Boys!! What is it about these kooky kids?! I have a younger brother and older sister. Sharon was always cool in my eyes, hanging around boys who had panelvans aka shagginwagons. Her friends smoked ciggies, hung out at the waterfront without their parents turning up and dragging them by the ear back home. She would stay out later than allowed a lot of the time regardless of the threat of a beating by my ever shrinking father. Her bravery was awe inspiring to me. My younger, gorgeous, brother, Shane…well…he was (and still is!) very unique. Shane’s the type of guy that everyone loves, male, female, young, old…he has such a magnetic personality Iv never known before. He’s also an absolute whirlwind of energy. There is no way you wouldnt know he’s around, either by the huge, blinding and very cheeky smile or his storytelling which moreoften than not is with a crowd sitting cross legged at his feet – we call his ever ready, eager eared rabble, his disciples. The boy was born with stories inside of his soul just waiting for an audience. He also is not a loner. The worst thing in the world you could do to Shane is to leave him isolated. “Me time” is not a term coined for someone like Shane who needs constant company. In the mid 70’s when Shane was around 7, no-one had heard of “ADHD” so the mini story-telling tornado who was a part of our family was deemed “difficult” by the specialists and at many a parent-teacher meeting, my folks were told he was charming but wouldnt stop talking and would never amount to anything. As I was a young woman reaching puberty, having my little brother hanging around me wasnt very cool. But regardless of how many times he was told to “rack off” he just laughed and would come back for more. My sister and I shared a bedroom that had huge, bright purple flowered wallpaper – we thought it was the raddest room in the world and it was our little sanctuary away from not just the outside world, but the fear of my father in our own home. Sometimes I would have a friend in my room and we would play dollies and Shane would want to play too. I was soooo embarrassed as he stood at the folding concertina doors, pleading and pleading to come in. Those doors came in handy as he stuck his head thru and I would bang them hard and quickly against his head. Shane being Shane just laughed and said it tickled! After drawing smiley faces on the wallpaper of mum and dad’s room, he was (once again) sent to his room…a sentence of global proportions to him. After yelling and screaming for ages that he would rather be beaten than be alone, my mum would finally relent and he was “set free”. After my father one day, waiting on the platform of our local railway station, saw a train whiz by on the opposite rail line with Shane hanging off the side, waving madly to him, metal bars went on his windows. This didnt stop him however hiding a friend under our house for 2 weeks. We had been wondering why he was eating so much until the boy’s dad came around looking for him. Shane had set him up downstairs with a tv, snacks, blankets – no wonder he never wanted to go back home!
My 13th birthday I was taken around to a stranger’s house by my dad and there waiting for me was a chubby, fluffy labrador puppy. I couldn’t believe I was being given my very own animal and fell in love with her immediately. I called her Bella, after a film I had seen starring Peter Sellars who played a hobo. He had a dog called Bella and I dreamt all the time that if ever I was lucky enough to have my own dog, she would be christened with the name that I learnt meant “beautiful” in itialian. My feelings for my father have always been very confusing as he was such an angry and violent man, yet could be the sweetest person and bestow me with special gifts. He had gone to much trouble and paid a lot of money for Bella, money which my family couldnt afford to be spent just on me. Bella had a fun, exciting life travelling everywhere I went including boat trips to islands around our region nearly every weekend. She hated the loud noise of the outboard but there is no way she wasnt going to be part of the pack’s outings, on land or water! She became (almost) my everything…I still adored my chickens and regularly talked with them and patted their so-soft feathers. Little did I know what horrific and cruel event was just around the corner for my beautiful feathered friends…something that I have never forgiven my father for.
I would also like to give a HUGE thanks to two amazing supporters who donated money to our campaigning – Suzanne Daley and Julie O’Donnell – both did so in leiu of partaking in birthday and xmas gifts. I am truly blessed to know both of these amazing activists and inspirational women.
My kindest wishes and blessings to you, your families and all your furchildren over xmas and the holidays and thank you all for your support – my heart has been truly lightened knowing you are on my team and helping expose the atrocities against the most precious gift Mother Nature bestowed upon us – animals.