Christmas saw the arrival of a formidable pile of boxes of sweets, chocolates and biscuits. Eating through this has demanded great effort, but was something that had to be done. By this morning, there were two boxes left – one red and one gold. Except that the red box proved to be not a box of M&S biscuits, but a box of crocus bulbs, each with its own little glass vase in which the bulb could be grown.
The vases were to be filled with water; the bulbs were to be placed into the tops of the vases; and they they were then to be placed in a cold and dark place, preferably a fridge, for 12-15 weeks. This was to be done not later than the end of December.
I looked at my watch – 28th January. Sure, that’s near enough the end of December – thirty days credit and all that. I filled the vases, pushed the bulbs in and put the whole lot into the salad box at the bottom of the fridge.
There is maybe some chance that we will get some flowers. Pity I hadn’t paid more attention to the box in the first place.
The story came to mind I heard once of a cricketer from a village in the north of England back in the 1930s. Going out of the backyard of the terraced house in which he lived one autumn morning, he met the postman in the alleyway. The postman gave him a letter, which the young man, on the way to work, pushed into his jacket pocket and walked on. It was the following spring, when looking through his pockets, that he found the letter again. It had been an invitation from the MCC to join the England cricket team travelling to play a test series in Australia that winter.
Closing the fridge door, I wondered how much in life I’ve missed simply through not paying attention.