“They are my family – I have no one else. They all have their own personalities, give them the opportunity, they are very clever. They love photo shoots, learning fun things and going on any outing. Tuesday mornings, for 8am, we all go to Point Lonsdale. They receive endless comments on their best behaviour and people often ask why I do it. ‘It’s good for everyone’s Mental Health, is my reply.’” Hadeel and I had the pleasure of spending a scintillating morning with Elaine Janes, the chook lady, which included a tour of the Hilton Henhouse.
“During isolation, two chooks have mastered skateboard riding. Jekyll loves balancing on a medicine ball while being lifted overhead as Elaine performs straight leg situps.
“Flapper is the No 1 Madonna and she owns the car front seat, sitting in her own cane basket with a knitted blanket. If it is chilly, the heated seat is a must. She is always ready to go anywhere, no fussing around getting ready as girls do. She was picked up from the street over eight years ago, lives the best life ever, and has lots more interesting things to look forward to. Her can follow her and friends @elainejanes16 on Instagram.
“I love creating photos with my chooks for any occasion or celebration. I have had some success in photographic competitions featuring my chooks or Flapper alone, being Celebrity Chook.” As we chatted the chooks sat perched on the back of two kitchen chairs. Wicked Jekyll let out a shattering screech indicating that he was jealous of another chook and not getting enough attention. Elaine was not having that bad behaviour. He was quickly reprimanded with strong eye contact and plopped into the banana box (covered by a towel) for time out.
“Of course, there is a balance, praise and reward with nibbling grapes. Patting and soft loving words are always there. It saddens me to know that some people have never even picked up their chook, looked them in the eyes and told them how beautiful they are.
“Over the years I’ve had a number of different jobs and taken on learning new skills. My sport for eighteen years has been weightlifting and I have competed in five World Masters and every state in Australia with a great collection of medals and trophies. That is why I now live conservatively with limited outings. No traveling. I do value many amazing experiences and excellent health records. Even now I must continue intense weight train once a week with a highly skilled coach. No gym toys, strictly weights.
“My passion for over fifty years has been various types of dance for pleasure and entertainment. Adult Ballet now gives me immense satisfaction. Relaxation is knitting, writing, gardening, and anything creative. My volunteer work is at the Potato Shed. I love all parts of the theatre and have been involved in acting and cabaret.”
Elaine, a keen and talented writer, has joined our @humansingeelong team and is enjoying interviewing people. She’s also very excited about doing some modelling for clothes online “I get paid and it’s so much fun”. It’s no surprise the theme is ‘young at heart’.
I met Elaine and chooks at the Geelong Waterfront, during a Leaman Films filming session for a Documentary, to be shown at the Short Film Festivals. Gabriel Gate’ has offered to cook for Elaine and the chook family during a film session. “HOW EXCITING IS THAT!!”
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photos: Hadeel @hs.stories.photograhy