The Incursions of Wildlife

Having lived in London for three years, where the only living creatures I come across are slugs and rats-with-wings, I am always pleasantly surprised by the fauna I encounter when I come home. In Brisbane there are Indonesian geckos which look like albinos, being all white, but are still adorable with their compactness and little hands. They come out in the evening and make a ‘clack-clack-clack’ noise which is startlingly loud for such small individuals. In Armidale, I staggered from my bed one morning to put the kettle on, and through the window I saw a white-faced blue heron hanging about the fishpond. Mum later said that it had been eating the goldfish and left me with instructions that, if I saw it again, I was to throw a shoe at it. Then, as I was vacuuming, I sucked up a piece of bark, only to realise that it was moving, and that I was inadvertently murdering a cricket. Well, I thought, if it was going to look like some bark in the 21st Century, then that was its problem for not evolving quickly enough to keep up with technology. Then there was the neighbour’s black Burmese cat which seemed to spend all its time at our place (but which killed three mice in one evening), and which woke me up at 7am by jumping on my bed twice. I was tired, and thus chucked the cat out the door in a fury. Only my father, in his wisdom, let it back in again, and so it woke me up a third time, after which much swearing ensued. I am not a happy bunny when I don’t get enough sleep, particularly when I’m on holidays, and when I couldn’t go back to sleep after this I decided I would have to walk off my violent mood. This was partially successful, until I got to the park and was attacked by a broody magpie, which scraped my scalp. I’d forgotten about the magpies; they always divebomb around the time of the high school kids’ exams, in Spring. I remember once when H and I were on the farm and I was learning to ride the motorbike, I decided we should visit our cousins. Not being very confident, I drove awfully slowly, with H sitting behind. As we neared a copse of trees, he said something to me but I didn’t hear it. ‘What?’ I replied, still putting along, and he shouted, ‘I’m being bombed by a magpie!’ I revved the accelerator and off we shot.

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