Last One Standing

“Each young person is a poet of sorts, trying to sort out the poetics of their inner life and its relation to the great world around it. Each elder is a philosopher of sorts, trying to sort out the meanings and gleanings of a life as well as the necessary implications of the presence of death.” 
Michael Meade

Many years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I hosted a channelling evening at my house. My sister was there, and an Aboriginal friend of ours, her mum and another Aboriginal woman who was a school teacher, and another friend who was staying with us at the time. Me, Simone, Vynette, Leanna, Liz, Tara. Six women of varying ages, sitting in circle on our lounge room floor.

I was nervous because it was one of the first times I had channelled in public, even though they were my friends. But they were very supportive, and so I closed my eyes, settled into meditation and began…

Afterwards we shared cups of tea and a lovely supper spread around my kitchen table. Leanna always brought enough food to feed an army. It’s those Aboriginal values around family and food and love. And of course I am a country girl at heart who always has well-stocked biscuit and cake tins in case visitors arrive.

I never thought anything more of that night until months later. On a crackling international phone line a woman spoke to me from America. Unbeknownst to me Leanna had taped my channelling session and posted it to a friend. Who had shared it with another friend. Finally it had arrived at this woman’s house, a farmhouse in the mid-west, and now she was inviting me to join her group of Elders.

I was the youngest by thirty-three years.

We met by teleconference, and also in meditation. We even shared emails. It became a very important group to me, one I learned much from, and one where we did regular energetic work together for the world. Just a bunch of old people at home, working magic. I was very ill back then so I had the life of an old person too. I fit right in.

In the early hours of this morning I spoke with the last member of the group. There had been twenty-eight of us, but slowly our numbers have dwindled. Last Thursday Kaya died in her sleep. Then there was only two. I spoke with Connie this morning. She is blind now, and going into care. She has cancer too and this part of the road will be short. She is done.

I am the last one standing.

I had a little cry. A big one actually. And then I rallied. It’s my turn now. My turn to repopulate the group. This is how it always is. I was young once, and now I am aging. I have wisdom and teachings of my own to share, and I am the custodian of more that have been shared with me.

That’s the cycle of life, and I am ready.

I’ll keep you posted. Much love, Nicole  xx


Remembering Tropical Pie

Image from Etsy

Image from Etsy

“Sometimes you have to travel back in time, skirting the obstacles, in order to love someone.”
~ Frances Mayes, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir


When I was a kid, growing up in the seventies, there was this pie Mum used to make.

‘Tropical Pie’ it was called, if memory serves me correctly.

I loved that pie.

Mum only ever made it in summer, if we had friends coming over for a party or a barbeque, or if we were invited somewhere and she offered to bring a dessert.

Mum was a great cook, and we looked forward to birthdays, events and parties when she would always make something that was a little bit special.


Family, neighbours and my mum, clustered around my little brother’s birthday cake in the backyard of my childhood home. That’s me with the blonde hair standing beside Mum, my sister Simone is sitting on the left with her hair in two pigtails, and Matthew is cutting his cake!


By the eighties my parents had split up, and we didn’t go to parties or barbeques anymore. Mum stopped making that pie.

By the time I was brave enough to remind her about it, Mum had lost the recipe.

I spent years searching for it amid the kitchen drawers, the old exercise books with the hand-written recipes and pages torn from women’s magazines. But it was no good. I never found that recipe again.

That recipe came to represent the essence of my childhood – a time when I still felt happy, loved and safe. I found myself yearning for Tropical Pie, and the ability to make it for myself. Last year in a pique of nostalgia I trawled the internet looking for it.


And then, yesterday, as I was sorting through a bag stuffed with recipe clippings and old cookbooks that once belonged to my grandmother I found it!

It was so unexpected that I burst into tears. Silly, I know, but at that precise moment I felt Marga looking down on me, wisely and kindly guiding me as she had always done in life.

I’ve gone and bought the few ingredients I did not have in the house, and I shall share the recipe with you tomorrow.

Who knows how it shall really taste? How can anything ever live up to those rose-tinted memories of old?

Still, I shall bake my Tropical Pie, and eat it with my husband, and feel with every bite that my world has come full circle.

My maternal grandmother, Marga, and me - back in the   late eighties.

My maternal grandmother, Marga, and me – back in the late eighties. Marga taught me almost everything I know about cooking, being gracious and being kind.

Is there any food that takes you right back to happy memories of your childhood? Do you ever make or buy it for yourself or your family now that you’ve grown? Or is there a food your children or grandchildren have come to request and think of as special?  I’d love to hear your stories either here in the comments, or over on my facebook page.