wings and things

Imagined conversation 75

Me: Picture this, Ants.

Anthony: Picture what?

Me: Well, it happened on the very day I had decided to dress nicely even if just home alone (a psychological trick I have been teaching myself lately to boost my sense of wellbeing).

Anthony: And?

Me: D and J dropped in unexpectedly and I was still in my pyjamas.

Anthony: So what?

Me: It was 2pm. Also, the grass was neck-high due to the fact that the lawnmowing family hadn’t been able to come for awhile, and there were two rabbit corpses at the front door.

Anthony: So what?

Me: I was embarrassed!

Anthony: What did Ming say?

Me: Ming said he was embarrassed by me being embarrassed and that I should stop saying sorry.

Anthony: Sorry for what?

Me: Exactly.

Anthony: Are you okay, Jules?

Me: Yes and no, Ants.

Anthony: Everything will be fine, Jules.


Me: The moonflower had to be cut down recently, Ants, because of the root problem; it was entangled with the un-killable camphor laurel, both of which were attacking the foundations of the house!

Anthony: Being in heaven has given me a new perspective so it is fine with me.

Me: I will never, ever forget the day you took my hand for the first time and rushed me outside to look at the moonflower blooming. At the time I didn’t care at all about the flower; I was too amazed by the shock of my hand in yours.

Anthony: I remember, Jules.

Me: One of my favourite memories, Ants, despite the various difficulties that followed….

Anthony: I miss you, Jules….

Me: And I miss you, Ants, plus I am trying to keep the farm looking good and myself groomed etc.

Anthony: If you do something with your hair, everything will be fine, Jules.

Me: Arghhh!



Time, times, timing and a riddle….

From as far back as I can remember, I have had a problem with the seven-day week, its orderliness and its paradoxical unevenness – either Sunday to the following Saturday, or Monday to the following Sunday or any alternative combination. As a child this did my head in a bit and as for the 24 hours enclosed inside each of the seven days – well, we won’t go there. After all I failed high school maths, ha!

I would much prefer a Sunday to Sunday, Monday to Monday etc. arrangement but of course this would be impossible. Or would it?

As an adult, I still find days and times problematic if I am trying to accomplish something difficult (it used to be the writing of lectures to deliver at the university; then it was what day to do the washing; and now it is how many hours I can spend with Ants in the nursing home).

In wrestling with the aftermath of multiple situations, especially the traumatic ones, I have tried and failed several times now to get back to a normal week, a schedule, a routine, a way of fast-tracking a bad Monday into a hopeful Sunday – that kind of thing….

And earlier this week I thought I had successfully reinvented what my week would be. I had listed goals, routines, early morning meditations, bike rides, photo-scanning, photo-taking, writing ‘the book’, polishing the silver etc. and NONE of this happened!

Instead, I spent the week hugging Ants from time to time as we watched Luther, and, at home, hugging Ming from time to time as we watched Game of Thrones.

I now think it is impossible to reinvent the week. That whole seven day thing still does my head in. My preference now is for moments: Anthony’s unexpected grin; my Mama’s amazing pork with caramelised onions for dinner with my first nephew and his girlfriend last night; reconciliations with friends and relations; cheaper than usual watermelon; photos of my first great-niece, reading Elizabeth Jolley’s biography; picking the last fig today….

And the once-a-year blooms of the magical moonflower.

Anthony: Jules, come out and have a look at this!
Me: What? (amazed that he has taken my hand in his)
Anthony: The moonflower – only happens once a year, kid (removes my hand from his and looks embarrassed).

Me: Ants I brought you two moonflowers, but they’re closing up already! I’ll get a vase.
Ants: You are beautiful, Jules.
Me: Really?
Ants: Just brush your hair.

Is it possible to reinvent what a week was? No.
Is it possible to fall in love again with someone whose disabilities made things difficult? Yes.
Is it possible to reinvent a week in a day-by-day way? Yes! It’s a bit complicated when you use a calendar or diary but an eight-day week, ten-day week (or anything you like) is entirely possible (I think!)

If the moonflower here only has one day of the year to bloom (as has happened here) then what the hell is it doing for the rest of the 364 days?


Temperature fluctuations in Australia’s summer

Western Australia has already had a pretty severe heat wave, causing bush fires in the northern part of our capital city, Perth, but now the heat wave is on the eastern side of Australia with temperatures in the 40s. This is particularly frightening if you live in a forested area (which we don’t because the farm is cleared land), but I feel so concerned for those who have lost their homes and lives and/or have been evacuated or else told it is too late to evacuate.

Over here I think we are in for another hot weekend after a semi-cool week. It always amazes me how a 40 degree C day can be followed by a 25 degree C day. And while we broil downunder, people are freezing in the northern hemisphere. I know several bloggers are suffering this severe weather too and it scares me.

Our figs began ripening a week or so ago only to have shrivelled now and, today, the moonflowers came out but, a few hours later, quickly faltered.


With whatever weather you are experiencing I wish you the best.


A wonderful idea!

This idea has been brewing for awhile now and I have dismissed it a few times, mulled it over a few times, and now, once again, I am seriously thinking it might actually be a very good idea, maybe even a wonderful idea!

I will get a job at Anthony’s nursing lodge.

I’ve only told a few people about this idea and have had very mixed responses. One friend said she couldn’t think of a worse idea; one family member thought it was a strange idea but interesting and Ming said I must truly have gone stark raving mad.

You see, I have recently  (June 30) resigned from my job as a lecturer at the local university. I had worked there, mostly part-time, for over 18 years but over the last two years had been on leave except for supervising two PhD students. This had enabled me to care for Anthony full time.

So now I need a job. And why not work where Anthony is? My enrolled nurse qualifications lapsed some years ago but I could work as a carer or domestic and, even if I didn’t work in Anthony’s section, I could see him in my lunch breaks.

Well, today being the first day of a brand new month, and with all sorts of resolutions unfolding like teamwork with Ming and so on, I just rang the nursing manager at the lodge and asked if this might be possible or would there be some sort of conflict of interest. There was a slight pause but then she said she couldn’t see a problem in the idea and she would leave an application at the front desk for me to fill out tomorrow.

Yeeha – another new beginning!


Wrong way. Go back.

In Western Australia we have big signs wherever roadworks are being done in case people go the wrong way. This can be useful, but it can also be a bit confusing.

It’s a little bit like that with blogging because you get really curious to go down a certain blog path, you like what you are reading/seeing, but you are also uncertain of where exactly you are and sometimes the historical context of where you are, in that person’s blog, takes quite a bit of time, quite a bit of deciphering.

With my own blog, Wings and things, it’s obviously the same experience for new readers or followers because, of course, the latest post is always the most recent and, unless people  have time to go back, they might not ‘get it’ that there are two different-but-same stories running parallel. The Love story is about the past but everything else is about the present.

As many of you already know, my husband has chronic Parkinson’s disease and terminal prostate cancer and is now in a nursing lodge close by. Our 18-year-old son recently had major spinal surgery. And me – I love birds!

I can’t keep up with the many blogs I am interested in, no matter how hard I try, but one thing I like to do is to go back and read the very beginnings of those blogs which is what I hope people will do with mine. It’s not that there is a wrong or a right way necessarily, but going back can be fantastic!

Oh yeah, and if you go back, you will find that I don’t usually do 4 posts in the day. I cheated today with the pics – hehe!


‘This is your life’

A few final moonflowers popped up this morning, but I think they are now finished for the year. How would I know? I got it wrong before!

After a lengthy appointment this morning, to get Son’s post-surgery dressing changed by a nurse and his wound examined by our doctor, we went to visit Husband in the nursing lodge. Son was in his back brace and the pain had kicked in again so he took one of his pills before seeing Husband. I filled Husband in on the latest details about Son’s next few months of convalescence – the physiotherapy he would need, the fact that he isn’t allowed to lift even two kilos, his moody frustration and so on. Husband wanted to come home to help and I had to explain that this wouldn’t help, that it would make things harder as I would have two invalids to look after (yeah, sometimes my words don’t come out the way I intend them to).

Apparently Son will never be able to do this again:

Husband insisted on walking us out to the car even though he was quite wobbly. As we drove off, I saw him in the rear vision mirror, standing in parking lot, leaning on his walking stick looking so forlorn I wanted to reverse the car and rescue him, bring him home, but I couldn’t because by then Son’s pain was so bad he needed to lie down, so I had to rush home. I was crying (which Son says I do too much of) because I had forgotten to harden my heart.

Okay, so one of the things that has been said to me by my beautiful friends and family is this: “Soon you will get your life back. It will get better.” Now, whilst I agree with the latter, I don’t understand the former because this IS my life and Husband and Son ARE my life. Yes, I have my writing, the birds, my connection to the local university and many other joys, including this blog, and Husband and Son have never made me feel guilty for the time I spend writing. Bravo to them.

You know what I miss most? Sitting out on the front veranda with Husband and Son and chatting together every evening as the sun went down. We didn’t do this often enough in the recent months as Husband’s Parkinson’s disease got the better of him, but those conversations were the best! I don’t want a future without Husband here, but I know that he and I both have to adjust to that reality. And I don’t want a future without Son’s company but, once his spine is completely healed, he will inevitably leave to pursue his many dreams. Yeah, I know I’ve already posted this photo but this is the three of us back in 2009 when things were okay-ish.

Soon it will just be the birds and me.

This is my life and, despite the difficult, sad bits, every single micro-second with Husband and Son has been joy.

I don’t want any other life!


Moonflower miracles

They’re back again!

This is late yesterday, the day of Son’s homecoming.

And this is early this morning:

I counted eight of them! One of Son’s favourite numbers is seven.

Nothing’s perfect!


Late bloomers!

This morning I looked out the window to see three perfect moonflowers! I thought we would have to wait until next year (see my ‘moonflower’ posts), so this was a fantastic surprise. In the middle of the photo below you can see the brown shrivelled remains of the previous moonflowers. And, by the time it takes me to finish this post, the three late bloomers will have begun to close up, droop and fade. Their lives are so short and yet so full.

When I was younger and more prayerful than I am now, I used to look for signs all the time – like divine signs I mean. I soon discovered that if you spend all your time looking for divine signs, you end up tripping over your feet a lot! Nevertheless, these three late blooming moonflowers do seem like a good sign.

The fact that there are only three seems like a good sign is rather lovely too – one for Husband, one for Son and one for me. Well, why not!

We have another late bloomer here too – the Malay rooster. As you may or may not recall, he is the offspring of the Malay hen who was given to us months ago. He is now almost full grown and hangs out with the other two roosters, Tina Turner and No-name. The reason No-name doesn’t have a proper name is because, after the fox massacre of so many of our chooks, I stopped naming them.

No-name has a hell of a crow on him – he never stops crowing, day and night, and is much louder than Tina. Perhaps he is trying to prove that he deserves a better name than No-name because he will also sit on my lap and likes to be patted.

I was assuming/hoping that all of the (recently) missing hens were hiding somewhere, sitting on eggs but it’s now been way too long since I’ve seen any of them which can only mean that they have been ‘foxed’. I live in hope however that one day a zillion little chickens will emerge from underneath one of the many sheds. After all, I never expected to see another moonflower this year.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Malay. Isn’t he beautiful!  I have decided to call him Moonflower. It’s worth the risk….


Moonflowers 2

I can’t believe it! When I wasn’t able to get a picture of the moonflowers yesterday, I was frustrated but I didn’t panic because last January the blooming went on for a few days. In previous years they’ve only flowered on a single day. Well, it looks like this is one of those years, so I have missed out on my prize-winning photograph!

Oh well. Here’s what they look like once the sun gets to them. You’ll have to wait for next January to see what they look like in all their glory. In the meantime, all you have to do is use your imagination and ‘see’ them the way they are when the moon kisses them.



Well, Son and I have now figured out where the zoom button is on my new camera so this morning, when I looked out the back window to see the moonflowers blooming, I felt a sense of exhilaration. You see they only bloom once a year and they are breathtakingly beautiful and HUGE! As many of you know, I am very un-gardenish and fairly unobservant as well (Husband calls it tunnel vision), but nobody could fail to be drawn to the magic of the moonflower. Apparently, there are various kinds of moonflower but what makes them special is that they bloom at night, then, when the sun comes up, they close.

Many moons ago, Husband, before he was Husband, and before I even knew him very well (I was employed by his mother at the time – another story), grabbed my hand one morning and pulled me out the back door to see the moonflowers in full bloom, but closing their petals fast. I was absolutely enchanted for two reasons, the first being the flowers and the second being my hand in his. You see, while he was explaining about the moonflower, Husband-to-be didn’t let go of my hand. It was many moons later that our romance bloomed but that morning was, I think, the beginning.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, when I saw the moonflowers this morning I knew I only had a limited time to take photos before they closed up. And I knew how to zoom – yeeha! So I grabbed my camera and raced outside and turned it on, with my finger ready on the zoom button. But nothing happened. Then I looked at the black screen to see the message: replace battery. Argh! So, while Son is attempting to recharge my camera, I am watching those moonflowers close, one by one, and now, in the heat of mid-morning, I have lost the race.

Oh well, there are a lot more buds on the tree, bush or whatever it is, so tomorrow, at dawn, I will be ready with my camera, ready to zoom in on those elusive, fantastic flowers.