wings and things

Born with a silver spoon ….

Today is my first niece Ashtyn’s birthday and in around five weeks she will give birth to her and Gordon’s first child. So on the weekend there were numerous celebrations – a mother blessing ceremony, a baby shower, and a birthday party.


Ashtyn is gifted with the ability to be the star at every family gathering without even trying. Her birthday invitation read “The Most Important Day of the Year!” And her favourite present (given by her sister) was a selfie stick which was put to much use that day.




At the baby shower, my mother, “Grandma” now to eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, gave Ashtyn two pictures that she had hand-embroidered over the last few weeks, then had framed. She’d told Ashtyn that if the baby were a boy, she would have the angel picture back for another occasion, and if the baby were a girl, she would have the train picture back for the same reason. Ashtyn’s response: “No way! I’m keeping them both.”


I haven’t included the numerous pictures taken of the rest of us because, well, I didn’t want to detract attention from Ashtyn haha!

Anyway, in all the decluttering of this household, I had already found several silver teaspoons and I remembered that Ming had been given one at his christening. So I sorted through the good ones, found a matching spoon and fork, polished them up and then found a suitable box.



I was so excited about this gift for Gordon and Ash’s baby that I did a bit of research into the whole silver-spoon-in-the-mouth tradition and was delighted to find that using silver cutlery is a lot more healthy and hygienic than other materials. Who knew!

Ashtyn is an absolute joy of a person to be around; she is totally, unselfconsciously, gregariously, generously beautiful. I am so proud to be her auntie and can’t wait for all of the mother-and-baby selfies!



Anthony’s 79th birthday

Today is Anthony’s 79th birthday and yesterday I promised him I would take him for a drive down south to Golden Valley, his childhood home in Balingup. He asks to go to Golden Valley much more than he asks to come home here and, as it’s been months since I have taken him for a drive anywhere, except around town, I decided to do it.

I was nervous about our little expedition because it is very hot here at the moment and Ants is really hard to manoeuvre when immobile (which is most of the time now). But at 11am he was able to walk, with his walker, the short distance up the hallway and to the outside front driveway where I bottom-shoved him into the car. This bottom-shoving method is very effective; I just get his right leg into the car while he is standing up clinging to the open car door, then I sort of swing my right hip against his left hip to plonk him into the seat. This is not a method I recommend to care staff, who are not allowed to assist once outside the building anyway, but I don’t have to adhere to the care staff rules when it comes to Anthony because I am not his carer, I am his wife. And he seems to get a bit of a kick out of my rough handling – ha!

An hour and a half later we arrived at his childhood home.


We parked there for awhile and admired the scenery and I asked him questions that he had already answered years ago, like about the hedge that he planted and trimmed obsessively for years. “Looks like someone is doing the same thing,” I remarked but, by this time, Ants was finding it hard to articulate anything and his words were skewed.


Then we drove the short distance to the tree park and he suddenly got a bit excited and mentioned the name of a woman he told me about years ago. She and her brother owned the farm adjacent to Anthony’s parents’ and, as a boy, he used to walk up to visit her. I am going to call her Eleanor for the sake of privacy despite the fact that she probably died years ago. So little-boy Anthony used to walk up the hill to visit in-her-30s Eleanor and she would feed him with home-made cake and sometimes play the piano.

At the tree park, I stopped the car and we admired the view and I said, “She was obviously a wonderful person, Ants” – then, right out of left field, he said “There was no sex.”

Right, okay ….


After that, I asked Ants if he wanted to go to the old pub which has been refurbished and he nodded yes but I could see he was getting very tired. This pub is a place we’ve been to from time to time over the years, but this time I knew I would be unable to get Ants out of the car, let alone into the pub, so I parked the car in a shady spot and ran inside to check it out.

I ordered two light beers and asked if it would be okay for us to drink these in the car because my husband was too disabled to come in. Yes that was fine. Then I asked to see the menu and they had oysters – joy, bliss! So I hurried back to the car with the beers and told Ants about the oysters and went back to order half a dozen.


I had to feed these to him because his hands don’t work very well anymore but he vacuumed them down as you can see! So then I raced back into the pub and ordered another half dozen and the chef delivered them right to the car – amazing!

By this time I could see that Anthony was utterly exhausted and there was still 100 kms to travel back to the nursing home. So I drove with the radio on (Ants loves music) and, periodically, put my non-driving hand into his or around his shoulders. We got back nearly four hours after we’d left and the very thing I’d dreaded happened. Ants couldn’t get out of the car or stand up or speak, so I went inside and got a wheelchair but that was still very difficult. Nevertheless I eventually got him back to his room and asked the care staff if they could attend to him soon. Then I kissed him again and asked if his birthday had been okay.

“Not too bad,” he said.

This photo shows what happens when I ask Ants to smile for the camera – mmmm.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, incorrigible, resilient, fantastic, sarcastic, wonderful husband!


Would you rather …?

The storybook that my mother, Meg, read from on her 8oth birthday cruise last weekend was one of her grandson’s favourites when he was little. (Thanks Morgan!) Here is a link to it on youtube

Meg brought the book with her and insisted that all of the grandchildren sit on the floor of the boat despite the fact that half of them are now in their 20s and even the youngest (12-year-old twins) are close to 6 feet tall. Then she began to read and something rather magical happened as they were all catapulted back in time and transformed into giggling little kids in the thrall of Grandma. One of the most hilarious moments was when my mother said to one grandson, in her best school teacher voice, “Rohan, pay attention!” Everyone collapsed into laughter as this big ‘boy’ – now a husband and father – obeyed. Then everyone competed, hands raised, to answer the questions posed on each page of the book.



In googling information about this storybook, I discovered that “Would you rather …?” has become a bit of a party game and I can see why! It was one of the highlights of a perfect day.


Out of the mouths of babes….

This group of quotes for Gma’s birthday book does not need any explanation from me.






There are more quotes to come of course – from some of the bigger ‘kids’ – but I will save those for tomorrow night after the boat cruise. Suffice it to say that these children’s words, enclosed in her book (and rather brilliantly photographed by me – ha!) have culminated in the most beautiful, mutual, unshakable hug of family.

Oh, I can’t resist: here is Jared’s (Meg’s second grandchild):



Say ‘cheese’!

Today is Anthony’s 78th birthday – February 4/1936. Ming and I didn’t do much for our January birthdays in terms of gifts because we decided to ‘save’ our birthdays for Anthony’s, if that makes sense. Ming is about to go and pick Anthony up from the nursing home to come to the farm for the afternoon. As Ants can’t deal with crowds anymore, I have just asked a sprinkling of people over; after all, it is a workday, not a weekend.

Ming suggested we get each other two presents each so he and I exchanged ours this morning. I will show you more of the ‘goods’ later when I have photos, but just want to show you what Ming got me!


Well, technically, the blue cheese is for Ants but we all know that I will eat most of it!

Ahhhh – cheese bliss!


Out to lunch!

Today is the fifth day I have been out to lunch with various family and friends AND had visitors in the evening. I feel thoroughly resocialized!

Yesterday was lunch at the local tavern with Ming’s best mates’ families. The day before was lunch at a restaurant with Ming, Meg and Anthony, where Anthony proved that his appetite is still quite healthy by vacuuming up two dozen oysters naturale AND a chocolate dessert (even though he had already had his usual roast dinner at the nursing home!)

And then there was lunch with with an old friend whose husband is in hospital, lunch with Tony (which I already blogged about), lunch today with Anthony’s niece who is also my niece but she is older than I am but looks younger (grrr!), then drinks here with another old friend, her husband and gorgeous daughter, then last night a rollicking time with my first niece, Ash, and her Scottish husband, who have both moved back to Australia.

Happiness can be a bit exhausting. Oh yes, and the peahens are gradually returning!


Twenty years ago….

Twenty years, nine hours and forty seven minutes ago I gave birth to a funny, round-headed, thin-limbed creature called Ming. Happy birthday, beautiful boy-man! Anthony and I love you very much.


Anthony’s 77th birthday!

On Monday, Anthony turns 77, so tomorrow he is coming out for the afternoon.

On impulse, I rang a few family and friends and all said yes, with a few maybes.

I just counted up how many people are coming and it’s around 50. If the maybes come, it will be 60.



Anthony’s birthday present to Ming!

I will never forget this fantastic day.

Several weeks ago Ants decided that we should get Ming a ute for his 19th birthday. In order to do so he had to cash in some very precious shares (both monetarily and sentimentally) to afford it.

It took a fair bit of negotiating, research, and secret phone conversations with Anthony and the dealer and there was a long delay in getting the ute fitted with a steel tray which Ants insisted on.

As a result of the delay, Ming’s birthday (10 days ago) came and went and I had to tell him his present hadn’t arrived yet.

Yesterday I got the call to say it was ready so I asked if it could be delivered to the nursing lodge so that Ants could give it to Ming personally. No problem.

So I told Ming we had to be in town by 11.30am to get his present. The only hint I had given him was that it was musical, so he assumed it was some sort of guitar. He didn’t have a clue!

So we got to the nursing lodge and I told Ming to wait in the outside parking lot while I checked if the present had arrived, then I went to get Ants to come outside.

I ran down to the entrance to see the dealer standing next Ming’s ute, waiting, and I almost yelped with excitement as I raced in to get Ants.

Once Ants was seated outside in front of the ute and chatting to the dealer, I raced back up to the outside parking lot and fetched Ming who drove us in and parked our old ute right next to the new one. He still didn’t twig!

Then, standing right in front of the new ute, he said hi to Ants and then, “Dad, what is my present? Mum is ridiculously excited!”

Anthony said, Ït’s right behind you.”

Ming turned around, looked at the dealer who he had assumed was a friend visiting Ants, then looked at the ute of his dreams – a Toyota Hilux Workmate – and his jaw dropped.

More in next post – I can’t continue because I am too happy about the expression on Anthony’s face – and Ming’s – so my words are now caught in my throat!


First brother


My first brother, BJ, turns 52 today which is wonderful because for the next six weeks or so he will only be a year younger than I am – ha!

BJ is a chiropractor, like our father was, and he is now working in the Solomon Islands with his wife and two of his five children (yes, First brother and Baby brother surpassed me long ago in the baby-making stakes).

This is him with our mother a couple of years ago. He has taken to wearing a kilt because his eldest daughter is getting married in Scotland next year and I think he also quite likes the look of his own legs.


And that’s BJ on the left, Baby brother in the middle and me on the right – in our father’s arms.

Both my brothers have inherited our dad’s love of being a father.

Happy birthday, BJ!