The sun was already half way up the window when I woke. My bedroom faces due east into the fields. At night, it is pitch black and I can see the stars strewn across the heavens. This time of year, it is still dark when I rise. But not today. The alarms were off and I woke  late to sunlight.

As I sipped a leisurely coffee, I planned my day. Catch up online over the second coffee…walk through the fields with Ani, do my bit of housework then I’d cut the grass and clean the windows. I’ve already cooked up a curry big enough to last me several days. I do the dishes as I go, though if I washed up once a week there wouldn’t be a sink full.  I could do some laundry…but these days there isn’t much.

Not what you would call a leisurely day, but with no obligation to do any of it, the chores are not chores but choices.

By the time I was ready to begin, the blue sky and sunshine had vanished, being replaced with a determined downpour. No laundry, window cleaning or grass-cutting today then. I can accept that with perfect equinamity. I can have another coffee instead.

The only thing I actually need to do today is change a couple of buckets of water for the fish and vacuum the aquarium. And that could wait another day or so. Frankly, apart from walking the dog and caring for the fish, who cares but me whether the jobs get done? Not even Ani, who has curled up with the same determination as the rain. She stares accusingly at the streaks on the window and seems reluctant to move. I can wait… there is no rush.


The young lady in the flat upstairs, however, is diving around with the hoover, banging around moving furniture to dust and is on her second load of laundry. As my flat is beneath hers, I always know when the washing machine goes on. And it does so every day. Usually twice. I used to do the laundry daily too… often twice… but with a large household of multiple male teenagers and dogs, it was the only way to keep up.

This is what worries me about my neighbour…

You can say it is none of my business, and that is quite true, aside from the small, daily thunderstorm of vibrations from above. I certainly have no problem with the young lady being a good housekeeper. I just cannot understand where she finds that volume of laundry in a little one-bedroomed flat.

Then I got to wondering how different I am from the young lady upstairs. How often do I make work for myself, make ridiculous demands on my time and energy just because… well, why? Because I ‘should’, ‘ought to’, ‘always have’…? Because it is ‘wrong’ somehow to just sit and breathe?

Just sitting and breathing is a pretty good way to spend your time. After all, each breath lasts a second or two and is forever gone. It is one less breath from the total of those you will ever take…you cannot go back and take that breath again, get it right or pay attention to it once it is over.

I opened the doors to the garden and, curled up on the rug, watched the raindrops fall.


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