The best part about going to the doctor: Looking down the road to those prison-like buildings, the Rita Angus Retirement Village, and being very happy that I'm not there—I'm out on the street, feeling good(ish). Kilbirnie Medical Centre at left.

To the doctor today. Every three months, I go. And this week would be a real problem if I hadn’t thought ahead and cancelled my Sunday trip to the market, because there are enough fruit and veges in the garden and I bought two dozen eggs last time ($3.50 per doz).

I used to go to the Wellington People’s Centre. I could walk there, pay $16 for the consultation plus $3 for a prescription, and walk home. Now, there’s no doctor at the People’s Centre but I can go to Kilbirnie and still pay $16. But it’s a $3.50 bus ride each way to Kilbirnie, unless I want to spend 2 ½ hours walking, and now I have a new medication to lower my cholesterol, so that’s $29 all up.

So even though this week I’m saving the $20 I always spend at the market (sometimes $2.80 of that for a Sunday paper), I still have to find another $9. And, this month, WINZ reduced my benefit by $20 a week, because of my ‘income’ which isn’t really income given what it takes to earn it. (If I could claim the costs of earning it I would have no ‘income’ at all.) I really miss the $6 all-day bus tickets, because when I started going to Kilbirnie, I’d use that all-day ticket to go a little further afterwards, to the California Garden Centre in Miramar. And because the bus fare was cheaper and I had only one prescription and WINZ hadn’t cut my benefit, sometimes I would buy a plant. But mostly I’d just admire all the trees, plants, and gear they have. A real treat.

So why, when you live behind a henhouse, you may ask, am I buying eggs? Well, there are only three chooks there at the moment, and the people up at the house look after them and collect the eggs. When there were six chooks, the p-d-i-l used to drop some eggs in my mailbox each week. Still dropped in a few till quite recently, when I caught her helping herself to some of my courgettes (and I think she’d already got some beans). She didn’t like it when I told her that I was the only person to pick my veges. Parsley, yes. There’s heaps. Help yourself.

And then my strawberries started going missing. So I called her on that. “They’re not veges,” she said. So I cut her off at the pass. “Please do NOT”, I said, “Help yourself to anything that I have planted in the garden. Except parsley. When I have extra veges, I’ll pass them on.” And she pointed to the pear tree, fruit ripening really well this year, and asked “You didn’t plant that?” “Yes”, I said. “I did. And if there are some with codlin moth that you can cut up and bottle, I’ll put them aside for you”. “BOTTLE?” she said. And then there was a loud cry from the house and off she scuttled. Haven’t seen a home grown egg since. And the hens seem to be getting out and making a mess of my garden a little more often than usual.

I think that the anti-cholesterol meds, over the three months, have made me cranky (and forgetful). Thinking of ways to be a little more friendly towards the p-d-i-l. But she comes with the baby. I’m not ready to be a grandpa.

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