Portrait of Nancy painted by Robert Hannaford
I have always loved history and have long been fascinated by heroines like Nancy Wake and Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) - I think about my life, the challenges I face, what I complain about - and then think of the amazing women who have shaped history and am just humbled.
Jeanne d'Arc set about trying to recover her country from English domination and lifted the siege of Orleans in only 9 days all whilst being a teenager! Today I got my daughter to school on time, am working from home on my 'day job' and have given in to a 2 year old already (he wanted crisps and cartoons, I wanted to take a conference call in peace, Master Bok (2) got his crisps. In front of the television. Watching WonderPets. I fail !!!!) and haven't even thought about what to put on for dinner yet.
Nancy helped thousands to flee the grip of the Nazis, as a Resistance fighter in France, topped the Gestapo's most wanted list and strangled an enemy with her bare hands. Last night for my 'night job' I looked at how to educate farmers in Eastern Uganda and how to create and maintain a desperately needed seed bank for them - but without electricity, ability to keep seeds dry and cool - again I fail!! Oh and I also encouraged Mr Bok to go and pee in the garden because even thinking about trapping a fox and what to do with it afterwards gives me the heebie jeebies (I've had many suggestions from boinking on head to wheelie bins full of water ugh I don't like foxes but I don't think I can bring myself to kill one either let alone strangle it with my bare hands even though it murdered my hens!! Again, I think I fail).
Nancy Wake led an amazing live, she was a fearless and passionate woman who fought for what she believed in. She also learnt that her husband was tortured and killed for not revealing her location. Now there is another hero. Some people say that circumstances create heroes but I think that heroes create circumstance. How much worse off our world would be without the courage and perseverance of the human spirit.
I'm also humbled by 'everyday heroes' - by Wayne, the homeless man who sits and draws on Bourke Street and sells his cards/art instead of begging - who always has a story and a kind word for me. Everyday heroes like my friend B who has recently had a baby - but that baby is in ICU at the children's hospital because she had to undergo major surgery at birth to correct several heart defects - so many heroes in that scene alone, the team of surgeons, the courage of the baby, the love of the parents. Another hero in my friend N who puts herself down all the time as being a 'just a stay at home mum' and cannot see that she is doing anything special with her days - but whose love and self sacrifice are just incredible if you examine what she does every day and how much of her soul she puts into those children. There are everyday heroes and people who inspire everywhere, you just have to look a little closer at their stories.
So, please meet Nancy, our light blue astralorp. She settled into the coop right away, no bickering whatsoever. This is her, looking up at something.
I've nailed flexible clear plastic on the coop to keep the rain and draughts out - I just pin and unpin the sheet so it's very easy to use. In summer I can just take it off altogether as I've made little holes where the sheeting just pops on and off.
They are good at getting in and out of the coop now - but I've found a pigeon in their coop already! On day 1 of emancipation of the flock!
yellow stool I like to sit on to watch them
To remind me of my heroes and of the values they represent for various reasons I aspire to, I've renamed the flock. Thinking about what values they inspire in me, they all share similar qualities that I admire, being courage, compassion, conviction of belief, confidence and optimism in the face of adversity and dogged stubbornness where it comes to doing what they believed was the right thing no matter what their culture told them they couldn't do.
Nancy - the new light blue astralorp (Nancy Wake - and come to think of it, Nancy Drew as I was a child reading her books!)
Florence - the frizzle silver pencilled plymouth rock (Florence Nightingale and Florence Kelley)
Joan - the porcelain belgian d'uccle (Jeanne d'Arc or Joan of Arc)
Artemis - leader of the bok flock so far! Hopefully if I name her for the goddess of the hunt (and animals and moon!) she will protect the flock from foxes!
Other historical females I admire:
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Actually the list is too long for me to continue...!
Vale White Mouse and thank you for reminding me of the women I look up to and the people around me that are sources of inspiration