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Rural

Country style recovery from car accident

TOTTIE AND WALTER: When clean and dainty Aunty Tottie would visit Uncle Walter she would just about have a fit at the state of his house.
TOTTIE AND WALTER: When clean and dainty Aunty Tottie would visit Uncle Walter she would just about have a fit at the state of his house. Contributed

AFTER being out of action due to a car accident, I'm glad to say I am once more home and reasonably functional. I had four fractures in my neck, which forced me to wear a brace. My head poked forward and I couldn't look anywhere bar straight ahead. That really cramped my style.

My wonderful Ray became chief cook and bottle washer, with Lyndal and Ally also giving strong support. Housework isn't really Ray's choice of pastimes but there wasn't a whinge out of him.

He's marvellous considering he had four older sisters who fussed over the younger boys and had no expectations of them. Their role was working outside with stock.

I was lucky to only spend a couple of weeks in the Warwick hospital for, although I appreciated the medical attention given, there's no place like home. However I had to be in hospital and they were all wonderful. My praise goes to the Warwick hospital, particularly the nursing staff and doctors who were caring and meticulous with patients. They also had a great sense of humour, which made life more interesting.

I must compliment the domestic and kitchen staff with their happy daily greetings and a great choice of meals and smokos. The menus for meals were varied and catered for, all while some of the smokos were truly special. I tasted the best banana cake I have ever eaten in my life.

The physios also assisted me with exercises in my rehabilitation. I moaned and grumbled when I had to stir but felt 100% better as a result.

We are so lucky to have access to a hospital like ours. Many years ago it used to be a training base for nurses but now caters for trainee doctors, dentists in the dental section, as well as occupational therapists.

My family and I were so appreciative of my care but now I'm home and have the neck brace off. I can move my head and see things at last.

I've always had a long neck (my brother used to tell me it was because I was a sticky beak) and my mother told me it was like her Aunty Tottie.

Tottie was the dearest spinster aunt you could wish to have. Always dressed beautifully, with gloves, long sleeved silk frocks with a cameo at her throat and little Mary Poppins hat adorning her head.

If the girls in her family didn't marry, they were expected to help in times of need. I don't think she did much but was a great story teller so we thought she was great. She fascinated me for she had this neck that seemed to sag and swing as she spoke.

I couldn't keep my eyes off it, for she was prone to interspersing her conversation with clacking her tongue and tut tutting. This did marvellous things to the loose skin under her chin. Her neck looked like a turkey gobbler's and here was my mother busy telling me I had a neck just like Tottie's.

So I grew up with the phobia of inheriting Tottie's neck. I used to lavishly cream my neck and do exercises and anything I could think of to have it lovely and smooth. Nothing helped much except there was no hangy skin under my chin.

I even thought of a "neck job" til I checked on the cost.

At least Tottie's neck didn't mean everyone had her genes. She had a twin brother, Walter, and although he was scrawny, his neck was okay.

Walter, also unmarried, was the opposite of Tottie: He was a bit of a grub and didn't believe in "washing yourself away". That suited us well when we spent the day with him for there were better things to do.

He was a saddler so taught us to make leather belts, wallets, handbags, camera cases down to stencilling designs on the leather.

He fed us big chunks of bread thickly lathered with syrup or jam and, to cap it all, big cups of black tea laced with sugar and we didn't have to wash our hands either.

His final triumph was the walls in his house. He rolled his own cigarettes then stuck the stubs on the walls in case he ran out of tobacco.

Tottie nearly had a fit when she visited him and her neck fairly swung as she tutted and clacked.

I've now reached Tottie's age and am looking less like her every day but I still have my long neck, which hasn't become like a turkey gobbler's yet, so maybe the hard neck brace had straightened it out. No such luck …. it's still crinkly but doesn't swing.

My dreams of a swanlike neck are gone forever. However I do tell my grandchildren and nieces and nephews stories like Tottie so maybe that is my redeeming grace.