Whenever I think “Enough blogging! I'll stop” I get one of Prue's emails and I realise I need to keep baiting the hook. She sends me wonderful responses to blog posts in the form of emails, which means I'm the only one to savour them. With her permission, I'll copy this lot into their own post so more people can enjoy her stories. They reveal her passion for music and trees.


The mallee flower is so tactile, I can almost hear it.

This reminds me of the time I took John Cage, American composer, and Merce Cunningham, dancer and 3 dancers from Merce’s New York dance troupe to the Australian Botanical Gardens here in Canberra to listen to bird song – their trip to the National Park in Sydney had them covered in leeches and they heard very few birds there. I promised no leeches, but plenty of birds, which there were, but we were all excited about listening to Banksia cones by softly running our fingers down them.

Hey! the rhythms this made were most exciting – for all of us.

The sound of the mallee flower is far more delicate and very soft, but it tingles the imagination somewhat, and the delicate perfume is more appealing than that I remember of the different banksias we explored.

The tree, well the tree made me homesick for the tree we had in our yard in Chifley. It was as big as your tree image and it took three men holding hands to circle its girth. One arborist reckoned it was between 300 and 400 years old. It was a yellow gum. We hung a bird feeder over one of the lowest branches – about 3.5 metres above the ground, and it was outside the kitchen window.

A seat belt was thrown over the branch, and secured, and a chain hung from it down to the bird feeder – about 2.5 meters from the ground. Parrots, particularly sulphur crested cockatoos, would climb down the chain, frontwards, backwards, upside down, downside up. The mob of them was quite patient, waiting their turn. This was comical enough and gave us hours of pleasure.

We’d put a circular margarine container inside the feeder, full of water. The smaller birds could get at it, but not the cockies. One of them succeeded, by standing on the edge of the feeder, tipping it so the water flowed out of the container, and towards the edge he/she was standing on. It then turned around and drank the water as it fell over the edge.

When we were about to sell the house, I had the tree heritage listed, which the National Parks mob were happy with.

It cost me $10,000 I used to boast, as the shonky real-estate agent deducted that amount from the sale price, as no owner would be able to cut it down.

It used to rain down onto the ground, gutters and roof twigs, leaves, gum nuts, and branches big enough to crack the roof tiles, but we kept a supply of new tiles under the house for this eventuality.