I enjoy my morning walks along the reservoir with Jane, a fellow Brit and fellow mum with two kids at the same school as my son Theo. Jane and her husband Max are animators, but Jane has scaled back her work over the years to focus on her kids, as many professional women do. But although we do spend a good chunk of our walking time discussing the kids, their educational and emotional issues, we manage to cover quite a broad range of subjects on our walks, from aspects of life back in the UK, diseases, the digestive system and other medical topics (Jane is incredibly knowledgeable about things medical as her mum is a nurse and she herself had considered becoming a doctor). Today, for a change of pace, we mulled over the fundamental differences between ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Our kids are in different years at school, so Jane and I probably wouldn’t have met had she and her family not attended a special event for our school at the museum where my origami was being exhibited three years ago. However, we became close when she and her family were also forced to suddenly move out of their home where they had lived for the last 18 years, not because of a fire like us, but because they were evicted by a landlord who likely wanted more rent for the property. We had just moved a few months before and had left-over boxes, so I happily gave them to Jane and Max, who need lots of them after 18 years of living there and very little time to cull their belongings.
Today during our walk, the subject of my blog came up and I mentioned I’d like to give her something. She laughed and suggested that if I did it might get lost in all their stuff. So I promised to be really thoughtful about what I chose for her and resigned myself to taking more time over my choice. However, when I was pottering around in our garden this afternoon, I realized that she might like something for her garden, something useful that would make her garden feel more like home. We have an abundant supply of mint, which I’ve started pulling up and replanting in some of the extra pots that we have sitting around in the garden, so I texted her first and asked her if she had any mint in her garden yet. When she replied that she hadn’t got around to planting it yet, but was planning on keeping it contained in a pot, I rushed out into the garden and planted some for her in good-sized pot. When I dropped it off at her newish home, she took the pot, rubbed the mint between her fingers and held them up to her nose. “It smells just like my childhood garden,” she called out as she hugged the pot in her arms and carried it through the front door.