wings and things

Just before dusk








Spring storms

It is the third week of Spring over here in the southwest of Western Australia and we have only had one week of sunshine. Today the winds are whipping up, the rain is relentless and the forecast for tonight includes gusts of 100kms – mmm.

The animals get nervous when it’s like this and so do I!

Yesterday, some guys I’ve never met before arrived to chainsaw and clean up the debris of fallen wattle trees from the last storm. In a couple of hours they did what seemed to me to be an insurmountable task and they didn’t even charge very much. They said that if we had another storm, the remaining old trees at the back might fall over too because they are ant-ridden.  There was no sign of today’s storm yesterday – weird!

I think Ming may have organized for them to come (he is very keen to be the man of the house!) but when I asked the main guy, he said, “God sent me!”

I wasn’t sure whether he was joking or serious so I just shook his hand – mmmm!



Okami always has an expression of absolute contentment in his eyes.

Uluru, on the other hand, always looks totally freaked out!

Both alpacas blink.

I never realized how much eyes could convey in terms of emotion until my husband, Anthony, stopped blinking. I didn’t know he’d stopped blinking and that this was sometimes one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. It wasn’t until we first saw a neurologist, who did some hand/eye/leg coordination tests, that this inability to blink was pointed out. The neurologist had a rather dry sense of humour and said to me, “You thought he was getting moody, didn’t you.” When I nodded, he said, “When someone doesn’t blink, they may appear to be angry or sad.” I looked at Anthony who looked back at me with a small, uneasy smile, his eyes unblinking. “So, do I have Parkinson’s Disease?” he asked the neurologist. “Yes, I believe you do,” said the neurologist.

As I drove us home that day – so many years ago now – Anthony stared out of the window and I blinked back tears, but we talked it through and decided to do the only thing we could do which was to take things one day at a time.

Keep blinking if you can.



Bubble: I miss the emus.

Seli: So do I.

Woodroffe: So do I.

Angelina: So do I.

King: So do I.

Okami: So do I.

Pearly: So do I.

Malay: So do I.

Phoenix 1: So do I.

Ming: Well I DON’T!


Spot the difference

Here are two photographs (I concede that these are not very good photographs but that isn’t the point of this game). Okay, so you know those newspaper games where there are two pictures that, at first glance, look identical and you have to find the differences? Well, here are two photos that are different from each other in numerous ways but there is only one significant difference. Can you find it?



Animal antics

Uluru: You seem worried, Okami.

Okami: I am.

Cattle: Those furry things were okay but not sure about the weirdos.

Okami: It’s okay, moos, I am looking into the problem.

Emery 1: Keep eating, girls. I just heard those moo things refer to us as weirdos.

Uluru: Thanks for the leftovers – they’re great! So what are you going to do, Okami?

Okami: I am going to have a quiet word with Julie.


Ears up, ears down

Okami’s ears are always up.

Uluru’s ears are usually down ….

…. and sometimes up!

Phoenix 1 thinks their ear antics are a sign of immaturity.


The wonderful incongruence of friendship

Odd friendships (Emery 2 and Baby Turkey)

Intimidating friendships (Bubble 1 and Uluru)

Alliance friendships (Tapper and one of the guinneas)

Fashion friendships (Tina Turner and Phoenix 1)

Uneasy friendships (Queenie and Phoenix 1)

Terrifying friendships (Doc with the two Bubbles)

Supervised friendships (The Bubbles, Baby Turkey and Jack)

Childhood friendships (Zaruma 1 and Bubble 1)

Avocado tree friendships (Phoenix 1 and King)


When the status quo shifts

When we first got Okami and Uluru we didn’t know that, underneath all that wool, they were quite little!

Once they had been shorn (earlier this year), we got rather a shock and had to retrain our brains to see them the way they are now instead of the way they were.

I don’t like to be overtly symbolic but this is very similar to the way Husband/Anthony, Son and I have had to retrain our brains in order to tune into the ‘now’ of Anthony’s Parkinson’s disease and its associated dementia.

In many ways, this creeping dementia is okay but in other ways its evidence always gives me an alpaca-shock!

“You were pretty crazy on the phone last night,” I say to Anthony. “Are you normal again?”

“Jules, I was at this party at Kingley Park.”

“Okay, so where are you now?”

“I’m at this place, you know, the old age home. When are you coming in?”

“Tomorrow morning – is that okay?”

“Bring me some of that chocolate I like, you know the one?”

“Yes. I’ll ring you to say goodnight.”

“Well don’t make it too late because I might be in bed.”


There is something extremely comforting about these phone conversations, but also discomforting (or is the word ‘discomfiting’?). On the one hand Anthony seems comfortable and content, though lonely. On the other hand, he often sounds confused but when I see him (every couple of days now), he is always perfectly lucid and the friends and relatives who visit him say the same.

I am about to go out and feed Okami and Uluru so I will ask them. Their huge eyes are always full of gentle wisdom.


“No – look at ME!”