“Why don’t you harvest these beautiful bird of paradise and place them in your home?” my friend Molly says as she wanders around my front lawn. Simple as these words may seem whilst rummaging through the day, I feel something is amiss.
(Music to accompany this blog post ~ click on the image above before proceeding)
You see, I just got home on my own after a short trip in Singapore because Mysaucepan is still there with her parents.
But just like any other day, the cockatoos, parakeets and minors are out in force. They are vying for karaoke rights in a street that barely hears anything else apart from the giant gum trees whispering in the wind.
Despite such tranquil surroundings on a beautiful winter day, why does it feel a little different today?
Words of paradise
Strelitzia reginae otherwise commonly known as bird of paradise is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. Its scientific name commemorates the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The species is native to South Africa but naturalized in Mexico, Belize, Bangladesh, Madeira Islands and Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile.
This plant grows to 2 metres tall with large, evergreen leaves arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks.
The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird’s head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue or white petals. Two of the blue or white petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary.
When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.*
With the impending renovations to this house, there is a myriad of things I need to get done since obtaining DA approval from council. Like all approvals, it comes with a set of conditions that need to be met even before the first brick is laid.
Structural and hydraulic engineering drawings need to be commissioned and builders’ quotations verified before a construction certificate can even be issued.
Today, the land surveyor’s boundary marking pegs have finally been nailed down in the garden where the proposed extension and additions are to be constructed. And it is all the better if these tasks can be done as soon as possible, rather than later, at competitive prices and without a compromise on quality. Generally, this is how a man thinks, I think.
I do do it sometimes. But perhaps I ought to remind myself to think like a woman every now and then but especially during the course of the renovations. Why? Because I have read about renovation disasters even breaking up marriages.
So, I have made concessions for our new wardrobes to accommodate a lot more space for the woman, rather than the man of the house. The kitchen and bathrooms, when done well, will always pull the heart strings of a woman, let alone add significant value to a house. Ample space that not only stores but displays her favourite stilettos have been allocated. Despite the fact I only take showers, and quick ones too, a free standing bath tub with seductive spaces for tea lights will be installed. I have read countless home decor magazines, online home design websites and thought deeply about stylish yet practical storage for women’s make up and dress accessories in our new ensuite.
Scented candles and tea lights with a calming fragrance, soft bath towels, plush pillows and bed sheets are little touches that transform a house into a home. Sadly though, these wonderful things are often organised by a woman.
Perhaps nothing says it more sincerely than a bouquet of flowers from our own garden greeting her upon return this weekend. It is a simple gesture. So by definition, it should not be something beyond what a man can, or should do. So a few snips with my garden shears, something that was amiss earlier in the day is now sitting beautifully on my coffee table.
And we already know too well, the blasé saying about the woman behind every successful man since men are, by nature, task-oriented and dogmatic while women are generally more emotional. But why is this saying important?
Because it is the sensitivity and tenderness of the fairer sex in this symbiotic partnership that makes our world so beautiful.