06 December 2017

winter comforts


Let's face it, visiting someone in hospital in December was never likely to be a delight, but I've found that if you open your mind it us  perfectly possible to find some lightness in the labyrinth that is a modern hospital. Not a day goes by without having at least one conversation and a shared smile about the enigmatic system required to call a lift and the act of faith that it will in fact deliver you to the right floor, or the ironic notice suggesting that using the stairs would be good for your health without any indication of where you might find a staircase. I've yet to solve that one. What is apparent though is the desire of everyone to make the journey through illness as gentle as possible. The hyper-alert doctors - so young, so thin - manage everything from a difficult conversation about resuscitation to finding just the right vein for taking yet another blood sample with understated expertise. The keenness of the staff to decorate the kafkaesque labyrinth of corridors (where exactly am I?) with gaudy tinsel and trees and chubby paper snowmen is above admirable. I am in awe.

And so the search for extra comforts turns to the everyday, the repetition of the known and familiar. Walking home along the Mile End Road I stop at one of the fruit and veg stalls set up outside a shop and buy a bowl of bright clementines. I cheer up at the sight of the neon lights of the local independent cinema which also makes the very best decaf latte in the Burg, marvel at the width of the road and imagine the drovers driving their sheep from the eastern counties towards Aldgate and beyond. When I arrive home all I want is toast with, ooh, how about some marmalade from the cellar ('Whole Orange Marmalade, January 2012' it says) and a giant cup of fat cocoa. Just for a change.




To finish off this feast, I open the bag of clementines and discover that the man has muddled my bag with one meant for another customer. Inside there are four luminous persimmons. I've never eaten a persimmon before. I pick one up and it feels dense, ripe, a gift I was meant to have to brighten a cold winter's day.

It is, it was,  a most unexpected delight.





4 comments:

Val said...

A lovely gently thought provoking post..it is the small interactions and observations, shared irony and amusement that often make a life enjoyable..Now I'm wondering where the stairs are and what does a persimmon taste like?

Gina said...

If ever there was a post about finding the small pleasures in life, this was it. Delight around every corner.

materfamilias said...

What a delightful post -- and to end with the charming and colourful surprise of those persimmons. My mom had a tree in her last ten or so years, and she loved to show off the crop, such a wealth of smell and taste and visual beauty. . .

Liz said...

I always feel as if I'm entering another dimension when I visit a hospital (the local one here has 'routes' of various colours to follow with a branch of M&S at one junction) so it's good to hear you're finding some chinks of normality. Hope you're enjoying your persimmons (I've read somewhere that the flavour intensifies if you dry them). Best wishes to your mum.