I rave on a lot about my dad, coz really he is some kind of hero to me. This is me when i was little with my dad handling a snake in the backyard in the very western town of Tottenham…(or as i used to call it Totnamham) it is actually pronounced …. Tot – Nam, NSW, where my dad was the only police officer in town, what they call a one-man station.
He was ever encouraging me to ‘touch’ the wildlife and not be afraid….. after growing up in the mountains of Katoomba and being introduced to rockpools and snorkelling at a young age while on a holiday, my dad’s love for nature grew and grew and grew.
That early encouragement to ‘touch’ things could explain why at age 10 i got my thumb stuck in a giant clam on Keswick Island, a then uninhabited island in the Whitsunday Group, and perhaps that’s why he and i both touched the leaves on the Qld Stinging Tree and really regretted it…. yes, looking back, perhaps that explains a lot of things :)
I am much more at home with animals than people….give me a cat to cuddle and I’m much more me….. although…i do love snakes….. i much prefer lizards, they are my favourite reptile..after that comes the turtle.
I am very partial to baby chicks as we raised a lot of them by hand when i was young….i also hand raised 3 baby mice who’s mother had died of heatstroke because the garage where we kept them got so hot in the summer…the little black and white one died, and it broke my heart….i had a special burial ceremony for him and never forgave myself, because i killed him with kindness by overfeeding the delicate little sweetheart…and he was my favourite. The baby mice were only about 1cm long….and about 7 others all died before i could revive them.. I fed them milk through a tiny rubber flange by sticking a needle through the end of it to create a teet and pinching the other end between my fingers..
We had many unusual pets growing up, including a blue ringed octopus, crabs, lion fish, a baby crocodile, a cockatoo, quails, parrots, snakes, baby foxes, turkeys and little baby chicks which i remember had hardly any feathers, looked a bit like they’d been skinned and we would feed them until their ’craw’s were really full and poking out…..then we knew each one had had their fill. The one thing i love more than most other things, are baby lizards. This love apparently comes from the time I saw lizards born live. If only I could remember, but I have to rely on my parents retell. Shingleback lizards bear their young live…and i was lucky to witness the miracle once…..screaming ‘Born lizards, born lizards’!!
It was not unusual for us to have octopi crawling around the back yard and lobsters too…..i used to so enjoy listening to their crackly noises from yabbies we caught in the dam in the buckets of water…and watching the little fishies dad would catch for the fish tanks…swimming round n round in the little yellow bucket.
Our home was a haven for crab casings, beautiful exotic shells, wahoo and marlin heads mounted on timber…and every specimen under heaven that dad could inject with formalin to preserve in some way…there were fishing nets hung from the ceilings with all manner of things stuck up there, including the glass buoys i so love and starfish, and all manner of spider and spanner crabs…etc..etc…
On yet another occasion, i scrubbed the baby turkey chics and almost killed them all, in an effort to clean off their specks…..perhaps that’s when the OCD first began (lol)
I’ve been very reminiscent about the past lately, mainly because it seems the more i share my stories, it appears i had rather an unusual upbringing.. I always thought that everyone was brought up this way….
No need for you to comment on the image above, because it is just something i’d like to buy for myself as a card to give to my dad, to show him my appreciation for all the stuff he introduced me to as a child, for all the adventures we had……
….just reminiscing :)
ps… if dad caught a marlin today, he would simply release it, he no longer has the desire to kill beautiful creatures. I’ll never forget the day we caught a beautiful jewelled Dolphin Fish…it was almost as tall as myself..and as I lifted it from the ocean with all my might, it seemed to me to be a treasure chest of glittering rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds..then his glorious colours faded once I’d hauled him into the boat… they fade before you can even take a photo… but there has been nothing like this in brilliance that I’ve ever seen out to sea before… other things were amazing, but nothing this gorgeous… we ate him for dinner that night, and i always regret not giving him back to his ocean home and leaving him be :(
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