they can be made friendly and become a pet. A friend of my late daughter used to go round the local cafes with a pet python draped around his neck, like a scarf! The patrons were always keen to keep distance.

      I never took to carrying it around my neck but my grandsons were only too keen to take over carrying the snake. They looked round to see if any of their friends would walk by and notice. The snake would blink its beady eyes and was totally friendly and passive.
      A local man here walks around with a very friendly parrot on his shoulder. Quite a sight too.

      Yes, Helvi would smile if she now saw me knitting and she would be very pleased with walking as well. We both always tried to get a walk in each day. It is great to combine both and so much better than watching TV which, apart from the Swedish Wallander crime series, I now hardly ever watch.

      Carry on indeed. Thank you ,Linda

      Liked by 1 person

  6. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    Helvi would be very impressed with the way you have picked up the pieces of your life and carried on, Gerard. I think more walking would be a very good thing to do as it seems it is good for the mind as well as the body.
    Iโ€™m glad you had a nice weekend in Sydney. We havenโ€™t been getting down there as much as we used to in recent times, for obvious reasons, but weโ€™re looking forward to visiting again and doing some of the scenic walks that are available around the harbour. That walk from Manly to Shelley Beach is very pretty. Iโ€™m not sure about the โ€˜pleasureโ€™ of coming across a snake though, friendly or not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Jane,
      Yes, Manly was magic and the ferry ride to Circular Quay and back a heaven. All for $2.50 senior concession. We walked to the NSW Art Gallery and back. Quite a distance and my RM Williams shoes totally unfit for long walks. I have since bought proper walking shoes.

      Walking to Shelley beach and back I was struck by how many people were jogging, running and cycling. The most gorgeous perfect bodies all in Lycra or black tights made my eyes water.

      The snake seems to still be in hibernation and stays in the same place each day, just sleeping or digesting a little rat or bird. Who knows?

      My garden is now also taking off and changes occur daily which is another exciting pastime. The garden is now getting rain as never before. It just keeps on coming. I duck out when the showers ease off.

      Like

  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Aw. That first “anniversary” of the death of a beloved one can be so difficult. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    Thoughts and โค are with you. Bask in the lovely memories of beautiful Helvi! I think she would be SO happy with the way you have lived your life this past year. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Keep walking, knitting, enjoying family and friends, cooking, enjoying nature, adventures with Milo, writing, blogging, ETC! ๐Ÿ™‚
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS…your title made me wonder if the snake was wearing a scarf! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€
    Your knitting creations are beautiful! You look very handsome in your scarf! ๐Ÿ™‚
    PATS and RUBS to Milo!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carolyn. Helvi was beautiful and she gave me so much more than I gave her.
      It would have been nice to have had a few more years, but it was not to be.
      Yes, I am now busy and so happy to have discovered knitting. I have 4 different sets of needles as the yarn I buy often comes with different thicknesses. Do you knit at all?

      Casting off was a bit tricky and I had to ask a few times for a friend to show me it. And then there is knitting and purling. I have yet to discover the delights of purling whatever that is.
      It’s an endless adventure.

      Pats to you and rubs to Cooper. xxx

      If only Trump would take up knitting! He would be a changed man and the world might well forgive him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        I’ve done cross-stitch, creweling, needlepoint, etc, but I never learned to knit.
        My daughter and my DIL both knit and crochet. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I stand in awe, Carolyn. Great that your family are knitters. There are ‘man sheds’ in Australia. It has been set-up to alleviate the isolated male from loneliness and make him more sociable and approachable.
        I wonder if knitting could be introduced to those man-sheds?

        Like

  8. Robert Parker Says:

    The scarf is looking good! I lack the “fine motor skills” to do that sort of thing, good for you for learning all this. One of my cousins has a ball python, that’s very friendly, and likes to be carried around. I’m not sure if he’s ever seen it in a ball, because he avoids having it startled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Ball pythons are illegal in Australia as are reptiles not native to Australia. However there are over twenty native pythons in Australia which can be kept as pets and are bought in pet shops. They generally don’t wear scarfs or beanies.

      One does need to be licensed though. They are not cheap to keep. Frozen rats, mice and small rodents are its preferred diet but can be bought in large numbers and kept in the fridge together with your cheese, milk and mince.

      They don’t have human emotions for love and affection but do get used to familiar people around.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. freefall852 Says:

    ” I dreamt that time was in reverse,
    And never came that ending triste.
    I hold you still, in night’s embrace,
    And never came that ending kiss,
    And never quenched, that loving fire,
    So very near to my heart’s desire.”

    I never met Helvi, Gerard..except in a blogging sense..but strangely, I miss her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      She was very popular, Jo, and I have never known Helvi to have enemies. However, she once told the neighbour off at our previous address. She told him the truth. He turned pale and walked back home, a shadow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Yes, Helvi was good to have “on side” when I was blogging…she wouldn’t take any nonsense and could, with just a few well-chosen words, cut like a school-teacher’s admonish…indeed was John Donne correct…..”. . . for whom the bell tolls…”

        Like

  10. Dora Says:

    Yes Gerard time goes fast. Good to see you enjoying life again and the scarfs are great.
    Helvi would be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      On my third scarf and have overcome the plight of ‘casting off’. I must be lacking in knitting talents and had t be shown three times before I managed to do it successfully. I was so embarrassed to go back to the same female friend to ask again how to ‘cast off ‘. She is so kind and patient.

      Like

  11. rangewriter Says:

    Oh my. It’s been a year! Already (I say). I’m sure this year did not speed by for you, although you did pack a lot into it. You’ve set yourself a good goal for the coming year. Walking more will be very good for you. You may have to rig up a little buggy affair for the times when Milo’s elderly and short legs give out. A Milo Carriage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there are a few dogs that get around in little prams or trolleys. Today for the second time I walked the 5km and felt terrific, There are lots of friendly people, mainly women who walk around lake Alexandra here in Mittagong. They smile and sometimes greet and stop to have a chat. I now wonder if I could ask them about knitting. I might have to think about that and on how to broach this.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Dani Says:

    Iโ€™m sorry to hear you lost your love, Gerard. Grief is such an uncanny thing: 2 steps forward and four back. Then forward, once again. I hope that light and love surround you and that Helviโ€™s looking down and admiring you, your courage, and that lovely scarf of yours โญ๏ธ

    Like

  13. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    It seems you have an angel at your side guiding your hand with your new skill ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your scarf. I hope your walking is going well it’s good that you are keeping a positive outlook. Stay safe and well ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

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