Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lazy Dayz of Summer...and impolite animals...

Ruby waiting for a stick to be thrown into the river this morning. Apologies to the fisherman

I have just returned from a long, languid and lazy walk along the Swan River which laps ashore about 250m from my home. The New Year’s weather is stunning, and the mood in Perth is very much high summer, with most people not starting work until Monday, or even the 17th. This period from Christmas to mid January is when many take their holidays, even if they don’t do anything more with their days than enjoy their families and our beautiful beaches.

And I have been doing just that over the past two weeks. I have caught up with friends and heard some funny stories about the way the Australian animals, and in this case a very impolite kangaroo deal with the heat and lack of water. My friend, Dianne, who lives in the hills near Perth, had me laughing hysterically the other day when she retold her story of a close encounter of a very scary kind with a 2m tall kangaroo. She had gone outside to hang her washing and heard behind her a growling, hissing noise…not at all like the “tch, tch” of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo of TV fame. She turned slowly to see a huge kangaroo staring at her, only about 2m away. It had been nibbling on her loquat tree and drinking from the pond beneath it when she disturbed it.

Perhaps a relative of Dianne's unfriendly kangaroo?

 Thoughts of saying “shoo” to it went through her mind, but in a matter of seconds when it continued to hold its ground and stare at her she took flight, almost literally, to run back inside the house about 50m away. No sooner had she picked up the pace, slipping over rocks and tree roots, than the “thump, thump, thump”of a bounding kangaroo echoed through her head. The beast was chasing her! As she reached the house she slid open the old sliding door, which made a terribly creaking noise which scared off the angry ‘roo. As I write, there remains a standoff in Roleystone between our national emblem and my friend. She is presuming that once it has finished all the loquats on the tree it will retreat back into more dense bush…fingers crossed, anyway.

A dugite snake, a native of SW Western Australia

That story lead, invariably to another one about Australia’s dangerous wildlife…Guilderton is a sleepy beach town 100kms north of Perth. It is not actually “bush” but no one has told the snakes. A friend of mine who lives there told the tale of a man who had been going about his own business in his shed when he was interrupted rather nastily by a bite from the dugite snake on his big toe. A dugite snake is extremely venomous and he had the peace of mind to remain calm, move slowly away and bandage the site, to stop the venom moving into his foot, before calling the emergency number. Apparently he is fully recovered but the warning has gone out among the residents of the town to be on high alert as the snakes are coming into the more inhabited areas, aka homes, to get away from the heat. Two years ago when I was there, walking in the evening with  my two little dogs, we were were stopped by a passing motorist who advised us to pick up the dogs because a tiger snake was having a nap, curled into a coil, in the middle of the road.  And I plan on visiting my beachhouse in the next 10 days!


A jellyfish in the shallow water of the Swan River this morning

And this morning,  I was unable to wade in the Swan River because of the huge number of jelly fish which were not only in the water but washed up on the beach. I hate jelly fish and even though these ones don’t sting, in the south west of Western Australia and in the beaches in Queensland the “stingers”or blue bottle jelly fish are lapping in the shallow water, enjoying the warmth of it, and they really sting.

Bribie Island, Queensland
Surprisingly the cure to the sting is not ice but in fact hot water…but if at a remote beach you will often find bottles of vinegar carefully positioned as rubbing vinegar into the sting also helps cut the pain.

What a country I live in, I hear you say while under the snow in the northern hemisphere! Yes, we have some scary creatures, but also wide open spaces, stunning beaches, often completely empty of people, and friendly Aussies…


http://www.australiassouthwest.com.

My favourite beach near Esperance in Southern Western Australia






4 comments:

  1. Great country Australia: it seems that God dumped all the most venomous animals down under hopeing that nobody will discover them...alas to no avail :)

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  2. Yes, but He also chose to give us the most magnificent landscapes in which to accommodate them! Thank you for your comment and I hope you get the chance to see my country for yourself soon...it's really not that scary

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  3. Did you know that Skippy was my favourite tv show in the early seventies? Mind you, the main reason for me liking it wasn't the kangaroo. No, it was the handsome Tony Bonner - who played the helicopter pilot - (see, I even remember his name!) who appealed to me. Ahh, 13-years olds (aka 'me' at the time) can be so silly, can't they?!! :) Martine

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  4. Well Martine he must have had a global appeal because every Australian teenage girl (me included!)I knew had a crush on him too!!

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