wings and things

The magic of make-believe

One of the most wonderful aspects of being a small child is the magic of ‘make-believe’ – the power of the young imagination to create anything out of anything and to see the world through the lens of magic.

The first time I climbed high up into a tree as a child, the first time Ming saw fog (he was 4), were moments of intense magic – make-believe moments

Anthony is 23 years older than I am so I have no way of knowing what his childhood make-believe moments were. But, as his Parkinson’s disease dementia progresses, I am becoming more amenable to his visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. For example, he often sees dogs or calves in his nursing home room and wants me to shoo them into another ‘paddock’; and, yesterday, he asked me who the small boy was, in the corner of the room. This small boy often features in our faltering conversations.

Anthony: Just over there.
Me: Is it Ming?
Anthony: No, of course it isn’t Ming!
Me: So who is it?
Anthony: I don’t know.
Me: So do you like this kid?
Anthony: I think so.
Me: Okay.

I came home last night in a bit of a quandary. Do I tell Ants he is hallucinating and there isn’t a kid in his room? Why is this hallucinated little boy such a constant presence in Anthony’s room? Who is this little boy, if it isn’t Ming?

Maybe the older Anthony has make-believed himself into his childhood self? I don’t know if this is magic or tragic, but I am trying very hard to figure it out and go with the flow etc.


Memory Lane!

One of the most extraordinary things about my mother’s 80th birthday last week was her gifts to us! To each grandchild she gave beautiful engraved keyrings, and to each of her children – my two brothers and me – she gave a photobook and a CD of photos of our childhood in Canada and Papua New Guinnea. None of us had seen these photos from 30-40 years ago because most of them were on slides; it must have been a hell of a job to get them Cd’ed and it was such a wonderfully unexpected surprise! I keep looking at all of the photos with a mixture of nostalgia and joy; actually I can’t seem to STOP looking at them because I am gobsmacked at how cute I was haha!








One of the best things is to see Dad again; he isn’t in many of the photos because he must have taken most of them – our wonderful father, Brinsley Lane, who died suddenly when we were still in our teens and Mother was just entering her 40s.

Her gift to us is, of course, ongoing – a rich and vibrant record of a strange, varied and unpredictable childhood that is/was so much like Narnia – magical!

Thanks Mama!


The magic of nature!

Okay so here is how the Queenie, the peahen, and her two chicks go to bed every night.

Firstly, she looks around anxiously from the pen (in these photos both peachicks are underneath her).

Then she starts to sort of purr at the chicks, almost as if she is saying ‘follow me’. She begins this restless ritual at 6pm.

She stirs the chicks up a bit and they begin cheeping loudly. At 6.30pm she flies over the fence into the adjacent yard. This photo is just before she launches herself over and away from the chicks.

The two peachicks go into panic mode and try repeatedly to fly after her while, from the other side of the fence, Queenie purrs encouragement. Eventually, one by one, they fly/climb the fence until they reach an opening they can fit through and plop onto the ground on the other side. The smaller peachick takes at least fifteen minutes longer than the other one but once it’s through the fence, they all have a bit of a hug. By this time it is 7pm.

Queenie then flies out of the second pen straight into the avocado tree, then down to the ground to once again beckon the chicks through the second fence. This photo is an old one but it shows the two pens with the avocado tree on the left. It is a long journey for the chicks.

Eventually the chicks get through and arrive at the base of the avocado tree. These two photos don’t include the chicks themselves because they were quickly climbing the trunk to reach their mother. But as you can see it is a well-chosen tree and easier to climb than any of the others.


Queenie then flies up to perch in the avocado tree and purrs at the chicks to follow.

By this time the chicks are cheeping so loudly that it is almost deafening. They try repeatedly to fly/climb the tree only to plop down to the ground again and again. Queenie remains in the tree, purring encouragement, until finally they succeed. It is difficult to spot the chick in the first photo!

Finally, all is quiet. Here is Queenie curled up on her branch with the chicks underneath her wings. It’s 8pm.

The most amazing thing about all of this is that each morning they are all back in the safety of the yard again!



Yesterday was a magical day. My cousin and her daughter are visiting from Sydney and staying with my mother so they all came over with lunch. I haven’t seen my cousin for 15 years and it was wonderful! Ming and my cousin’s daughter are the same age and already friends on FB but there’s nothing like face to face. My mother made the lunch and served everyone which gave me more time with the cousins . It was fantastic and I am still tasting the joy of yesterday and looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow before they go back.

After lunch my mother took them to a magical little corner of our countryside called Gnomesville. I stayed home with Ants.

I had had Anthony wheelchair- taxied home for the event but he was mostly withdrawn and became sullen when he had to go back which always upsets me no matter how much I steel myself for it. His withdrawal isn’t intentional; it’s because he can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, so five people conversing excitedly is impossible. I remember when he was being assessed by a Parkinson’s Disease specialist in a Perth hospital, a kind lady who also had PD, befriended Ants and told him about this inability to focus on more than one thing and both Anthony and I realized how true this was for him too. For me it explained why he had become so silent and for him it was reassuring to know he wasn’t the only one to be confused by crowded conversations.

He is getting more and more shark-eyed. You can kind of see it in the photo below which is from ages ago. Now his eyes are often half closed and he looks at me with what seems an expression of malevolence but is really him trying to focus cognitively (well that’s what I think anyway!) He doesn’t know he’s doing it. Ming, on the other hand, appears to know exactly what he is doing with his eyes in an expression of unadulterated sarcasm! The only resemblance between these two sets of eyes is that they are blue.

[Oh, see that little spot next to Anthony’s left eye? That is now the massive skin cancer I was talking about the other day and, yeeha, we finally have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning!]

Speaking of blue eyes, my photos of Woodroffe’s and Ola’s blue eyes yesterday intrigued a few people one of whom was Susan at

She is a talented poet and I can’t always keep up with her blog because she is so prolific. I suggested she might write a poem to go with the blue-eyed geese and within what seemed like minutes, she wrote this:

blue topaz eyes
chipped ice set in softness–
unexpected jewels


So I decided to try and find a few more photos of the blue eyes!

And then I found this one. I had forgotten that the geese have an ability to change their eye colour if prompted.