When growing up, I’d leave my city home every summer to spend the school holidays in the countryside with my Nan and Pop. Nothing much happened in the little town where they lived, and so time passed slowly, punctuated by the small rituals of their daily routines.

Hot hazy days were filled with simple practices that, for the most part, revolved around caring for home and family. For Pop that meant tending the vegetable garden and ‘keep his grass down’. For Nan it was time spent at her old Singer sewing machine and cooking in the kitchen. Hours went by watching Nan sew my Barbie doll’s new wardrobe or pottering around the kitchen, stewing peaches that fell from her peach tree and brewing jams and marmalades that she’d later offer as gifts to relatives on ‘visiting’ days

Although legend has it she was no gourmet, I relished observing how Nan did things in the kitchen and in turn, her teaching me how things were done. If it’s true that one’s passions are handed down through those who are passionate, then I know where my love of life (and stewed peaches and jam!) was first nurtured. ‘The only true gift is a portion of thyself’ said American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and I believe it is the precious objects of time given to you by others that makes up the sum of who you are. And although all the time in the world has not turned me into the sewing expert she once was, I do fancy myself as a bit of a gourmet in the kitchen. Or so legend has it, that is!

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