Tuesday, April 17, 2007

when a stranger calls

I swear this story is only going to fuel the myths that abound about Australia. I know my regular overseas readers are informed enough to know that kangaroos don't bounce along the inner city freeways, and that koalas don't live in trees in everyone's backyard. But any innocent blog-surfer who happened along would be at risk of believing these things. I often write about Mum's farm, which is teeming with wildlife - judging by the tales Mum is forever telling me . There was the snake above the front door. The native hopping mouse nesting in Mum's chest of drawers (complete with pink, newborn babies). A dingo attacking a defenceless calf. The frog living in Mum's bathroom. And now, a mysterious visitor at the back door......

A few nights ago, Mum was spending a quiet evening at her farm. Mum's sister, my Aunt Zany, was staying over, so the two of them were peacefully talking.

"Bang! Thump!" came a sound from the back door.

Mum and Aunt Zany exchanged mystified glances. Cautiously, they approached the door. Slowly, carefully and somewhat fearfully, Mum opened the back door and peered out. There, immediately beside the door, clinging on to the log wall of Mum's hogbacked home, was a koala.

Mum and Aunt Zany stood and spoke softly to the koala. I don't have it from the horse's mouth (sorry Mum, you are in fact the horse in this scenario), but I bet Mum was saying things like, "Hello little fella! Whatchyou doing here, hmm? Did you think this wall was a tree, hey?". The koala eyed them warily and declined to comment. Eventually, Mum and Aunt Zany went back inside, and came around from the front to the side of the house, to spy on the disorientated marsupial.

They watched as the koala slowly clambered down, and then sat lazily on Mum's back porch awhile. A few minutes later, the furry creature headed off towards Mum's nearby Jacaranda tree (see photo). Two feet up the Jacaranda tree, the koala stopped, and gazed about. Obviously having some sort of an epiphany, (doesn't FEEL like a gum tree....hmmmm....doesn't SMELL like a gum tree....errrrr.....doesn't LOOK like gum tree either. Back up, back up, I'm comin' down!) the confused critter shunted down the trunk. Mum watched as the koala trundled off into the night, finally reached a blue gum tree, and climbed up safely.

I'm not sure what was going on in the brain of this fuzzball. My friend Heather suggested the animal was inebriated (gum leaf shooters, anyone?). I'm thinking this koala was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

I wonder what the poor little tyke must have thought of the night's events. I'm guessing the koala was traumatised by all the kerfuffle - mistaking a house for a tree, being spoken to by Scary Humans, then climbing another tree that wasn't quite right. Did it shake its grey head in shame, muttering 'How embarrassing! ' to itself? Was it shivering, quaking, and exhausted, up high in the Blue gum?

After all, how much can a koala bear?



Remiman said...

Kerfuffle! I love that word, but never seem to be able to work it into any sentence. You did it so smoothly, It just seems so natural there. Your mum certainly has an assortment of visitors tame and otherwise.

Heather said...

How much can a Koala bear? My, but you are a silly thing. :-)

TUFFENUF said...

You just write the nicest stories! You Mum sure has her share of animals. Does she live in the outback?

thisisme said...

Oh I giggled. There may even have been a snicker. Perhaps a chortle too.

susan said...

Your mum has such adventures! Maybe the koala is elderly, has dementia, forgot where he lived, was looking for the famous jellydoctor... or does that only happen to humans? Thanks for the entertainment!

meggie said...

Jelly, I loved this story. Definitely only in Australia!
A nice smile to start my day.

Redneck Mommy said...

Lovely story Jelly. It made me smile. Thanks for sharing and give Jellyma a squeeze for me.

John Cowart said...

That Jacaranda tree is exqusite! Makes our Florida trees look drab... but we tell better jokes here.

Anonymous said...

grin and bear it~

Mimi said...

The only thing missing was a photo of furry and I am one who thinks kangaroos and koalas are everyhwere.


Kerri said...

Oh I love your stories! :) Poor little mixed up koala.
What's a hogbacked home? A log cabin?
I haven't seen a jacaranda tree in a very long time. They've always been a favourite of mine. I love the pink and grey galahs too. Great picture.
Jellyma is very lucky to have such a collection of wildlife on her idyllic farm.
I can hardly "bear" wait for the next "critter" story ;)
Ross says hi and sends a hug. (I'm not sure I approve of him hugging cute lady doctors) :)

Sandy said...

I laughed all the way through your story. I can just picture your mum and your "aunt Zany???"

Why is it that your mum has all the exciting critters at her house? The picture of the Jacaranda tree almost looks like a painting with those lovely birds in it.

You mean that there's not koalas in most trees and kangaroos bouncing around everywhere? I'm disappointed...boo hoo hoo.
I can hardly bear to know the truth and I bet your going to tell me that you don't have crocodiles in every pond.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Ah Jelly, I understand your mum totally. I live on acreage and we have visits by the local wildlife too.

As for that koala, I think, it's the gum leaves. You know, sort of like cat nip...animal marijuana. That's why the poor animal was so discombobulated...he didn't know which way was up, obviously!

jellyhead said...

Mum lives about 1 1/4 hrs from the nearest large city, so I don't think her property would be classed as 'outback' (which I think is used more to refer to more isolated, drier rural areas). Still, the farm is on a dirt road, and quite isolated (can't see any neighbours), so we love it!

Hogbacking (apparently) is when you put split logs laid vertically on an existing wall, so that they all face out with their rounded edges...if that makes any sense!

Sorry, there are no crocodiles in the ponds either!! ;)There ARE occcasional sightings somewhere unexpected like in canal waters, or at the mouths of rivers. Of course, there are lots of crocs up north in North Queensland and it is unsafe to be on many river banks up there.

So Heather was right- the koala WAS drunk!!