When Lisa came back from her break, snowed under with things to do, she gave us a list of words – six of them – and instructions to roll dice to choose the topic. Well, I didn’t like number one, watermelon, so I chose gardens. (Check out Lisa’s watermelon themed post.) I’ll use the 10 x statements for this memoir, instead of 150 words. Please ignore the fact the two-week deadline was over a week ago! How did time fly by so fast.
These photos were taken on the 25th October, 1970 with the Box Brownie camera
Welcome to the HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS, Victoria.
1. I remember my friend Mavis – shownby the Wishing Well (above) and sitting on the cannon (below)
2.I remember the days, before 1970, when there used to be monkeys, housed in a huge iron-barred cage; monkeys with red-painted bottoms and flea picking fingers: we kids adored them and threw peanuts, still in the shell, into the cage.
3. Gray St Primary School, where I was in grade 5, was just over the road, and I remember sneaking off during lunch hour – I was a town kid, so I could have been going home for lunch. Eventually I got caught and banned, so I had to confine my visits until after school, before I walked home.
4. I remember standing for ages in front of each cage, watching every budgie, canary, cockatiel and finch, guinea pig, rabbit, and other animals and birds I can no longer recall: prolonging the enjoyment and wonder.
5. I remember studying the fountain on every visit, as if I had never seen its lions and elaborate carvings before, thrilled if water cascaded down. I admired the goldfish and waterlilies, too.
4. I remember taking a pocket full of stale bread to feed the ducks on the big pond, amazed by the varieties and loving it even more at duckling time.
5. I remember bravely standing my ground if the emus came close to the fence, pretending I wasn’t scared by the booming noise they made in their throats.
6. I remember hardly giving the wallabies and kangaroos so much as a glance. I’d seen plenty of those during the long car-trips visiting grandma.
7. The peacocks! How I loved to see them and admire their sparkling plumage, not knowing that, one day in the future, I would have a pair of my own – breeding and screaming blue murder from the roof, and dancing outside my back door.
8. I remember the swathes of glorious flowers, the names of which I had no knowledge. I would eagerly await the new annual plantings. I would peer into the little greenhouse with half the windows whited over.
9. I remember reading all the exotic names of the trees from all over the world, and marvelling how they had started from just a small seed from another country, so many years ago. I loved autumn.
10.But my most remembered memory is of the time, when wagging, I intended having my lunch seated under the huge draping branches of the biggest tree in the gardens, hidden from sight. You cannot imagine the horror that confronted me – there must have been at least a dozen black-and-white robed nuns, taking up all the seats. I backed out of there quick smart. The sight of nuns on the street always frightened me.