wings and things

The best gift!

It is over three months since I was employed part-time in the dementia cottage of the nursing home and I really miss seeing those residents oftener than I can now.

Even though I visit from time to time during the week, it still feels a teensy bit awkward due to my status of employee having changed to that of visitor. I know many of the relatives and most of the staff so I have been trying to figure out what gifts to bring that will make my occasional visits quiet and seamless – unobtrusive.

There are strict rules now in most nursing homes about gifts. I.e. do not offer chocolates, chilli olives, or brandy, to residents (yes, that was me – sorry!) Also, do not give staff any gifts whatsoever or it may seem like a kind of bribery (this rule is only hearsay but it made sneaking in 6 pizzas one night, two years ago, very exciting!)

Anyway, one of the things that delights Anthony most (apart from chocolate cake with lashings of cream) is the singular bloom of one of his many camellia trees.


The above is one of the many I bring in daily to Anthony’s room and that’s what gave me the idea of taking lots of camellias into the dementia cottage. After all, when there is someone at the door with flowers, the door is usually opened!

My heartfelt thanks to the staff who look after those with dementia, and those in high-care like Anthony. You are legends so perhaps I should bring a camellia tree in!

I have never picked so many flowers in my life!


My first commenter


The first person to comment on my blog (apart from my mother) was Lynda whose blog, Life in the Farmlet (, has entranced me from the start of my blog journey. She likes geese and so do I and that is how our friendship began.

One of the things I have discovered in following Lynda’s blog is that she is a woman of many talents. For example, she is really crafty (in the literal sense) i.e. her sewing abilities far surpass my own inability to sew a button back on a shirt. She is an artist.

Well, guess what? Lynda has sent me a gift! Here is the post in which she describes it:

This apron is so exquisite, I don’t think I can possibly wear it – I want to frame it! I love it!

Lynda, you absolutely shine. Thank you from the bottom and top of my heart!


The best gift

Just before Christmas, Ming had an idea for my presents and we went to a bookstore where he asked me to pick out a bunch of books I wanted and then he would pick three while I went outside the shop. He explained that this would mean I would still get a surprise. So I gleefully picked out six books and left the shop.

So on Christmas morning, I opened the first of my three presents, knowing that it would be a book. But it was two books! And each of the presents contained two books, so Ming had bought me all six and that was the surprise. My delight was contagious and he laughed, saying that he’d been worried that I would choose more and he would have to buy all of them when he didn’t have that much money. He wrote a message in each of the books and some of these were funny, some loving, all illegibly beautiful!

Then he said he had another present and told me that he wanted to spend his remaining savings on a holiday for me at a resort north of here – a whole week! I said no way but I would take 3 nights and he made me shake hands. “You can be all by yourself, Mum, without me and Dad and everything, and you can write and chill out. I’ll look after the birds and dogs and you can just relax.”

Tonight – on this first evening of the new year – he turned his consul off and asked me to come into the living room for a talk. I joined him and we had a long, philosophical discussion in which he said, “I just want us to talk to each other more, Mum, get reconnected, so we both don’t get all sad again.” At that moment, I looked out the front window to see the redgum that Ming bought me three years ago flowering for the first time ever. He noticed it too and we exchanged a smile. “Happy New Year, kid,” I said.

The best gift: Ming.

Thank you, Anthony.


Ming’s Christmas presents

I am beside myself with excitement about Ming’s main Christmas present. It is being delivered today at 3pm while he is milking the cows. He has no idea and yesterday afternoon we sat outside and played a guessing game and he didn’t even come close – yay!

This is the first Christmas where we haven’t done the pillow case thing. Every year since he was born, we have put a big pillowcase at the end of his bed on Christmas Eve and I’ve secretly filled a matching pillowcase with presents. Then, in the very early hours of Christmas morning, I secretly swap the empty pillowcase for the full one and try (unsuccessfully) to go back to sleep. The Santa magicalness of this faded somewhat last year, not only because Ming was 17 and a little old for this but also because Anthony was so ill and, no matter how hard I tried, those gifts were bought in a state of stress rather than my usual euphoria.The brat was disappointed, I was despondent and Ants wasn’t even well enough to eat the huge meal of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. It was a complete fizzog.

So Ming decided that this Christmas there would be no pillowcase and that, instead, we would all get three presents each. So present 1 for Ming is a book about how to play the harp; and present 2 is a voucher for five harp lessons. Can you guess what present 3 is?


Love story 120 – Romance

When Anthony suddenly transformed from a macho machine into a rose-buying romantic all those years ago, it was a massive shock to me. As a macho machine, he was never demonstrative or loving or generous and I was so used to this that the ‘new’ Anthony took a bit of getting used to.  In the nearly 20 years since we’ve been married he has given me the most beautiful gifts: pearls (a few strings), silver bangles (around 20), expensive perfume, a carriage clock, an Omega watch, a couple of other watches, an antique lithograph (well he had wanted this himself), my first ever electronic organizer, my first laptop, a min-tv for my office, a beautifully framed picture of me at my graduation, two antique cameo broaches and the list goes on. Most of these were surprises but over the last few years, since he became too ill with PD to drive, he would tell me to go and buy my own Christmas and birthday presents with instructions like “Go and buy yourself a nice frock” which is ludicrous of course since I haven’t worn a dress since I was around five years old so I would come home with expensive jeans or boots instead! It wasn’t as magical to have to choose my own presents but after a year or so I began to look forward to this. I would ring him from whatever shop and tell him I was trying to choose between this bangle and that bangle and he would always say, “Get the best one, Jules.” So I would!

Don’t get me wrong. When the dairy industry was thriving and I was working, we were comfortably off, but not wealthy and Anthony, having always been extremely scroogy careful with money, continued to astound me with his birthday and Christmas gifts to me. But perhaps the best and most extraordinary gift was his ability to say “I love you, Jules.” The first time he said this, a few seconds before he proposed marriage, I laughed because I thought he was joking. For him the word ‘love’ was a definite taboo and whenever I had used it on him he had shrugged and grinned, but never reciprocated. Since the first time he said these words, he has said them every single day of our marriage and they have not lost their power.

Lately, love has become the main topic of conversation for him. When I am in the nursing lodge, or he is on a visit home, or on the phone, he talks about this big love we have for each other and his eyes smile even though his mouth can’t. He loves talking about love, so much so that I sometimes say, “Yeah, okay, I get it!”

After months of rather mopey misery on his part, Anthony seems to have finally accepted what is, so when I see him, his eyes light up, and he almost yells, “Jules!” He does this on the phone too and seems to have stopped begging me for the impossible – to bring him home to stay. Our conversations are lighter. Of course the confusion and disorientation of PDD is still there but this love-talk seems to bypass that and now, when I leave the nursing lodge, I say goodbye with a smile because I know he knows that I am in love with him too.

A few years ago


Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Despite the fact that I don’t like cupcakes, or any cake for that matter, and I am a little nervous of cauldrons, I have been following this wonderful blog for some time. Cauldrons and Cupcakes is a blog about “creativity, spirituality & life,” written by a fantastic woman, Nicole Cody.

Recently I entered her ‘win a healing necklace’ competition simply by commenting on this particular post:

Well, I won!!!!!! The necklace arrived yesterday and it’s beautiful. Here is what it looks like:

In Nicole’s handwritten card to me she explained that the darker pink stones are Pinks Tarmaline “for joy and happiness – and to bring back your passion for living – it’s a great antidote to grief, depression and loss”; the light pink stones are Rose Quartz “for unconditional love, nurture, heart healing and emotional soothing”; and the Pink Pearls are “for spiritual guidance, Angelic realm support and connection, and acceptance of what is.”

I am crazy about the necklace and can’t wait to show Anthony.

Thank you so much, Nicole!

Oh and you can find her here:

And guess what? She is Australian, like me – yeeha!