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