‘Have you got about twenty lemons?’ asked the neighbour who had just knocked on my door. Fortunately I did. The lemon grove here at my apartment block is heavy with a new crop.
My neighbour had seen the window open, and could smell fumes from the car park. Even though I’d gone away for the weekend while the painter used a toxic sealer for the concrete wall that was seeping and making the paint bubble, I got quite a hit on my return. By Monday afternoon I was feeling really sick.
‘Lemons will do the trick,’ said my neighbour. Cut them in half and put them everywhere, and they will absorb the fumes’. He’d learned this from a painter friend of his.
He was right. I couldn’t believe it, but in fifteen minutes I could no longer smell paint, only the fresh tang of the lemons. And so the lemon grove, that cheerful sign of the transition into winter, has come inside together with my neighbour’s kindness, and I have found relief.