Thursday 5th October
In the expansive shrinking, it's good to keep the eyes peeled and wear warm clothing.
A few weeks ago my car sprung a leak. The petrol tank. I phoned the dealer - Â£900 just for the tank and work to replace it. Not even including the MOT work.
Once I regained the power of speech I told my chum, who told her bidey-in, who said, "They just don't want to do the work, let Stuart have a look at it".
The benefits of having a bidey-in. They know stuff like that.
Stuart, owns a country garage. In 1952, his father cycled out Alford way from the estate where he worked and bought the house and small bit land around it. The family have been there ever since. Probably with the same dining table, same lamp shades, same couches and an ancient radio in the corner. All brown as an old oil painting. They are not the IKEA target market. They are happy, you see. They don't need to change their sofa every ten minutes to see if it helps.
So I dripped the car out to the countryside, and followed bidey-in up lanes and down dells to the most inaccessible garage in the world. Tibet has more easily found garages. If they have garages at all.
Stuart is exactly as I knew he would be. Country family year in year out. Food cooked from scratch and from the garden. No ready made or jars of sauce here. Garlic? Perish the thought.
Rosy cheeks, not a wrinkle on them, smiles easily, talks slowly, looks you in the eye. Still working until 9pm, coz he loves it. And can't stand to be idle. His son, young Stuart, and that's how he answers the phone, came back from University, degree in hand, and chose to carry on working with his dad. Happiness.
He has sussed me up and down and then says, "What was it, Â£900?
People in the country tell each other everything.
Especially stuff that's not their news to tell.
I nod feeling more and more like a patsy but all the while hoping he'll take pity on me and not charge a third of that.
"They just didn't want to do the work, he says, shaking his head.
I need to find myself a husband so I know stuff like that. I was for driving the car to the scrapheap.
So I stayed overnight at the bumpkins, where I can't sleep coz it's so black the stars shine like headlamps in the curtainless window and I feel like a child on Christmas Eve, like I can feel the world spin, that I'm dancing with the whole Universe in my wee freezing corner of the globe. Something wonderful is going to happen.
It's the other side of groundlessness.
The other side of the void.
Those feelings of truly being in the world. Stars shining down on us. Good friends to rely on.
It's gratitude. It's the path to peace of mind.
They've had the car for a few weeks, which I haven't missed, apart from a monthly notion for sausage, egg and chips down the beach. Better for my health in so many ways.
When I had diagnosed the scrapheap, am still smarting, the Universe danced towards me with a big 'well let's just look at what that means.' And multiple shrinking adventures expanded before me as the Universe heard me choose to be bold, and Providence did the 'here you go' jig.
M last big shop supermarket trip in the car and Radio 4 had some comedian deciding to give up his car, but his wife wouldn't go along with it. Do they not realise that supermarkets deliver big shops now for people with children or who live far away. All he did was complain about how much less shopping he could get (9 toilet rolls not 18). What ARE they eating?!
I do think that if we all gave up our cars, the big supermarkets would go out of business.
A few months ago I had decided to not only save money, but to stop being wasteful, to walk to the supermarket, to buy less and plan what I need, DVDs not included.
Mostly I wanted to get out of the house and see human beings while getting some exercise, not having two flights of stairs to climb twice a day I was worried that home working could come to mean housebound.
Going small, you pretty soon stop spending on all the crap you don't need. You cut down, you shrink what you buy and expand not only your purse, but variety in your diet. Some thought goes into exactly what you want to lug back on Shank's pony. Lettuce or spinach, not both and throwing out half of each coz it's too much for one person. You find smaller more local supermarkets, where the pensioners go, and if you want to find a bargain follow a pensioner to where they shop, where you can save a fortune. Somerfield organic chicken Â£4. Same one in Tesco Â£9. No wonder they made a billion - in just one half of the year!!!! Obscene.
All sorts of synapses are stimulated and new things come to you when walking.
Today, as I walked to the post office, to return the non-fleecy trews, a quince bush pulsing honey-toned scent out to all who cared to pass it, stopped me in my tracks. The variety of birds in the middle of Aberdeen. The amount of trees there are, and conkers - huge this year. You miss half the sensuality on the planet sitting in a car. The hydrangeas are particularly stunning this year. I used to think of them as old lady plants, but they are so beautifully sculptural and colourful, I have come to appreciate them. Like many things in life I used to think were old hat.
As long as I don't start wearing an old hat and heading for the pic'n'mix just yet¦
The adventure there can be when a post office is closed 'due to illness'. I get so much more done and quicker when I walk and am out in the world. In the car the parcel might have lain for weeks and missed the return date. Not now. I carried on, with my goal in mind, to the next post office. Had I been in the car I'd have had a paddy at a wasted journey, but the notion of the circular walk in the bright Autumn day passing the another post office on the way home just offered more steps towards my 10,000. Forgot to put the thingy on right enough so I don't know for sure. Good excuse to do it again. Pretty soon I'll have Aberdeen measured out in steps.
Full of honey scent and birdsong.
Parcel returned, I came home and decided to write to the fleecy trews folk, don't they have any old stock? Home page of their website, not only do they have them, they are half price. Bought two. Providence jigging. I do love it when a plan comes together.
The council have been redoing the pavements over the Summer. And several large and glorious chestnut trees were removed. I felt it like a pain when I saw it in the early summer, they must have been over 100 years old.
They have left the younger ones and planted new ones with tall cages of wire around them to protect them until they establish themselves. Someone had guerrilla planted sweet peas around the cages which are still flowering purples for all to see.
It's not all bad.
Making up your 10,000 steps.