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Life on their own terms

From styling the hair of royalty and creating award-winning pottery to making the front page of national newspapers, Christian James and Greg Baker have lived what they call “a very full life”.

At 75 and 80 respectively, the pair have seen the world, lived by the seaside and rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous.

“We’ve got a lot of great memories we can sit back and think about…if we can remember them,” Christian jokes.

As a hairdresser, Christian has styled Bette Davis, Cher and the Princess of Japan; as a draftsman, Greg has honed his skills on engineering projects.

Together they created dozens of giant character hats that were a highlight of the Melbourne Cup Carnival from 1989 to 2010, gaining international media coverage and the attention of Barry Humphries.

This creative couple has lived a colourful life on their own terms and now, with the help of Feros Care, they continue to do so in their own home.

Living life their way (with help from Feros Care)

The pair live independently in their Toowoomba apartment with the support of government-funded Home Care Packages that subsidise services delivered by their chosen provider, Feros Care.

“When I was made aware of what was available my world just got better,” says Christian.

“My life has been made a lot easier with simple things installed around the house to keep me safe and mobile like hand-grabs and toilet frames.

“It’s the little things that help out a lot – like a swinging kettle that stops me from burning myself so I can still make my own cup of tea or coffee.”

Help to focus on what matters

Greg gets help with household duties like cleaning and laundry, which frees up his time to garden.

“Greg loves gardening – it’s always been his specialty,” says Christian.

“We’ve got a small L-shaped area and he’s turned it into the Gardens of Babylon.”

It’s in the garden with their little dog Tyren that they reminisce about their days organising everything from models to removalists to make their crazy hat ideas a reality.

“Once we did a hat made of hair with remote-controlled horses that ran around the track; another year we did two big octopuses with Fosters beer cans,” says Christian.

“When we did a giant Dam Edna hat, Barry Humphries sent the photos to papers in the UK and gave us tickets to his show.”

With Christian as head creator, it was up to Greg and his draftsman skills to turn these giant artworks into wearable hats.

“Each hat took about six months to make and you had to think of everything – how to balance them; how to fit them on a head; how to make them stay in place,” says Greg.

“They were so big that the models wearing them would find it difficult getting into the bathroom.”

Help understanding what care is available

These days the pair are content with their garden, their pottery, their puppy and the two remaining hats they keep at home, and are grateful they can continue to enjoy life on their own terms.

“It’s not nice when you lose things you could normally do and you have to rely on others but these people from Feros Care have been wonderful,” says Christian.

“We have the most wonderful cleaner whom we can trust and we loved how we were taken shopping to choose aids that work best for us.

“We are also very grateful to the Feros Care team for their simple and ongoing communication. They always take the time to explain how the various home and community programs work – taking the mystery out of the many Government requirements; all the while providing high standards of work and services.

“We can’t recommend them highly enough as care providers.” 

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