She comes to the door of the B&B, her smile is 100 watt dazzle. Slumped over the walking frame, she looks a couple of generations older, but I’m sure she’s not. Her home is period. She tells me it was cut and transported piece by piece from Kalgoorlie where it was a boarding house. It is endlessly large with high ceilings. She has beautiful taste. She bought the home for a pittance and renovated it faithful to the period. Everything in the home was bought for next to nothing. Huge jarrah posts discarded by a farmer for $8 a piece, she tells me, laughter making her eyes shine. We both know the posts would cost hundreds of dollars in the city. Stained glass windows discarded by someone else exchanged or bartered, one is always lucky to find them, we know this too. She has polished, painted and brushed it all back to life from another century. She has grand plans for so much more and not allowed pain or limited mobility to dampen her enthusiasm.
My bedroom is blue and white. The bed, one of the most comfortable I’ve had in a long time. I was too exhausted to eat, so I lay down in the white warmth and slept fitfully only to wake early evening to water running. I follow the sound outdoors.Her garden is a delight. I stop to take a picture here and there.The ornamental almond tree was frosted white.The ornamental peach tree bloomed elsewhere.There were bulbs bejewelled with bees.I found this in one corner, my camera sees what she hasn’t in a long time. “How on earth did that bloom there?”, she asks me, and we both laugh at her surprise. I loved the white flowers in another corner and asked her what they were. She tells me, they are English May, a cutting from her grandmother’s garden. It’s something she cherishes. Not hard to see why.She is seated on a plastic chair, crutches to the side, water hose in hand dousing dirt in front of her with about 15 silver eye keeping her company. They dig into the damp soil for tasty morsels. She giggles like a little girl at their antics.
I step away into the background, camera in hand and reflect.
If this is old age ….
Until next time
a dawn bird