1st Ladies Club – Pacific Forum , Cairns August 2009

It isn’t as if life ever really gets boring up in our part of the world even if it’s the odd Jezebel or Big Greasy. Don’t get too excited they’re butterflies, great big flappy winged ones that bob through the air as you sit back and enjoy something long and cool beside the Thala pool.

1st Ladies Club   Pacific Forum , Cairns August 2009

1st Ladies at the Pacific Forum, Cairns August 2009

Then there are days when Australia’s first Lady steps nimbly up the stairs into the wow zone – That’s where you get to really see the view from here. Ms Rein is surrounded by a bevy of smiling South Pacific first ladies and I think of a Kaleidoscope of butterflies – no, really that’s what they call a gathering of butterflies…well they could also be a swarm – but not these ladies, they are colourful, vibrant and animated. I’m just glad I didn’t do the all black thing when I was dizzying into the ‘what do I wear’ phase.

The sky’s painted a blue wash, the sea’s ridiculously sparkly and the trees are shivering with birds as I put my hand out to greet Ms Rein. She softly says ‘I’m Therese’ and that sets the tone of delicious informality. What she doesn’t tell me until all the butterflies have feasted on a sumptuous lunch is that she’s just got back from climbing Mt Kilimanjaro – well now that’s just the highest free standing mountain in the world – the roof of Africa! Talk about the wow zone! She’s exuding vitality and I’m thinking I should start doing a little hiking up the mountains I see sweeping down to the ocean – well for a moment anyway. She’s no wimp this first lady.

Over coffee the chat moves to the first lady of Vanuatu who visits the school of the air studio. She doesn’t speak English but she walks into the studio just as the kids are into a French lesson and speaks to them in French! Sometimes the world is just with you and these ladies are out to make it all a better place.

These first ladies have alighted from some of the most exotic and romantic islands in the world. I look over at our lady mayor and she is fluttering effusively, loving the fact that they are loving this tropical dot on the map of our much larger island.

Back to our first lady -Therese gathers the Kaleidoscope, and with a last long look at the ocean they all shimmer down the swoop of stairs to the hum of a waiting coach. There is a feeling of loss – did they take some of the light with them? No, it’s just a fluff of cloud sailing past the sun.

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