My mother would have thought this was funny. I know that because it's my favourite fountain in the whole world, and my sense of humour is one of the things that I got from her. Margaret Joan would have turned seventy-four years old today. I simply can't imagine that – she's now been gone for thirteen years and fifteen days.

She grew up on a sheep farm in the Adelaide hills, with no idea of the oceans she would cross or what life would have waiting for her. But she never talked much about her childhood, so as hard as it is to imagine what she'd be like today, I have as much difficulty imagining her as a young girl in a small town in Australia. I suppose it's always difficult to think of a parent in any way other than the narrow and incomplete way that we knew them.

To think: the woman I only knew as my mother was just twelve years old when that fountain was replaced by the present one.