School days

Here I am with my sister Min heading off to our school bus stop, probably about 1977.

I’m the one with long hair. Look how short my dress is!! And look at those big ugly ports we had to carry about. Big heavy things they were, everything sliding about in them. No wonder we all have bad backs now. And varicose veins probably from those long socks we had to wear held up with elastic that must have blocked the circulation.

school days

The driveway wasn’t really that long but it seemed to go on forever on a hot summer day. Sometimes there’d be a goanna in the tree on the right down the end that I’d run past. Dad always said not to stand still or they’d run up your leg. I never knew if he was joking but I wasn’t going to take the chance. I saw a brown snake crossing the road once and there was a magpie in the next paddock so sometimes it was a bit like running the gauntlet.

I loved that cardigan. I wore it for years, until the sleeves ended up around my elbows. I think my grandparents brought it back from one of their trips. Maybe it was a hand me down from one of my sisters, I think one of them had a red one.

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Life’s a beach

Summer is sizzling along here but I can’t cool down in the sea as all our local beaches have been closed for six days now due to a five metre great white shark cruising close to the shore. A couple of dolphins have washed up with chunks taken out of them and hopefully the next body washed up won’t be a human as some people take on the – it won’t stop me from going into the water – attitude and continue to swim.

It’s annoying really because what’ll happen is some idiot will go out and get killed and then they’ll have to go out and kill the shark when all it was doing was what comes naturally.

You expect to find sharks swimming about in the ocean, you can’t be surprised when one shows up or attacks someone if they’re known to be in the area.

What I do have a problem with is this. Last week a brown snake came swimming out of the ocean on a popular beach a couple of hours up the coast. Now that’s just all kinds of wrong. Deadly animals should just stay in their appropriate zones.

Brown-Snake-Forster-619-386

(don’t know who took the photo sorry – it’s all over the web)

Melting

The weather here has been appalling. Ridiculously hot day after day but it’s the humidity that’s the killer, it just sucks the energy right out of you. Massive storms every night for the past week (Sydney in particular has copped it) but they don’t bring any relief from the heat.

It’s turning out to be a perfect season for the paralysis ticks we get here so everyone should be checking their cats and dogs vigilantly although they’re almost impossible to find. Two people I know have had dogs treated within the past month and another lost a calf. The way you usually know your pet has a tick is because they become paralysed in the back legs then it moves through the rest of their body until they can’t even blink or then breathe. One of the dogs was a fluffy little thing and they’d shaved her almost to skin and still couldn’t find the tick which was eventually found hiding between two eyelashes. Terribly expensive to treat and often fatal.

Also my brother had a dog bitten by a brown snake; it develops in a similar way to the tick with the legs developing paralysis so they didn’t realise until later in the day that she’d been bitten while they’d been out working cattle. She survived but needed two or three doses of the anti -venom and a few days on a drip. She is known as being a snaker but she’s getting a bit older now and the reflexes aren’t quite as good.

So summer is kicking along here as usual. Bring on Autumn please.

Summer – day 1

One day of summer gone and Chicken Little has already killed a blue tongue lizard. I’ve never owned a dog who could tolerate having one in the backyard. There’s no dealing with Chicken once she’s seen one either, she’s completely in the zone and won’t listen to you when you try to call her off. She’s so savage about it all as well but she’s just protecting her territory and the Jack Russell was bred to be a hunter so she’s good at it.

I’ve heard people call them Ratters as they’re good at catching vermin and when I was still living at home we had people bring them out to the farm to catch rabbits. They’re so quick.

Hopefully she never comes across a snake though as she goes right in at the head. With snakes they need to get at the back of the neck so they need a bit of practice but with brown snakes you don’t tend to get many chances. Cats are good at fighting snakes because they’re fast but patient; dogs tend to jump about barking and being foolish. I remember Mum once telling me that if I saw one of our dogs or cats fighting a snake not to move or talk to them as it would distract them and they’d get bitten.

There have already been quite a few dogs bitten by snakes here this season. I read in the paper that this year they’ve already had the same number of dogs in at the vets as they had during the whole snake season last year. $1000 for the anti-venom as well, ouch. Mainly dogs walking in parkland off leads protecting the owners.

The snake handler has been pretty busy as well. Had to laugh when I read his quote in the paper. ‘‘It’s summer and it’s Australia, if you don’t like snakes I suggest you head to Ireland,’’ Mr Delooze said.