Honora Jenkins may be the Queen of Play and the children may all love her, but William Verity discovers she has a more complex side.
"Who am I?" asked Honora Jenkins. "I am someone who wants to do everything."
Look at her diary - the old-fashioned type with leather cover, one week per view - and you can see she's telling the truth.
Week after week of scrawled pencil jottings and crossings out detailing a hectic life where no two weeks are quite the same, where routine (which needs no diary) is shunned.
Monday: play co-ordinator at a Narellan pre-school followed by after school activities at Harrington Park with primary school children.
Tuesday: two music and circus classes at Circus Monoxide in Fairy Meadow; first aid class; rigging in preparation for The Vault cabaret in Port Kembla.
Wednesday: aerial classes at Circus WOW where she learns to hang from her feet.
There's working from home, going to see Circus Oz, working in a box office, rehearsing for her Diner Divas cabaret show, more first aid, social circus on a Sunday.
It's a frenetic, creative lifestyle that would be too much for most of us and so it is, at times, for Honora Jenkins - Illawarra's most under-qualified but experienced play maestro.
Last year, Jenkins was a mess. Her relationship was ending and she was travelling to work blinded by tears.
She was lucky not to have an accident. The children saved her.
Known for her creative play sessions, Jenkins takes pride in following the childrens' interest and is guided by them.
So if they're talking about dinosaurs, she's a T-Rex, or cowboys and she's horse, circus and she's a clown.
It's high intensity, high-energy work that plays so naturally into her talents and history that it never seems like work. One of the problems with the world, Jenkins thinks, is that adults don't have enough play in their lives.
"I am like a human piece of play equipment sometimes," she said.
"I am part of the obstacle course and flipping them over the head and watching and listening to them.
"They need to be in control of their play - yes, we'll build a nest or a big volcano.
"I believe that everyone should play and it shouldn't just be for kids. I think it's part of a balanced life.
"What I do is much healthier than going out and getting drunk and then saying you didn't mean to.
"I struggled with my education because I have a different way of learning. I need to enjoy it. I see so many parents running around doing things for their children and they have forgotten about themselves."
From a young age - ever since her mother was institutionalised for a time in a psychiatric hospital and she ended up in an orphanage - it's been Jenkins' mission to care for young children.
She was only three at the time and living in Sydney. With her were her older half-brother (who soon left to live with his grandmother) and her baby sister.
Jenkins and her 10-month-old sister spend a total of three months at the orphanage in Bondi, spread out over five visits and 10 months. It marked her forever.
"It formed my personality," she said.
"My focus became looking after my baby sister so I became the nurturer, the parent.
"I remember going to playgroup and thinking I was there to care for the other kids.
"I have a photo of my 14th birthday party and I am surrounded by little children - my cake had all different coloured icing. It was always all about the kids."
When she was a girl, she remembers forming a club called HOP - Helping Other People - and doing jobs for neighbours and organising a Christmas party.
Jenkins spent her childhood attached to a small, benign religious community at West Dapto. All her family are still members, and Jenkins still sees them socially but has not joined. She's not a joiner.
"I can't do it. I can't belong to anyone not in that work environment, that's where my relationship was important. It's taken me a long while to appreciate my family.
"I am so blessed to have so many amazing, beautiful, creative family members, friends and work colleagues. I feel very well looked after."
Those two characteristics - resistance to joining plus need for community - could have produced a problem if she hadn't discovered circus almost a decade ago, when she took her young son to classes.
He dropped out, but she stayed, performing and then working as an administrator for Circus Monoxide and enjoying the company of people who pride themselves on acceptance and unrestrained individualism.
Jenkins says she worries about "everything and everyone", and that her frenetic energy and up-beat enthusiasm has a dark side.
"I have a very over active mind and it does give me trouble," she said.
"That's why I love circus so much - I hang upside down once a week and let it all drop out."■