Filled with objects from around the world, the oft extended cottage bursts at the seams with a lifetime of keepsakes and furniture of all descriptions. The eclectic paintings of disparate themes are all accentuated by the rainbow of vibrant hues on the walls. Myriad mats and carpets, a kaleidoscope on the floors. At first glance, every item jostles for attention, but with closer inspection, they actually form a stunning tapestry of stories, connections and meaning to a small lady.

She regularly occupies a sofa, one of many unbelievably squeezed into the small front room, next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. She designed them herself seemingly an eternity ago, the very studs of the wall forming the frames. Through these portals, her self-designed garden bursts with life, bringing the native rainforest close to her home. The thriving trees and plants provide a cacophony: tweeting, screeching, ticking and chiming birds and insects.

Achieving seventy next year, despite the violent and depraved men who have sought to weaken her via betrayal and vindictiveness, and the typical depletion of health concomitant with the years, and birthing six children, she is still maintaining and extending the gardens, caring for the dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and fighting against the goannas, snakes and mice, and the remarkably obtuse neighbours, which all seem determined to provide any impediment to a peaceful existence.

Her will is indomitable, as it has always been! There is nothing that seems to come close to dampening her spark! Existing true to her motives, secure in the knowledge of which she is possessed, observing as if from an elevated location, this lone woman daily contends with the machinations of the unkind and thoughtless. She charms the birds from the trees as a matter of course! She orchestrates her life with a subtle finesse.

I never understood her until my early thirties, but once I saw the unbreakable truths by which she interprets human behaviour, her position became perfectly clear. When young, I concluded she was always altering her expectations of me, ensuring I was always set to fail her. We have had disputes and disagreements, as no two people can hold the same perspective, and to change family dynamic is a task akin to altering the position of the stars. Learning to understand what lay underneath the enigma, I came to understand myself.