Do You Remember The ‘Fuller Brush Man’?

After three days of solitary confinement I was teetering on the brink. I don’t even have to say the brink of what because you’ve all been there and YOU KNOW.

As a result of my two rather extensive motorbike adventures, my back was telling me in no uncertain terms to give it a rest. So that’s what I’d been doing for the past sixty-two hours – seeing nobody, hearing nobody, speaking to nobody – I was over it.

There’s a Japanese bakery two miles (3.3 km) from my house, Kakiang Garden & Cafe. Pizza is on their menu and for some reason I’d been craving a deep dive into dairy and carbs. Such an indulgence is justifiable after walking two miles, wouldn’t you agree?

I set out.

Photography doesn’t come naturally. I don’t like the camera between me and what I’m looking at. It’s a degree of separation that feels invasive, like I’m robbed of the intimacy of that moment. On the other hand, I believe the old adage: A picture’s worth a thousand words. So when I want to communicate what I’m experiencing with others, I try to remember to take photos.

It didn’t occur to me there would be much worth sharing on this walk until I happened upon a roofless graffiti gallery and suddenly remembered my phone had a camera.

Within a few steps there was another work of art. This rice field abuts one of the busiest streets in Ubud, Jalan Andong.

So many paddies were left fallow for years while money poured in from tourism. Now they’re being revived and what a feast for the eyes.

Once started, photo ops popped up everywhere. Do you remember door-to-door salesmen? One used to come to our house in the 1950’s. Mom knew the sound of his car and she’d say, “It’s the Fuller Brush Man.” He sold pots, plates, brooms – not brushes – yet I never thought to question why she called him that. So I asked Google, What’s a Fuller Brush Man, and found a fascinating story.

This is the Bali version.

Most of Jl. Andong is a serious shopper’s paradise. Many businesses export their goods but they’re always willing to sell to walk-in customers. I haunted this stretch of roadway when I was buying pieces for my house.

As I strolled past a virtual cornucopia of visual delights, I almost wished I could start the treasure hunt for furnishings all over again.

And then…I arrived.

It was too early for lunch and I’d already eaten breakfast, but there’s always room for dessert. I ordered an avocado coffee. And, yes. It is absolutely as decadent as it looks, avocado blended with ice cream poured over espresso with a squirt of chocolate and another scoop of ice cream. Pure heaven.

For a couple of hours I kept company with my thoughts, scribbled ideas in a notebook, watched butterflies flutter their mating dance, listened to chatter in the kitchen punctuated by frequent laughter, and absorbed the energy of life going on around me.

I still wasn’t in the least hungry, but I’d come for pizza and no way was I leaving without it. I managed to eat one piece. The rest is in my fridge.

More than delicious food, the day refueled me. It smoothed my frayed edges, loosened my knotted muscles, quieted my buzzing nerves. I was reminded that there’s still a world beyond my four walls and it beats with a strong heart.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sageblessings
    Sep 07, 2020 @ 21:46:25

    I’m so happy for your photos. A feast for our eyes also. It’s amazing how getting into a new environment right now awakens all our senses and brings such deep gratitude. It’s a cool 54 here in Mpls this morning and perhaps the first morning I’ve not sat outside with my coffee. Both my cat and I are not happy. Perhaps if I dig out my down booties and heavy fleece robe, I can extend my time outside a bit more. It will be a long winter here in the cold north yet I feel secure in being here and it may support a winter project I’ve put off for years. Sometimes nothing does what needs doing other than pizza!!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Mary Gunn
    Sep 07, 2020 @ 22:33:22

    An inspiring read that I will come back to, read again and reflect on, in the middle of my Canadian winter, while shut down again.
    How to find joy and gratitude in the little (delicious) things in life.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Julie Marshall
    Sep 08, 2020 @ 09:20:28

    I was really inspired by your photos this morning. I have very fond memories of Ubud and it seems so strange without all the bustle. However, here in Far North Queensland we too are becoming aware of our surroundings as we walk without dodging people and traffic. Time to appreciate what we have.
    Something good always seems to come along even in adverse time such as these.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Gail
    Sep 08, 2020 @ 09:24:05

    Loved your photos – and yes, certainly remember something similar to the Fullers brush man in the 50’s- New Zealand. He was called the Bon Brush man and then there was a Rawleighs man who would arrive with a huge suitcase full of items – my mother would stock up on lemon and vanilla essence, And there was something called Rawleighs ointment in a tin – that every household seemed to have then. Suspect it might have been Vaseline. Door-to-door salesmen must have livened up many a housewives day then!
    What a treat to have that Japanese restaurant so close – looks delicious.
    Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person


    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Sep 08, 2020 @ 15:27:14

      Rawleighs! Medicated ointment. We can these products are still for sale. We might have had a Rawleighs Man, too…! I’m sure these traveling salesmen were a day-brightener to all those stay-at-home moms in the 50s.



  5. Nirmala
    Sep 08, 2020 @ 13:05:50

    What a great blog. The coffee looks yummy 😋 Glad you found comfort and enjoying serenity 😊 😊

    ✌️ 💰 💵 for Bali

    Liked by 1 person


  6. healingpilgrim
    Sep 08, 2020 @ 13:39:04

    What an adventure! Yummy too. I’ve enjoyed some nice meals there too. Are all the shops along Andong already open for business.. with people shopping?

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Diane Struble
    Sep 08, 2020 @ 17:45:33

    I loved your stores. Beautiful items. I have no room for anything more which is maybe a good thing. Avocado coffee looks and sounds really decadent. I am happy you could get outdoors and be among people who enjoy life. And all at a safe distance.

    Liked by 1 person


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