blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, November 22, 2013

To the Forestry Trail, koalas and 'roos.

We shook the sand off the bed sheets after our swim in the waves on Tuesday. Our first visit yesterday was to "Athlete's Foot" in the Macquarie Centre where a politely assertive salesgirl took Chris in hand and insisted that he replace his old shoes, ruined by rain puddles and overuse. Then George drove us to Cumberland State Forest for a walk among the skinks in the arboretum, under the giant hoop pines and bunya pines which grow massive, green pinecones weighing up to 10 kg apiece. At this time of year they are not fully grown. We saw some leopard ash trees too with splodge patterned bark. Wonderfully tall and straight eucalyptus trees with white trunks were marked for chopping down. I was reminded of the white pines of Canada. Both these species were chosen for masts in the days of sailing ships on the high seas.

"Once they get their tails up against Australia, there's no stopping them," said the cricket commentator on the radio, referring to the England side at the start of the current Test Match.

We were back in the car and on our way to the Koala Park, where we fed wallabies and kangaroos handfuls of dried grass and saw dingoes, parrots and peacocks at close quarters as well as miniature penguins being fed whole pilchards---they refuse to touch them without the heads.

For the first time in my life I stroked the ears of a live koala and of several tame kangaroos. They are soft and warm, their faces a sort of cross between a sheep and a rabbit. Some of the females had "joeys" in their pouches, with a head or feet sticking out for proof. It seems a shame that we have a pack of kangaroo meat for stir frying in the fridge, chosen by George.

Koalas, so were learned, are not called koala bears in Australia. That's an English mistake. These animals live in the wild not far north of Sydney, though they are not numerous. They only wake up for 4 or 5 hours a day; the rest of the time they're curled up in the fork of two eucalyptus branches, somewhere high in the trees, sleeping. I was advised to watch out for their sharp claws.

P.S. (later) I hate to say it, but the kangaroo meat was very lean and tasty.

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