The first two ads were for a brass bath caddy (R200) and a candle stick holder with three flowers in fancy glass (R200). Both were purchased at the Grahamstown festival and fitted with the settler cottage I had there. I love them, but, in my mother’s house, space is an issue, what with all the dolls and teddy bears she makes. The third item was for porcelain doll making equipment with kiln (R250), which my mother purchased four years ago but never got around to using. The latter required the building of a Wendy House on non-existent space in our garden.
Got three responses for the equipment: ‘How large is the kiln?’; ‘How large are the dolls?’ And ‘I’d like it, when can I come to fetch it?’ I gave my address and it turns out the buyer lives literally in the street next to ours – if I stand on my stoep, I can see it!!! She arrived with husband and kombi and explained she was not interested in the dolls, just the kiln as she makes glass jewellery. Not hearing this, my mother told her she could have all her doll magazines (at least 100 of them) for free and if she wanted clothes for the dolls, she’d make those for free, as well.
‘Go fetch the magazines,’ she told me and I obliged by collecting them from the boot of her car which had been moved out of the garage so the buyers could get a good look at the equipment. More miscommunication followed and when they'd paid and left, I explained to my mother about the glass jewellery.
‘But there’s a problem with the kiln,’ she says and my heart drops. Thank God she hadn’t said that in their presence.
‘That’s not our problem, now, is it?’ I say and gather my PC and prepare to leave for my daily writing session, not wanting to linger or get into a discussion about voetstoots etc. When I go to move my mother’s car back into the garage, the key gets stuck in the ignition and the car won’t start. There goes the R250, I say, thinking that I’d need a technician to get the thing working. After many tries and my frustration mounting, I’ve already sacrificed two hours of writing time to get the doll-equipment sold, I realise I’m using the WRONG key. I have the key for MY CAR in my MOTHER’S ignition! And the thing won’t budge. We both drive Honda’s.
More wriggling ensues and, eventually, the car starts! I drive it into the garage, manage to get the engine to stop and try to get the key out again. No luck.
I search frantically for my spare keys that are no-where to be found. Phone your brother in law, my mother says and starts watching TV. Won’t you please phone him? I ask. She does so in a huff, not understanding why I’m asking so much of her. My sister answers and says he’s busy working on their roof so can’t come now.
I have a flash thought and take a tin of Q20, a magic spray I’d purchased when our house filled with smoke and I’d thought the problem was a dirty chimney. After paying a chimney sweep and the problem persisting, I got my gardener to get on the roof and spray the ‘metal cock thing’ that sits on top of the chimney. Can’t remember it’s name, now. The Q20 did its magic again and I dislodge my car key and drive off.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I realise I’ve left my cigarettes at home!
I got some writing done but not much – I wasn’t in a good mood.