Wednesday, 24 December 2014

If Music Be The Food Of Love Play On

I've touched before in the blog on my sweet clients who moved to Mount Tamborine from Western Australia and became friends. We don't really see enough of them because life for both of us gets in the way, but when we do catch up it's like staggering into an oasis from the wasteland of the Sahara Desert. You know how with some people you just run out of things to say? Well that NEVER happens here, we can talk till the morning wee hours (and frequently do) with barely a pause to catch breath.

Up on Tamborine Mountain there's some small relief from the summer heat; a light breeze taking the sting out of the ridiculously hot 40 plus days we've been having on the coast. When I come here I feel separated both mentally and physically from the coastal strip, like taking a step away from the bittersweet symphony that is my daily life right now. Of course I lived here for a few years, so it's a little like coming home, or finding sanctuary.

This place is a sanctuary in more ways than one, with the township situated in and surrounded by areas of National Park. The animal and bird life is abundant and can be persistent; native birds especially get to know the residents and are not backward in coming forward with requests for snacks. At Stuart and Pamela's house this visit we met Harry and Harriet, a pair of rainbow lorikeets who flew in for sunflower seeds and announced their arrival with shrill trilling songs. These birds may eat from the hand but are still wild; a burning natural curiosity brings them in to watch us just as much as we watch them.

We also met Charlie, a king parrot of indeterminate gender who was definitely here to win friends and influence people judging by his expressions and performance.

He was more reserved than the lorikeets, very interested in proceedings but wary of contact, only hopping onto Stuart's hand after much patient waiting.

Poor Charlie - barely was he settled on Stuart but Harry/Harriet came and shooed him away! Rainbow lorikeets are very bossy birds. They have no idea how to share and no interest in subtlety.

While the birds jostled for attention I got on with The Real Reason for our visit this day, which was to photograph the lovely Evelyn, Pamela's mum.

Evelyn was visiting from Western Australia and I had suggested to Pamela that it might be an opportune time to take Evelyn's portrait, and of course some mother/daughter type photos as well.

For Evelyn this was a surprise, revealed over pre-Christmas afternoon tea. She handled it all like a pro.

Evelyn was a great subject and very easy to talk to, like her daughter. To get my subjects to relax, I often get them chatting about their life, and what a beautiful life I found in this one!

Evelyn and her husband Bill emigrated from British Columbia in Canada when they were both quite young with children in tow (including Pamela) and settled in Australia. Before this, in the nineteen fifties, Bill worked as the magician 'Wilco', with Evelyn as his assistant. It transpires that this was the last time Evelyn had her portrait taken professionally, more than half a decade ago, posing as Wilco's assistant. If I wasn't excited enough by the story Evelyn then produced the photo for me, framed up alongside one of Bill as Wilco. The difference in time between my shots of Evelyn and this one is longer than I have been alive.
I won't reveal Evelyn's age but she and Bill were married for more than 64 years.

Back home in Western Australia, Evelyn tells me she plays her piano every day. She plays for Bill, and he listens from his spot front and centre on the top of the piano, surrounded by photos of family. Bill has been gone for a year now, but Evelyn knows their tune by heart.

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