Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sun is shining in Sydney and snake swallows woylie

First up let me come clean and admit after all my recent moaning about the amount of rain we have had, that today is the most beautiful day in Sydney. It is the type of day where being outside is a positive joy and you find yourself smiling at complete strangers.

I took the dog out as dawn came up over the harbour this morning. There is something very exhilarating about leaving the first set of footprints along a stretch of smooth sand, possibly even romantic if one was accompanied by another human, less so if accompanied by a black, furry creature whose idea of the ultimate good time is to chase, catch and disembowel a seagull (note to bird lovers he hasn’t actually achieved this ambition yet).

As it began to get light a group of kayakers went by, their progress marked by the flashing LED lights stuck to the back of their kayaks. You can understand the flashing light precautions when you see the speed at which the large ferries, lit up like a saloon bar, plough their way to and fro across the harbour to Manly.

Sad news though this morning on the monetary front. Against all expectations I failed to win the record $106 million Australian lottery drawn last night. In my joyful optimism I had already had debates with myself about whether I would tell Simon that I’d won, on balance I thought I would, but I had toyed with the idea of just stashing it in a bank account and using it to secretly supplement my salary/the housekeeping in a fairly major way. The lottery officials have calculated that one in every two adults in Australia bought a ticket, lured in by the huge jackpot. Like many people in addition to my own ticket, I am part of a work syndicate, mainly because I can’t bear the thought of turning up to school one day to discover the rest of the staff have resigned en masse having hit the monetary jackpot.

Unbelievably the dog and I have been promoted from the beginners’ class, a.k.a. the completely out of control group who have to spread out round the oval to stop their dogs killing each other. We are now moving into the intermediate class where owner and dog are supposed to have established a relationship where the dog understands who’s the boss – Pluto and I are still grappling with this one.

I was amused to read of a 2 metre long West Australian carpet python that mistakenly swallowed a woylie – hands up here if you know what a woylie is. (Ans: a very small Australian mammal). This particular woylie was wearing a transmitter which apparently was going to do the snake insides no good at all so the python was carted off to a place where it could be observed – puts me in mind of when one of my brothers swallowed a ball bearing and we had to ‘observe’ him to check it exited his body, even as a very small child I was impressed by my mother’s stoicism as she attacked this task armed with a box of cocktail sticks and the potty.

The python, which by this time must have been wondering what had happened to its previously peaceful existence, was then unfortunately stolen from the Department of Environment and Conservation's Research Centre. In the midst of presumably much teeth gnashing by the staff, some bright spark pointed out that they could track the snake down using the transmitter and in a raid involving an air force plane and the police, wildlife staff having one of the more exciting mornings on the job, burst into the snake burglar’s house and recovered the python which presumably was still trying to digest the lump of metal in its middle.

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