the swamp wallaby was dagging around off the edge of the verandah
just outside the paper mache room,
I stopped in my tracks ,
even after 20 odd years I love to stop and observe.
it was eating the yellowed peach leaves lying on the ground
and didn’t mind us having a gork.
Kingston was brought onto the verandah in Gregs arms
immediately raising his voice and flapping an arm in excitement
then very softly he says hellooo…
wallaby munched on mostly unperturbed, the ear swivelling to keep track of us.
The paper mache room was a fun project
begun one day after discussions around
the conformity of building.
an idea to explore something other took shape.
we started with tomato stakes,
maybe the tomato season was over or we were growing them stakeless that year.
we tied stakes together with tie wire
creating a frame on which we could hang cardboard.
we chose the south-western corner of the verandah
and yes it meant that the verandah would no longer be accessible all the way around.
mmm probably debated that one a good long while.
for the children the verandah was one of the play spaces,
rolling skating, learning to write two-wheeler bikes,
market stalls when they wanted money and we had to buy
and of course the scene for their theatre productions.
forging ahead we attached cardboard with one of my most favourite tools
the staple gun.
so easy with so many applications.
no gal should be without one.
after attaching the cardboard
we applied layers of paper, magazine, newsprint using a cornflour glue
with a bit of tansy thrown in to ward off silverfish and their elk.
shelves were shaped all the way around the room
leaving spaces for windows and odd bits of funky coloured glass.
a paper mache door was custom made to fit.
not a problem because
at that time we were really into paper mache
making bowls and trays
and coffee tables
and giant flowers 15 foot high.
it was easy to mould a room
anyone could help, and they did
taking shape over many years.
well actually, if truth be told
it is still in the ongoing project basket
nothing is ever really finished here,
like life continuing
until, it doesn’t.
but then I reckon it still does,
just in another format.
as a protective measure we decided to overlay
hessian on the outside which we then painted with a slurry of concrete
to give that ferrous cement look.
inside it was painted a sunshine yellow
and furnished very simply with a bed.
a season or two ago I found a python skin under there
but I never told future occupants
because some people would not respond well.
the room became Zoes when the boyfriend came on the scene
and it just wasnt cool to have him sleep in the girls room.
she was 16 and wanted her fella to come and stay in the weekends.
what do you do?
you make a space for them ,
make them welcome and support their exploration into adulthood.
I had always said to them that when they were ready for boy germs they could bring them home
and put them in their beds
and so they did.
no backseat of the cars for you I said,
no hiding or lying no shame no guilt.
let us treat this stage of development as normal as cutting teeth
and so we did.
the faerie embassy is my home space,a beautiful mudbrick castle in a richly diverse forest. which means I am very passionate about wallabies and pythons and mist spiders and twisted angophoras and the sound of the wind and the feel of the rain . we are an ark ,an island of light, a beacon of common sense in a crazy out of control consumption mad world.we have a composting toilet for goddess sake.