He had a lot of stamps, which are still valid, but they need to be added up to reach the required amount. and their glue is not long lasting, so that the Post Office must groan when it sees me approaching with a parcel. They had to stamp 15 $1 stamps, and then try to glue them to the parcel, and finally had to use sticky tape on them.
Thus it took quite a long time before I was able to unpack and put everything away, check the mail, put the rubbish bins out, reluctantly discarding the basil, intended for pesto, which is more than a week old. I had sushi for dinner instead.
And some wine.
It always takes a while to unpack, and tomorrow I must be out of the house early. While in Melbourne I searched for a house-warming present for friends who have sold their lovely large house, and moved to an apartment, necessitating the disposal and discarding of quite a lot of their belongings. I wanted to give them a house-warming present, but if you have had to dispose of many precious possessions, it is likely that you don't want to start accumulating more. So I have bought them some soap and some notepaper, which are definitely for consumption rather than retention, and thus they seem a good choice.
My sisters and I met for breakfast on the Saturday morning, and had a good time. I spent the rest of the day with my youngest sister and then we went to the birthday girl's apartment, to deliver food, and had our faces made up by one of our many nieces. I have never had my face made up before, and fortunately my niece agreed that black eyeshadow would not be a good idea for me.
The 60th birthday party was a great success, marred slightly by the speech made by one of my sister's old friends, which concentrated unduly of her rather wild youth instead of her remarkable achievements and qualities of character. The birthday sister is a generous, giving and caring person, prone to high jinks, and has had to face - like so many of us - various vicissitudes in life. Our mother died of cancer when the two youngest children were only 15 and 19, and this sorrow was not easy to bear. Nor was my father's remarriage, a couple of years later, easy for the younger children. I often observe that men do not like to be alone!
Along with her children and her friends, my youngest sister and I spoke about our sister at the party. Each of us had different perspectives and emphases, which probably revealed to all the gathering the characteristics and complexities of this woman we love so dearly. Having married young, myself, and moved away from the city of my birth, I have been apart from the life of the family which stayed put. While I am at a distance, it is good to remain a part and to nourish and foster those strong family links. Although it is mostly the sisters who do so - somehow the two brothers remain apart.