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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 2 (May 1, 1939)

She Muses on Winter Leisure

She Muses on Winter Leisure.

“The holiday period is over, and here am I, settling down in my new domesticity to the difficult winter season. As fast as I can I'm trying to grow into the skin of the home-loving women, but they've had such years of practice that I find it hard to catch up, much as I love my new little house. Even when I expand my usual interests, as I have always longed to do, there is still time left over—but I am not going to spend that time rashly. “Time” is my miser's treasure.

During the long months of winter I'm going to find out whether I can settle happily into this new life or whether I am better as a flat-dweller and a club-woman. We shall see.

So far, the only decisions I have made are in regard to the open air. Most of us women, especially the older ones who have not kept up an interest in winter games, look forward to hugging the fire and our knitting in hours of leisure. (Knitting is much better than a novel as an excuse for laziness). It's not such a pleasant prospect, for though socks and pullovers are admirable in their way, fire-hugging brings many evils, chief of which is the common cold. I prefer to buy sweaters readymade with the money I save on cough-cures, and, incidentally, on indigestion mixtures, for I do enjoy heavy winter food which doesn't agree with the inactive.

Refusing, therefore, to become a dyspeptic or a chimney-corner draught-detector, I have been looking over my heavy shoes. I have one pair, large and comfortable, which have been a winter boon for years, but which are almost too decrepit for public display. I shall wear them to the last, but meantime I shall haunt the shoe stores until I find just what I want in the way of a straight-lasted, broad-toed, firmly laced, sensible shoe.

Then, on winter afternoons when some of my friends are comforting themselves and their colds by fires, I shall be tramping the countryside—I hope. I have always been a gregarious soul, but I must try to cultivate a liking for solitude, and the ability to appreciate the starkness of winter-skies, bare hill-slopes and alien trees, without an ever-present companion as recipient for my thoughts. I have found it curiously difficult to pry woman friends from their household cares for any reason unconnected with bridge or merely social occasions. Therefore, lacking the “perfect friend,” I must be self-sufficient.

Another winter pastime of mine is to be gardening. Don't laugh! Even I know that gardening is for spring and summer. But I, who have never had time or opportunity, having suddenly acquired both, desire to use these treasures immediately. Therefore I have bought a gardening book and collected seedsmen's catalogues. I talk earnestly about my bare patch to friends who have made their deserts blossom and hope that I shall be able to do the same.

The heavy digging will be too much for me. I shall employ a man, who will turn vegetation under, or burn it, according to which is best. My land will lie fallow for a few months. Frost, I believe, is good for it. Then, with everything flattened out, and traces of earlier dabblers erased, I can plan things in my own amateurish fashion.

I shall spend hours this winter planning my own tiny landscape. I shall study to conserve my few trees and shrubs, to make full use of the sunny corner and of the shade near the gate. The drying green will have to stay as it is. Much as I long to use it for vegetables.

I must hurry and decide what hedge plant I want for shutting off the drive-way to the garage, as I have been advised to get that job done this month. I am afraid that hedge-planting, also, is a job I must delegate to others.

Maybe I should plant bulbs for spring, but I haven't yet decided where permanent beds are to be. I shall grow a few in bowls for the house.

I can, at least, get some seed-boxes, and, as the correct season arrives, sow those flowers which I love and have never grown before. Permanent places must be planned for the seedlings.

Altogether, my garden will be of an absorbing interest even during the winter. The mere planning of it will be as much fun as a season's hockey used to be.

Yes, what with walking and gardening, I'm certainly going to have an enjoyable winter.

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