Photos from Home, 2003-2005
I've not shown you much of where I'm from, so here are a couple of shots from home.
The concrete dragon looks after me. His name is Alastair and he sits at my front door. I think every home needs a dopey looking concrete dragon. My mum has one in the loo who's equally as dopey as Alastair.
Alastair is named after an old boss of mine who had very little hair and a permanent dopey look on his face.
Alastair has been through a number of house moves, he gets bumped by the hoover twice a week, tripped over regularly. Though he can be a nuisance, he's very good at holding the door open.
This is my mother's kangaroo, Mabel and her joey. Mabel is not a pet kangaroo, more she's one of the Eastern Greys that frequent my mother's garden. She's quite used to people. I took this one morning when I was staying down at the bed and breakfast. I got within about three metres of her when I took this. She was unperterbed and continued to munch on the lawn. We hung out together for about half an hour on this day, just sizing each other up.
Going to my Mum's place is cool in that you often find roos under the clothes line in the morning when you get up - or they're in the driveway when you get home at night. Going for a walk up the hill into the scrub behind the house you often find a group of them sleeping in the sun.
Eastern Greys have really pretty faces.
This is possibly the last photo taken of my grandmother.
Taken on Boxing Day in 2003, I dropped in to see her in the nursing home before going back to Melbourne.
I was only with her for 20 minutes, her dinner was about to arrive and I was shooed away. This was normal behaviour. NOTHING interrupted dinner time.
She had a massive stroke a few days later, clung to life just to see the New Year in and passed away in the first few days of January, 2004.
Some facts about Gran.
She was born in a gold mining town in 1899, the youngest of six. Her father used to drive the Nhill Express train. He was with the railroads all his life.
She saw two world wars, Federation, the abolition of capital punishment, the invention of the telephone, computer, car, bus, washing machines, television. She could only use some of these. She never learned to drive.
One of my grandmother's brothers was at Gallipoli.
Another was stationed on the Western Front in France.
She married my grandfather in 1923.
When she died, she had three children, twelve grandchildren, about fifteen great grandchildren and a smattering of great, great grandchildren.
Of the family, many have gone into service industries - nurses, doctors, police, clergy. There are two Order of Australias, a number of doctorates and many university degrees floating around the family. She never made it past the second year of high school, instead, she was farmed out to her brothers to look after their children and to do some factory work.
She taught me how to knit and crochet and bake. Things I love to do now.
She also loved to give me merry hell when she could.
When I was overseas, I wrote to her every month religiously. When abroad on shorter trips, hers was alway the first postcard I wrote.
She loved to read - and read until she lost most of her sight to macular degeneration when she was 100.
She was as deaf as a doorpost most of my life - though we reckon much of this was selective.
She appeared to like me for my irreverence. The card I gave her for her 90th sat on the fridge for nearly ten years. It had a badge on it which read "Living Fossil." The card read, there must be somebody older than you. Inside was a picture of a dinosaur.
I still miss her terribly.
This is an old picture of my niece, Elle. Elle started high school last week. This was taken when she was about four-years-old, doing the pink goodness thing like only a four year old girl can.
Elle is the family princess, all wrapped up in pink, dainty and she has these big brown cow eyes that can beat down most people in seconds. She can bambi with the best of them.
She's cool. She still gives hugs and will sit on your knee and give you a cuddle. I know it won't last, but it's nice to have while it's there.
She's a lovely girl, but this shot captures how I still see her in my mind.