This much-loved object is a very simple wooden kookaburra, bought very many years ago in a Garden Centre near Sydney. I bought it on one of my first visits to Sydney, to the house where my son and his family then lived. I was fascinated by the call of the kookaburra, and I saw my first one, really close up, when to my great surprise, it came and sat on one top of the washing line, while I was hanging out some washing. I was quite enchanted when it just sat there and looked at me for quite a while. I then went back to the house, and sat myself down on the deck at the back to read… and my kookaburra (I now regarded it as mine!) flew over and perched on the edge of the deck just in front of me, and there he stayed. And indeed he kept coming back and visiting me either in the garden or by the deck, not at all disturbed by my presence even if I moved about. Ever since that time I have felt a very special affection for this delightful bird with its loud laughing call, and this small object is for me a constant reminder of Australia and some very happy times.
Valerie Minogue, 80, Professor of french, Swansea.