Going troppo

I’m thinking of heading up to The Whitsundays for a week next month. It seems a strange decision even to myself as I’ve spent all summer complaining about the heat and humidity but now seem to have the urge to head to a very hot and humid place. The worst of it should be over by then and if not it can’t be much worse than the humidity we’ve had here this summer.

We went up to Daydream Island years ago when the kids were small and when I told my husband yesterday that I thought we should head back that way he said – didn’t someone try and steal something from us last time – like a bag? and I said – actually it was our children, I think they’re one rung up the ladder from the bag.

The airline did lose our bag though which led to the alleged stealing of the kids. I only ever took one bag when we travelled that the five of us shared. It was big and blue and so I appropriately called him Big Bluey and I painted a big smiley face on him so he was easy to pick out in the crowd.

We were waiting at Brisbane airport for our flight back to Sydney and I was gazing out the window when I saw a tractor pulling a trailer full of suitcases drive by and there was Big Bluey sitting on top. I wonder where Bluey is going I wondered.

Melbourne it turned out. We discovered this when we got back to Sydney and they said if we could wait an hour or so he’d be back on the next flight or we could come back the next day but as we still had a three-hour drive ahead of us to get home we decided to wait.

My husband set of to get the car which we’d left in a parking station about a bazillion miles away so I was waiting with three bored kids all under the age of eight. They asked me if they could go play on a luggage carousel and I said it was ok as they were well in sight but when I looked over they were all there talking to a man. I got up and started running over there and he saw me and took off out the door. I asked them what they were talking about and they said he wanted to know if they were alone and where their Mummy was. Creepy. Now I would be willing to consider that he was just concerned about their welfare if he hadn’t of run out the door when he saw me on my way.

These days I travel without children or checked baggage so there shouldn’t be any dramas although it’s still a bit of a hike that involves a car, two planes a boat then a short bus ride. Australia – it’s just so damn big but what the hell, we didn’t get away last year so it’ll be nice to just lay around a pool sipping cocktails and maybe head out to the reef; see it before it disappears.

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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.

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 2

Stick spiders have started showing up as well. They’re harmless but tend to occasionally get amongst the washing on the line and end up in the wardrobe which is always a surprise.

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Interesting things, they hold their legs together so it looks as if they have four and they have huge eyes sticking out the side.

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.

Redskin Vodka

Making some Redskin infused vodka for Christmas. You mix it with lemonade then wait for your teeth to fall out.

I think Redskins are an Australian lolly (or candy). Fairly firm but chewy rasberry flavoured sticks that must have caused a lot of cavities and loose teeth over the years. I was more of a Milko fan myself.

redskin vodka

Push a pack of them into a bottle of vodka and they dissolve in a day or two – strain the scum from the top and you’re ready to go. Skittles are meant to be good as well.

Good day sunshine

Wherever you are today, it’s possible that you’re preparing for some kind of horrible weather situation. Here it’s heat; we’re expecting 41 degree temps for the next three days. Yesterday was hot and humid, today is hot and windy – neither pleasant.

I’ve been out in the garden this morning watering the tomatoes and beans and other things that might suffer. They seem to handle the heat pretty well if they get a good water in the morning but they don’t like the hot winds much. Between the snails, slugs, caterpillars and heat I’ll be lucky to get any veggies this summer. I put out a bowl of beer last night and manager to drown some intoxicated slugs and I put out some apple slices as apparently snails love them and it lures them away from the things you want to eat. Chicken Little seems to think I’m laying out some sort of gourmet buffet for her though so I have to wait until she’s finished outside for the night. She’s already eaten every strawberry that’s appeared on the plants.

Almost ran into this guy this morning having his upside down breakfast.

Spiders Australia