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Australia February 9, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I woke up this morning to the BBC’s coverage of the fires in Australia. Nasty stuff. When I got up, I quickly reviewed the geography: Where is Mrs. S in relation to the fires? Where is Mali vacationing? I also checked Mrs. S’s blog. Looks like Mali’s home already, and Mrs. S is sweltering, but not on fire.

Australia has been on my mind a good bit because of Mrs. S and some Mrs. S–related tasks that I keep transferring from one day’s list to the next. One of them was a recent request: Could I send the copy of his sweetheart Kate Cole-Adam’s novel, Walking to the Moon, to their good friend Fran, recently moved to California?

Kate’s novel, so far, isn’t readily available on this continent, and when I checked into ordering it from Australia, the cost with shipping was mighty high. I decided to wait it out. Meanwhile, Helen had a friend in Australia who happily sent her the book. Helen offered to send it to me when she was done. (Oh, I love my little blog world!)

Helen read it, then loaned it to Maureen, who got it back to Helen, who read it once more and sent it to me. What with reading all day as my job, it takes me forever to (a) get to a book and (b) get through a book (at approximately 10–20 minutes per night before lights out). But I read the book, I loved it, and in fact had dreams of reading it again, all in one piece, in big chunks of time by a lake somewhere. Ah, fantasy.

Then the message from Mrs. S. Could I send it to Fran?

The selfish part of Indigo, of course, wanted to keep this souvenir, a symbol of my cyberfriends in Australia and Canada. I wanted to hold onto the someday-reading-it-by-the-lake fantasy. But I also know that this North American copy, so lovingly obtained by Helen, needed to travel and bring joy to yet another.

I mailed it this morning, priority mail, and it should be in Fran’s hands by the end of the week. (Mrs. S, I forgot to note my e-mail address when sending it to her—perhaps you can let me know when you’ve heard that it has arrived?)

But the other Australia-related task has been long on the list. Several months. After my October post about abandoning my PO box of 14 years, Mrs. S sent me a sweet little Penguin book with Eudora Welty’s short story, “Why I Live at the P.O.” I wanted to send something in return, and he jokingly mentioned maple syrup, to which I thought, Why not?

But when I called my regular supplier to see what they would charge to pack/ship it, a figure of $95 came back to me. Stunned, I backed off for a little while. Then I talked with a woman at work, who briefly lived in New Zealand, and she assured me that this could be done for much less.

Sometime before Christmas, I went so far as to buy a pint. I figured I’d pack it up and shop it around to post offices, seeing how well I could do shippingwise, seeing if I’d come up against trouble when the contents turned out to be liquid. I could tell the truth at the first PO, and if I didn’t like the answer I got, I could little-white-lie at the next.

This weekend, after I packed Kate’s book for Fran, I packed the maple syrup. It’s in a plastic pint container, not glass, and I’ve taped the lid. It’s enclosed in a Ziploc bag. It is surrounded by big bubbly packing stuff and some confetti from my shredder.

This morning, I went to the post office.

I went the honest route and stated exactly what was in the box. The postmistress didn’t balk. She quoted me two very reasonable prices: first class and priority. I went with first class, which, theoretically, will get it there in a week to 10 days. (I’m thinking maybe two weeks.) As to why I originally was quoted $95? All I can figure is that my maple syrup supplier does a very professional job of packing and does not use the U.S. Postal Service as its means of transport.

I hope this works. It’s now out of my hands.

Mrs. S, I hope that within two weeks, you will receive a box from me that contains real Vermont maple syrup. I hope that nothing breaks and that you do not open a box full of sticky confetti. I hope that whatever conditions this box encounters on its journey do not in any way spoil the syrup. I hope that customs does not turn the package away or decide to keep the syrup for themselves. I hope that the box does not catch fire. I hope that you do not catch fire. I hope that soon you will get a break from the heat (46.4ºC, 116ºF!) and that soon the fires will be over.

Mrs. S, would that I could also ship some of Tim’s fluffy, egg-separated buttermilk pancakes! They are tiny soufflés of yummy goodness! I will send you the recipe electronically. I’ll put that on my list right now.*

*You won’t be voluntarily flipping pancakes in that heat anyway. Might I note that a drizzle over some vanilla ice cream never hurt anyone?


1. bridgett - February 9, 2009

It’s great when a description of something as mundane as using the postal system is the best thing I’ve read all day.

2. Helen - February 9, 2009

I was at the store the other day buying some real maple syrup and the person at the cash told me there’s going to be a shortage soon. I forget why, something to do with the trees in Quebec.

Can you post the recipe for Tim’s fluffy, egg-separated buttermilk pancakes? Pretty please…

3. bettyslocombe - February 10, 2009

I love you.The entire family is slavering.

4. indigo bunting - February 10, 2009

B: Thanks.

H: Shortages have been predicted for quite a few years. Global warming, maple trees dying off. Dunno. And yes, I’ll post recipe here.

Mrs. B: I’ve made people slaver? My work here is done. (Sure hope it gets there and is still good enough to satisfy!)

5. Craig (Maito Sewa Yoleme) - February 10, 2009

Grade A Dark Amber? Or my preference, Grade B?

6. Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb - February 10, 2009

What I gather from this post is that when blogging spills over into the real world, things get complicated. Lovely writing nevertheless!

7. Mali - February 10, 2009

Hope there’s no problem with quarantine when it gets there. I’m jealous!

8. bettyslocombe - February 10, 2009

Next time you pop over, Mali, you can come to tea: we’ll save you a soupcon and make home made crumpets.

9. bettyslocombe - February 11, 2009

btw I only pretended to be joking. Like my fellow Libran Mrs Thatcher, I can be incredibly patient, as long as I get what in the end……

10. Helen - February 14, 2009

Waiting… Salivating…

11. indigo bunting - February 15, 2009

Helen: Believe it or not, I’m trying!

12. Cedar Waxwing - February 16, 2009

Neat way to share a book.

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