Where do elephants go to die?

He held it up to the light, squinting and turning it slowly to study its detail, being very careful not to let it drop.  A superb piece, he thought.

The socks fit well. Knee-high, not ankle length as he had supposed when he bought them.  How can you possibly try socks before you buy them? It’s a crap shoot.  But they work!  When anything works, it’s good, doesn’t matter what.  He couldn’t stand things that didn’t work. Clocks, socks, whatever.

After only two mandarin oranges for breakfast there was an uncharacteristic sense of nimbleness.  The pants fit better around the waist. Pecan pie is off the list! And Nutella! Sugar, sugar, sugar…How long will this conviction last? Even the fatty oil of real peanut butter was turning out to be bad news. But the Abbott granola was still on the list, a rational accommodation.

The car was ready, clean enough from yesterday’s ritual wash. The mats were clean too.  One day soon he’d bring a wet rag from the apartment to wipe the scuff marks left by the rear-seat passengers. But for the time being it was fine.

The apartment was up to scratch, too.  Only the best things, stuff that for the most part is easy to maintain, no polishing.  The Persian rugs and the oil paintings and the mahogany and dark green leather furnishings sustained the place. And the copper lamps with their black shades, bits of bronze, crystal and ceramic sculpture.  Booze, good booze, was stored on the library shelves and in the wine cabinet, jewel-coloured treasures.

Sunday brunch at the edge of the River by the sprawling lawn. Cozy old red brick farmhouse reminiscent of a scene from The Two Fat Ladies.  The latest news of children and grandchild; travels; and health (always including arthritis). Had no one eaten before arriving?  The plates were emptied in a flash!  Yes, bicycling earlier in the morning, that explains the appetite.

A late afternoon visit with mother.  Inadvertently sharing a story which required some explanation. “I didn’t know you had those troubles”, she said.  “There’s lots you don’t know” was the reply.  A nasty bit of intelligence for an old woman.  “There are many things people don’t know about one another”, added by way of palliative.

The evening meal with a hint of rosemary on the potatoes.  Transported to the mountain top in Sardinia, early morning collection from the hedge outside the kitchen door of fragrant rosemary shards to sprinkle on the thick white bread fried in pungent olive oil.