Autumn Tales

May 5th 2002

Autumn has set in and I get lost in the beautiful colours of the leaves outside my bedroom window, as they turn from luminous greens, to rich and warm orange and auburn’s. It’s been a month since my last round of chemo, and I have definitely felt better for the break.

But I’m back on the medical travelator now, having just finished my first cycle of a new regime of chemotherapy a couple of days ago.

I had a lovely month off and did as much adventuring as my body would allow me. The simplest things with my Fairy would make our days and we delighted in enjoying each other’s company.

Even though I had high hopes of walking back into oncology to see the ‘Gara Angelis’ the other day with a cute mod crop of new hair growth. My hopes were quickly dashed when I realised, the only few little hairs growing back, were all on the end of my chin. Cancer is mean! And if I saw it close up, I’d poke its eye out!

So because it’s been a while since I’ve written, I wanted to split my entry into three parts..….. that I have called Autumn Tales.

So much to share with you!

Back to 4 weeks ago…..

Easter April 5th


It couldn’t have been a better break from the ‘hard juice’. My fairy was on school holidays, the Brave Man took time off work and we had one of the most memorable Easter’s we’ve had in a long time.

So as soon as we could, we packed the car and headed down to our ‘beautiful haven’ near the beach. First stopping off at Lily Pond, my most favourite shop in the world. And because it’s owned by the Braveman’s older brother and his wife, makes it even extra special.



We had our Fairy’s best friend Billi with us and wanted to show the girls the gorgeous Easter window display. There were bunnies galore and my Fairy was in her element.

We wandered through the whimsical emporium of old french ribbon and freshly ironed antique linen tablecloths and ran our fingers along the old French cloche’s bell jars, that were once used to protect the vegetables from the chrisp French country air. As we admired the beautiful curved table legs that belonged to an old writing desk that they had found in the south of France, we found ourselves back at the front of the shop again, only wanting to go back for more wandering to lose ourselves in the ‘frenchness‘ of it all.

The music of French singer Serge Gainsborough, could be heard in the background and as the girls played behind the counter with Sienna’s cousin Tamsin with ribbons and buttons, making pretties and wrapping French mints. We savoured our ‘welcoming macaroons’ whilst my shopping delights were wrapped by my quiet niece Rosanna. With a beautiful old French cheeseboard, my first ever feather duster, (can never be too late to own a feather duster) along with reels of ribbon I couldn’t resist, amongst other bibs and bobs.

We bid our au revoirs and continued our journey.






Arriving at the Farmhouse

Our Besty Troops came to the farm house for Easter, Dan, Narelle and their three girls, Billi, Alice and Dusty. Also some new friends who were visiting from Sweden. We had met them through our Besty Troops when we travelled to Sweden this time last year.

It was so lovely to share our house in amongst our magical setting with ‘Swedish’ Mike, Maria, their little boy Charlie and baby Daisy. Although I did think that the 6 hour drive it took them to get their, would almost be like driving from Stockholm to Italy. Still we were humbled that they made the time to come and see us and we loved their company.

For a while, amongst the laughter and frevovility I forgot I was sick. In fact, if it wasn’t for my big white beaming bald head that could be seen from Mars, I think we might have all forgotten for a moment.

The time together was very special and I appreciated every moment. From the culinary delights that Dan would produce in the kitchen, even using the fresh herbs from our organic veggie patch, we were all spoilt from morning until night with his tantalising cooking.

Even the kids would be involved in the cooking, making deliscious fish tacos on Good Friday.

During the day, they would all head off adventuring and I would take the opportunity for a rest at home. I wanted to be with them all the time, but knew my tired body wouldn’t get that far, so I just saved up for the afternoon family board and card games.

All A bit of a shock

My Braveman enjoyed this special time too, discovering special beer brews from around the region, to share with Dan and ‘Swedish’ Mike.

One early chilly morning my Braveman and Dan decided to head out for some ‘man time’. I love the Braveman doing this, it’s so important for his headspace to have ‘man time’. So they packed the fishing rods, tackle and stinky bait and set off at 5am to find a good place to fish as they watched the sunrise.

Four hours later they came back, cold, no fish, but big stories to tell.

Apart from confessing their guilt for driving through a campsite in their loud four wheel drive at 5 am, no doubt waking the poor campers from their slumber. (Note to self….just reconfirming that this is the very reason I don’t camp!)

They set off to find the ‘mouth of the river’.  “Apparently”, the best place for catching the fish, also a great place to get your car bogged after heavy rain. And it was no time before they found themselves in a big bad bastard boggy situation.

Of course there was the thought of asking the campers down the road for some help, but given their early wake up call thanks to the ‘city bush bashers’, they thought better of it.

I can only imagine what went on in that car and it wouldn’t have been singing ‘Kum Ba Yah’ and asking the Lord for some help. Instead, a lot of swearing, laughing, swearing, panicking and even a little perspiration in the ‘man pit area’. My Braveman, (bless his little cotton socks), put his ‘practical pants on’ and read the instruction book and apart from learning how to change the clock and what some of the dashboard symbols meant, it was as about as helpful as driving through a bunch of sleeping campers at 5 in the morning.

But then they came up with the clever idea of placing the door mats under the wheels to get some traction in the action’ and off they went.

No doubt there would have been a lot of relief, laughing and chest beating as they sped back to home.

The morning was producing a beautiful sunrise and the Braveman couldn’t resist stopping to take a photo. Of course Dan being a perfectionist had to find the best spot for scenery and sunrise, everything had to be aligned and in order. It sounded all very ‘roMANtic.’

Finally the perfect spot! The Braveman got out the ‘big kahoona’ lens and as Dan was taking in the serenity while his brave mate steadied himself on the fence to take the perfect shot. A piercing yelp echoed out over the valley. Not only did the Braveman find the most perfect shot, he would also feel an instant shot of his own, as 7,000 volts were blasted up his ‘rectum intestinum’ and out through his ear canals as his elbows lent on the electric fence.

Mmmmm I bet he was thinking about how happy he was to get up at 4:45am that morning!

The kidlets got up early on Easter Sunday, (no surprises there) Full of an excited buzz as they put on their layers of clothes and warm jackets ready to go out into the chilly air, ready for the Easter Egg Hunt.

They were met at the door by some ‘busy bunny paw prints’ left from the night before, and a half munched carrot. Shame the handy-work wasn’t really noticed as they excitedly barrelled through the door to go hunting.

With a ready, set,  go, they were off like a bunch of crazies at an annual stocktake sale. Darting from one tree to another, looking under leaves in branches and amongst the dew soaked grass. As soon as one would call, “I’ve found one!”, the other’s would follow. Until about 350 multi coloured wrapped chocolate Easter eggs were found.

Yes, there was a little miscommunication with egg quantities (mainly mine) and each child found about 70 each.

See, cancer is mean, it makes you feel all guilty that your child isn’t happy enough so you have to buy things in bulk, tell her a thousand times a day that she’s loved and she’s so clever and kind and try so hard not to get cross with her when you’ve asked for the 43rd time to go and brush her teeth. Arghhhh, I hate cancer guilt!


That morning, many coloured eggs were counted, hot cross buns were eaten as well as, a lot of CHOCOLATE!

I desperately wanted Charlie who was only 6, to see some kind of Australian wildlife, whilst visiting. But these timid animals are shy, so there wasn’t going to be a guarantee that they would come out to meet our little Swedish visitor. So I had a backup plan just in case he didn’t get to see any. … BIG KEV! The giant blow up Kangaroo!


When Charlie went off bush walking with his mum and dad, Big Kev finally made his bush debut! The girls sought much delight in hiding him in amongst the trees to surprise Charlie when he got back.

Big Kev was ‘king of the gum trees’, he looked so splendid sitting up there for all of the 3 seconds until he blew over. But Charlie was happy, Kev made a very good punching buddy for him. I think he was a bit over being there amongst all the giggly girls and needed some ‘rough and tumble time’, poor Kev.


The mornings were fun and all the girls, Sienna, Alice, Billi and Dusty would jump in the bed for cuddles, I never feel sad anymore about my dream of having lots of kidlets when these girls are around. They’re eternally full of love and cuddles for us.

We only had our friends for a few days before they had to go home. As we said our good-byes it started sprinkling with rain, and by the time they had driven to the start of Wait-A-While Road, a beautiful rainbow appeared and wished them “good journey.”

The next few days it was just the three of us, and although we missed the happy noise in the house, I got a little bit more rest which was what I needed.

With my extra energy, I managed to do more things. During the day, my fairy and I played ‘hide and seek’ amongst the gum trees, ‘frog hunting’ around the dam and finally the three of us put our lovely letter box on the front of our house that our Besty Troops had made for us. We went adventuring around the old tracks and spotted wild deer frolicking down a farmer’s track, caught up with the local wallabies and enjoyed the never disappointing view of  Cape Otway. At night, I made pie for Gary with a love heart and our initials on the top, just like when we first met and were falling in love. Cooked ‘homey’ dinners for us all and taught my fairy how to cook chicken pie.

It was nice to look after and nurture my little family after such a long time.

A few days later, my lovely parents came and it was terrific to see my mum looking and feeling much better. She’s come along way, and it was great to receive good results with her recent scans.

My kind gentle Dad has enrolled in a 4 week course at University to learn about Astronomy. He wanted to do something nice for his Grand daughters who he adores so much, so he decided to learn about the stars and planets, buy a telescope and teach his granddaughters about what goes on in the skies above. I couldn’t think of a nicer thing a Grandfather could do for his grand kids.

After spending a glorious ten days on the farm, we were full of love and happy as larks.

But a niggling secret pain in my stomach would get worse and took a little shine away from my happiness. I knew I would have to tell my Braveman when we got home.

1 thought on “Autumn Tales”

  1. Rachel, I don’t know if I am laughing or crying when I read your posts. The hugs and kissed and ‘I love you’s and adventures and discoveries and noise and laughter make motherhood amazing, don’t they? It might be cancer guilt telling them we love them a million times a day, but I think it’s just because we are crazy in love with our girls. Kirsten x (p.s. One year anniversary of diagnosis for me tomorrow. It’s been a long long year.)

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