Today started very early at 4.32am when I woke up to cooking smells from the kitchen just across the hallway. It is the second time this has happened. I’m just amazed that anyone feels the need to be up quite that early, let alone eating, as none of us has to be on a bus before 8am. I tried to turn over and go back to sleep, but for me that is just not usually possible, and this morning was no different. So at 5.30 I gave up and turned on the light and made myself a cup of tea and turned on the TV news.
By 7am I was out the door for my walk. Unfortunately the overnight temp had not cooled to the predicted low of 18C but was a humid 21C so I began perspiring pretty soon into the walk. I took my phone again this morning so that I could take a few more photos of things in the gardens that are so lovely. It is sometimes the only creative thing I get to do in a day, snap a few photos, but it is enough.
When I returned I made myself some blueberries, walnuts, honey and cottage cheese for breakfast (don’t ask!) and then topped it off with a buckwheat pancake leftover from yesterday to see if it would keep me from getting the ‘wobblies’ that I have had about 11am each morning this week. (it did help a bit) When I went into the kitchen to use the microwave to heat my pancake, there was a bag of groceries on the counter top, and I could feel heat from a burner on the stove, but there was NO one around. I reached over and turned off the stove, and heated my pancake in the microwave and left.
A while later I took my dishes to the kitchen to wash them and was startled to see a pan with four eggs frying in bacon fat, popping and spitting all over the floor and the stove, and NO one in the kitchen minding it!! I went ahead washing out my bowl and kept watching the pan, thinking surely someone would come and tend to it. The eggs started to burn and then to smoke and it looked only seconds away from a grease fire so I grabbed the pan from the burner and put it far enough away that the splattering fat wouldn’t land on the still hot burner, and I turned off the burner. After a couple of minutes a large aboriginal man (I am staying in the women’s wing!!) came in to remove the pan but could see it had been done. I said to him “she shouldn’t leave things cooking on the stove like that.” “Oh, sorry miss, it was my mum”. “She still shouldn’t leave things on the stove cooking like that”. He disappeared and a minute or so later ‘mum’ appeared grumbling about burning her eggs!!
I was shaken and not sure what to do. I still don’t know why it didn’t set off the smoke alarm as acrid smoke was evidence of something amiss and my room smelled of it as well, being just across the hall. After a few minutes I heard lots of commotion in the kitchen, pots and pans clanging and doors opening and closing. Not particularly wanting a confrontation with anyone, I decided to ring the front desk and make sure they knew what had happened, as this was the third time I had gone into the kitchen and either found something cooking, with no one around, or found a burner turned on the stove and no one there to use it. Also there was the issue that had developed in the last week of someone leaving their dirty dishes and frying pan in the sink so that no one else could use them unless they cleaned it first.
The night manager was still on duty and she assured me she knew what was going on and had sent the woman back to clean up the mess she had made, and told her if it happened again they would have to leave! She also spoke with the others on the wing and told them they must clean up their dirty dishes and pans or they would have to leave. Things in the kitchen had been extremely clean and in good order the first three weeks I was here, but just in the last week since the new mob moved in, it had deteriorated. So now we will see if things improve. It was a stressful way to start the day. I confess to being uneasy about sleeping across from the kitchen just now, but they have no spare room in which to put me.
Fortunately, things improved as the morning progressed and the morning bus was early, so no stress there. Oncology was running a bit behind but it is a relaxed environment so it was fine. Afterward I got my usual nice little coffee from the hospital kiosk and then took a taxi to my friend Gaye’s new home that she moved into yesterday! I was her first guest and it was so good to see her finally moved in as she has been so excited about it. For me it was so gratifying to see her getting something she so richly deserves, a nice place by the sea. We visited as she finished unpacking a box and then we headed off to have a delicious fish and chips lunch followed by what has to be the best iced coffee in the world! And after that she took me to Parap Fine Foods and there, gleaming in the light of the freezer was loaf after loaf of GLUTEN FREE bread!! And there in the deli was treat after treat of GLUTEN FREE delights! Another joy filled afternoon. Peace out.
POST SCRIPT: They have given me a new room and am packing up and moving, after another cooking incident. Whew.
(the photo is taken just a few metres up the street from Barbara James House)