wings and things

This, that….


Well I got back from Perth last week and the first thing I did was to rush to my new beaut vegetable garden and also check the chooks. I fed and watered both with a sense of quiet glee.

The second thing I did was to go inside and log on. When nothing happened I didn’t panic since all the green lights were indicating merrily that the internet wasn’t too far away.

Six hours later, having spoken to six different technical support people, all of whom were amazingly patient, kind and positive (with the exception of one woman whose sighs, when I didn’t understand her click34xcableetc instructions, became thunderous on loudspeaker) were confident.

At one point, during this ungleeful, longwinded experience, I rang Ming who said that when he got home he’d sort it out in a jiffy. Well he tried, and even spoke to other technical support people, to no avail.

The Ming then said, with great compassion and a generous hug, “Maybe you’re just not intelligent enough, Mum….?”

I let his observation linger for the ten days during which I had no internet except via my phone. When I began to get the 5s mixed us with the Ss, I gave up.

Anyway, yesterday the replacement modem arrived at the post office and Ming picked it up, brought it home, connected it and voila!

So what am I supposed to do now? I can’t possibly answer all of the zillions of emails and comments and facebooky stuff; I can’t possibly catch up on ten days of my blog friends’ blogs; I can’t even catch up with what I was going to do before I lost the internet because my blog kind of reminded me of what to do.

I survived my ten day blip of no internet, but the person most affected by my off-the-internet-radar status was my beautiful mother. Meg and I have a strong internet relationship via email and Facebook, but she is more attentive to messages than I am, so, when I lost the internet, she was the first to miss me.

And today is her birthday. She is 81, looks 61 and acts like 21. So today Meg came to the farm to see the vegetable garden then we went to a local winery for lunch. The secret surprise was that Ming and A. would join us and that was a fantastic thing!

It’s great to be blogging again. That internet blip taught me something really profound: I need the internet!

One of the hardest things for me now is having fun – the guilt of it. Lunches with friends, learning how to garden with new friends, figuring out the future, altering and/or discarding things in this old house, renewing ….

and the other….




Not long after one of Anthony’s nephews had visited us the other day (at the nursing home), during which we all shared a lucid conversation, Ants suddenly said ….

Anthony: I need a dressmaker.


Anthony: A dressmaker. I want to make a dress.

Me: But I don’t wear dresses! I’d rather eat a raw egg than wear a dress! I HATE dresses!

Anthony: Not for you.

Me: So who do you want to make a dress for?

Anthony: For Stuart [this is not the real name of the nephew].

Me: Why the hell would Stuart want a dress?

Anthony: I just want to make him one.

Me: Anthony, are you kidding around or are you really crazy?

Anthony: Just find me a dressmaker, Jules.

Me: Okay, if you say so.

By then I could no longer contain my laughter at the image of Stuart in a dress that Anthony had somehow made for him. I hugged Anthony tight, guffawing, then told him I still loved him even though he was stark, raving mad – and he gave me one of his wonderful smiles.


This is, by far, the most bizarre conversation I have ever had with Anthony because I couldn’t find a reference point for it. I am wondering today if it could be the outfits worn by the cast of The Good Wife (a series we are watching), but that still wouldn’t explain why Anthony would want to make a dress for his nephew!

One of the things I have decided to stop doing, though, is to try to make sense of nonsense. And I am not being disparaging of Anthony when I say that he often talks nonsense because this is a fact.


Okay so I tease him a bit when he talks nonsense but that’s all part of the fun really. In fact, I actually find our nonsense conversations absolutely fascinating and much more pleasant than these …..

Anthony: When are you taking me home?


Me: I can’t. You’re too heavy. Stop asking me to do the impossible.

Anthony: I’m sorry I’m such a disaster.

Me: You’re not a disaster. You have Parkinson’s disease.

Now those no-nonsense conversations are the ones that are heartbreaking.

I prefer nonsense!


Note: I took a whole lot of photos yesterday to show Anthony today in the hope that he will feel as if he has been home.




Ming and I have very different priorities which is not unusual in a mother and son relationship. This means that he has had a rather bemused, and sometimes annoyed, attitude to the last few weeks of what I have decided to call my “house to home” project. And, due to his man-of-the-house attitude we have had a fair few power wrangles.

So I didn’t tell him that I had booked a lovely couple who run a business called ‘Household heroes’ to clean the windows inside and out. When I accidentally let it slip that they were coming on Monday, he became angry and this was our rather fraught conversation:

Ming: Why didn’t you tell me?
Me: I thought we agreed last week that I was the boss.
Ming: Well, why didn’t you ask me to do the windows? I should be doing it!
Me: Because you’re working full time and actually I think I did ask you.
Ming: No you didn’t!
Me: Well, maybe I hinted that we could do it together?
Ming: Why don’t we then?
Me: So do you want me to cancel the window cleaning people and we do it ourselves tomorrow?
Ming: But tomorrow is my day off! I want to have fun!
Me: In that case, could we do it together next week?
Ming: What’s your problem with the windows anyway, Mum?
Me: They’re dirty.
Ming: So?
Me: I want them to be clean.
Ming: Why?
Me: Because they always used to be clean and now they have been dirty for three years!
Ming: So?
Me: Okay so you want me to ask you to help me with the windows but you don’t really want to and you don’t care that the windows are dirty?
Ming: I don’t care at all!
Me: In that case, I won’t cancel the window cleaners, okay?
Ming: Fine then!

Yes, Ming and I have quite a lot of these circular conversations but, in the end, we can usually stifle our different priorities in order to watch Game of Thrones in the evening.

So the window cleaners came on Monday and did the most fantastic job over nearly four hours, Dina and I decluttered the wash house at the same time, and Ming skedaddled!

The following photos are not remarkable in themselves; what is remarkable is that they are all taken through clean windows. Hurray!


The thing is, I do understand Ming’s feelings of alarm at all of this tidying up because I guess he has become used to a mother (me) who has been sort of stuck for so long that he has forgotten the lightning speed with which I used to get things done – ha!

And tonight he is making dinner for me! Hopefully this will become a new priority for the Ming – gotta love him!


‘At home’

It is several weeks now since I began the routine of making myself at home in Anthony’s room at the nursing home. Sometimes I am there from noon to 5pm, but mostly from 2-5pm. The fact that I am always there at sundown has been a plus, and sometimes Ants thinks he is at home. My mother visits him at least once a week and told me that I had made a little ‘Bythorne’ there (that’s the name of our farm). I now write everything Anthony says to me in a notebook because I am fascinated at how someone with encroaching dementia can to-and-fro from past to present, from memory to imagination, from anxiety to exhilaration. But his grief when I leave to go home can be very upsetting because I have to explain that I am going back to Bythorne and he has to stay in the nursing home. Anthony doesn’t always understand this and thinks I am abandoning him so it is always a difficult ‘goodbye’ but I think I have figured out how to make it easier with a bit of banter – not sure yet.


The smile

Not quite sure how a light-hearted bird blog transmogrified into Julie’s gutspill but I am hoping to turn that around again soon. Tomorrow is Ming’s second court hearing so I guess I am a little bit anxious because I have just found out that this is when he will plead guilty. Apparently there is no risk that he will be whisked off to jail tomorrow so that is good and I am no longer sure what the hell I am crying about any more. Sad and happy tears look exactly the same, so it’s confusing.

Queenie camouflages the chicks so well that they are almost invisible to predators. I wish I could do this for Ming but he is a little too big and obvious!


Yesterday afternoon I took two beers into the nursing home and Anthony and I had a drink together (the way we always used to at home). I apologised for my melodrama yesterday and he just said ‘Any time, Jules – I know you.’ Mmmm!

Then we had a rather weird but lovely interchange:

Ants: I just want you to come home.
Me: You mean here?
Ants: Yes, here – Bythorne.
Me: We’re not at Bythorne now, Ants, we’re at Wattle Hill Lodge.
Ants (trying not to look confused): That’s right.
Me (trying not to notice his confusion): Exactly – this is our second home.
Ants: So why are you leaving?
Me: Because I have to take dinner home to Ming.
Ants (hallucinating): Is that Ming there in the corner?
Me: No – he’s at Bythorne.
Ants: So where are we now?
Me: Wattle Hill.
Ants: So where is home?

At this point, I felt a bit lost, so I knelt down in front of him and threw my arms around him and said (rather profoundly I think now haha!) “Wherever you are, Ants, that is my home.”

And I finally got a bloody smile!


A midnight visitor!

Yesterday evening when Anthony sent me home he was worried about me being myself on the farm with Ming away for the weekend. I reassured him by saying that I love being alone (which I do). But I was disappointed that my idea of staying the night at the nursing lodge didn’t work out. Well I am so glad it didn’t work out because at ten minutes past midnight, someone knocked loudly on the front door and frightened the hell out of me (I was in the middle of watching a murder mystery on television). I thought Ming must have decided to come home from Perth after all so I opened the door without hesitating.

Well, it wasn’t Ming. It was a young hairy guy looking for his lost dog! I said I hadn’t seen it and closed the door thinking it was a weird time to be looking for a lost dog. Then I realized there probably wasn’t any lost dog and the guy was probably casing the joint (is that the expression?) So I peeked out the window, through the blinds, to make sure he had driven away – yes, phew – then I watched the rest of the murder mystery.

If I had stayed the night at the nursing lodge, it is almost without a doubt that we would have been burgled!


Home is where the heart is

I had planned to get Anthony home today, then decided to wait until the weekend so I could also invite some friends to see him. So I left a message with the nursing staff this morning, then rather guiltily rang him this evening. I needn’t have worried because Anthony thought he was home anyway. This is how our rather strange conversation unfolded:

Anthony: Jules, I’m at Bythorne [that’s the name of our farm]
Me: Are you?
Anthony: Yes, where are you?
Me: Well I thought I was at Bythorne.
Anthony: That’s okay then.
Me: Why do you think you’re at Bythorne, or are you kidding?
Anthony: I don’t just think I’m at Bythorne; I AM at Bythorne.
Me: I thought you were at the nursing lodge.
Anthony: No, I’m at Bythorne! When are you coming home?
Me: I won’t be long.
Anthony: That’s good. I miss you.
Me: Well you sound pretty happy.
Anthony: I am! I love you, Jules.
Me: I love you Ants.

The dementia that is part of Anthony’s Parkinson’s Disease always kicks in after sundown (I blogged about ‘sundowner syndrome once before). But this is the first time he has thought he was at home.

I felt a surge of joy about this because he sounded so happy, but it was a bit surreal.


Home tomorrow

It is the beginning of my third and last evening at the resort and I have only just stopped ‘hearing’ Gutsy9’s little chirp in my imagination!

Home tomorrow.


The email worked!

The email I sent myself included the following suggestions. Here are my ‘answers’!

Get your act together.

I am not an actor.

You are doing fine.

No, I’m not.

Make a great meal.

I made chicken noodle soup from scratch last night – will that do?

Go for a walk.

I walked around the house and around the yard twice.

Forget about your NanoWriMo failed attempt – get back to your half-written novella.

I think I may have trashed that novella.

Make a list of things you need to do and put it on the frig.

The list needs several frigs.

Recharge your camera and start taking photos again!

I am still searching for the recharging thingy.

Get the paper work sorted into categories and do NOT panic.

I have found all of the paperwork and placed it neatly into a box.

Try to conjure something to look forward to.

Fame and fortune.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

I’m not!

Stop sulking.


Practise smiling in front of the mirror.

This was a very good idea but I think I need one of my teeth capped.

Keep going.

I am, you idiot!


Is talking to yourself the first sign of madness?


Little luxuries

1. A hot bubble bath.

2. A food processor that will make meals all by itself and not cut anybody’s fingers off.

3. A clothes dryer that dries everything in an emergency.

4. A vaccum cleaner that works properly.

5. A lawnmower that works properly.

6. A Spring that stops raining.

7. A bonfire that keeps burning instead of fizzling out.

8. A son who doesn’t answer back.

9. A husband who smiles.

10. A different me.

I don’t have any of these things but I live in hope!