When I went inside I learnt another lesson. Always tidy up your own personal belongings before she arrived. I had to hunt all over the house to find the binoculars, the laptop bag, and the papers that had been organised across the table in a certain way were in one tidy heap ready to be sorted out again by me.
I learnt, but there were relapses. She could turn up any time on a Saturday morning and if you had not prepared yourself in time you were in trouble. I knew I was to do a lot of walking in the tropical sun, and that carrying water bottles takes up a lot of room in the bag when you are on a trek. So I had specifically purchased, at quite considerable expense, a collapsible water bottle from Platypus for the work in Mauritius. It was thick tough plastic, with a firm base but its body would fold down to about a quarter of its original size. I used it several times on my walks. I’d leave it to drain on the work surface.
We had planned to do some field work one Saturday afternoon, and, several hours after Sarah had gone, I was packing all the items I needed for the hike, and could not find the bottle. I realised with horror that I had left it in the kitchen as usual; Sarah without questioning anyone (words were not her way), had thought it was just another recyclable bottle, and it had gone into the trash, into the dumpster with the rest of the community’s waste. It was the last time I left anything of mine in her path again.