wings and things

Smiling isn’t simple

In advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, the facial muscles stop working properly. This is why Anthony’s face sometimes resembles a mask in its expressionlessness. As facial expressions are one of the main ways in which we humans both show and ‘read’ emotions, a blank face can make things very difficult.

For Anthony, smiling isn’t simple. Out of all of the PD symptoms, I find this one of the hardest to deal with because I miss him smiling at me. An expressionless face looks decidedly unfriendly and miserable and (selfishly, I guess) I want him to not only smile, but to laugh the way he used to – loud and long and with his face all crinkled up.

Extreme antics – like Ming monkeying around – can produce an Anthony smile and sometimes, if I exaggerate an anecdote or laugh at my own joke, I will get an Anthony smile. But mostly, no – no smile.

Yesterday I had the wheelchair taxi bring Ants to his nephew’s place not far from our farm. It was there that I discovered a small mirthy miracle in the form of a beautiful baby, Anthony’s great-niece.

Thank you, beautiful baby girl, for making Anthony smile!



Guinnea fowl [they always chatter in unison]: This feather littering has to stop. It ruins the look of the lawn.

It’s about time we saw Julie about this and reminded her that we were here first and we do NOT shed feathers like those rotten peacocks, especially the white ones. Look at this beautiful lawn – its aesthetics are ruined by white feathers!

Okay, let’s have a chat to Julie right now! The back veranda door is the best place. Come on!

JULIE!!!! JULIE!!!!!!

Oh, that is just great isn’t it. That white peacock or peahen or whatever it is beat us to it and now Julie is laughing at us. It isn’t fair!

Angelina [our smallest white peahen]: Are they gone yet, Julie?

Julie: You can feather-dust the lawn anytime, Angelina.


Thank you, Mr Tootlepedal

This is the photograph given to me by Mr Tootlepedal. I had to keep it to myself for a day or so because I was like a child with a new toy; I didn’t want to share it.

A little while ago I asked Mr Tootlepedal if he would give me a photograph and he said of course and asked me to choose, but then I asked him to choose and this is the one he sent me. He  isn’t even putting it on his own blog, so it is kind of all mine, and even signed!

I am going to get it framed and put it in the kitchen where I will see it many times every day because I know that each time I look at this bird, my heart will experience a wingbeat.

If you want to know what kind of bird this is you will have to go to Mr Tootlepedal’s wonderful blog.


My best friend

Yesterday morning he walked away very quickly without looking back.

He gave me no warning and I regretted not having treated him with more respect, even gratitude.

Once he’d gone, I was bereft. I called all of the authorities to find him for me again but nobody could help.

I knew in my heart he would come back eventually but I didn’t know when.

His moody unpredictability engraged me and I let the misery of his absence seep in.

I kept myself busy with things I usually did with him; I began categorizing my writing, my photos and my address book.

I even thought of baking a cake but of course he doesn’t like cake.

Imagine my joy when just an hour ago he returned.

He was a little dishevelled and confused.

I gave him a big hug and said he was my best friend.

I apologized to him for not having acknowledged this earlier in our relationship.

He seemed happier and much friendlier, and he seemed to have missed me too.

The internet.


no internet for few DAYS


Love story 88 – Saying ‘I love you’

Such a dangerous thing to say when embarking (or trying to) on a romantic relationship.

“I love you.”

And there are so many ways of saying it:

“I love you [despite the fact that you are a selfish pig and a worm and the worst thing that ever happened to me and I hate your guts too].”

Clarification note: the stuff in the square bracketts is what might be thought but not actually spoken.

“I love you” mustn’t be said wistfully, plaintively, longingly or hesitantly. The hesitant “I love you” is something to avoid at all costs because it can produce a really loooooooooooooong pause from the recipient, or else they might suddenly have to go to the loo.

“I love you [and I know it is going to take you some time to digest this because you really are a bit thick].”

The first time I uttered these dangerous words to Anthony I was about 18 and he was 41 and I was helping him deliver a calf. In retrospect, this was probably rather bad timing. Also I couldn’t quite get the words beyond a whisper but he must have heard because he looked at me askance as the calf slipped out.

After that tentative attempt, I didn’t say “I love you” again for a year or so and then, in my 20s I couldn’t seem to stop saying it to him. But the first time he properly heard me, his face went pale, his knees quivered and his big muscly body tensed as if I had attacked him with some sort of foreign weapon.

Well, as many of you know, it all worked out. Anthony threw more “I love yous” at me than I could possibly digest before we finally got married.

And now?

Every night, when I ring him at the nursing lodge to say goodnight, it is the last thing we both say to each other.



Thank you, Nia!

As many of you know, Nia, who lives in Turkey, and who I only know via the blogosphere, handmade me four pillow covers and posted them to me a little while ago – a gift! I found some filling and took one in for Anthony at the nursing lodge. Today I finally remembered to take a couple of pictures of it.

I have bought Nia four little Australian things which, as soon as I have found where I put them, I will post off to her to say thank you.  Here is her site but I realize many of you already know this wonderful woman.

Anthony loves the pillow, but said, a bit sadly, “It’s too good to be in here.”

“But you’re here,” I said.

“I know,” he said, stroking Nia’s pillow gently.

“Stop this nonsense,” I said, picking up the pillow and smacking him lightly on the head with it.

He actually smiled!

Thank you, Nia.


Blogging IS writing!

Last November I began this blog because I wanted to catapult myself into writing again. That was my simple, initial reason. Since then I haven’t missed a single day; in fact I have overdone it on some days with too many posts. But what the hell – blogging got me writing again. Not only that, I actually accumulated a few friends (that was totally unexpected!) and discovered a fascinating community. When I began the blog I wasn’t looking for friends or a community or anything really; I just wanted to write so that is what I think I am doing here – writing.

It took me awhile to realize that blogging is a reciprocal thing. I didn’t understand what ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ were to begin with. Then, when I began to explore other people’s blogs I was amazed, touched, and fascinated by all of this wonderful writing that I didn’t know was there. In the last few months I have learned more about photography, art, music, history, geography, poetry, illness, health, inspiration, pain and friendship than I ever learned at university!

But back to my point; I have noticed that some bloggers differentiate between their blogging and their writing. I tried to do this but failed – ie. I tried to plonk my love story into a separate blog because in my mind I thought that would be my writing blog and this would be my blogging blog. It didn’t take me long to realize that any blogging IS writing.



Golden Valley update

Yesterday, two women from the Balingup Historical Society came to visit Anthony in the nursing lodge. The first photo is of Helen with Anthony and the second is of Carol with Anthony. It took me an incredibly long time to achieve the bad lighting in the first picture and the blurriness in the second – ha! Oh well at least I have a bit of a record of what was a couple of hours of pure pleasure.

Together, we established that, in amongst that massive box of photos, there were sixteen of Golden Valley from when Anthony was a boy. Unfortunately he isn’t in any of these photos but some of the trees he planted are. It was the loveliest visit, with lots of laughs as Anthony kept referring to his first girlfriend who still lives in Balingup.

Each and every photo provoked a little story, memory, date and it was such a fantastic experience for me/us to meet these two dedicated woman who are so keen to preserve this history. If I wore a hat, I would take it off for them.

Thankyou, Carol and Helen for making Anthony’s day unforgettable!


History in the making?

Background: Oldest dairy in Western Australia.

Foreground: Youngest beard in Western Australia.