Swimming With Crocs

Here at Poddler’s Creek, it has rained so heavily and for so long, that it’s probable the Winter Creek will start to run any time soon.The geese are loving it, literally in their element. It is possible on days like this, to see why permission was refused to extend the house, once long ago before my time. The Council ruled it was sitting on an old creek bed. So it is, but the creek now runs only in Winter and has dug itself a channel so deep it contains waterfalls and bare tree roots from the gum trees which have lived on its banks for nearly 500 years; maybe more. A lot happens in 500 years!

In my working years, I kept a piece of fossilised Monkey Puzzle tree root on my desk to remind me that in the face of 60 million years, one day is nothing! And so it was on Wednesday. A dear one remarked that it wasn’t so much that I had given up the past as that it had given up on me. A perceptive comment in the face of the events and the reworking of the history of the dear departed, whose funeral we were attending. I was pointedly expurgated and that gave rise to many thoughts; mostly to do with adoption and the adopted life.

The immediate family of the deceased contains a pair of adopters and two adoptees; one a psychiatric mess, the other for all intents and purposes ‘happy’. We’ll go no further than that, because we all know what it means – we heard it from our next door neighbour’s brother’s hairdresser! A happy adoptee usually means we know someone who appears happy, doesn’t talk about adoption so what are you grizzling/whining about? Given the responsibility these two adopters had in censoring the eulogy, which was actually an autobiographical piece you might write for a wedding, you’d have to wonder  how much they used those censorship abilities on the history of the girls they adopted.

Maybe not at all; but this is a family of serious, heavy-duty secrets; of long-haul, big business feuds, resentments and power struggles. Years ago, this very couple told the dear departed and her soul mate, that they would not see their recently adopted grand-daughters, their first grandchildren, while they had contact with the afather’s first wife. The stand-off lasted for around three years and was skillfully glossed over yesterday. The first wife, dear girl, grew out of the marriage and grew up to be a talented and skilled psychologist with her own business, a new grown-up husband and an apartment in Paris. For a family who care deeply about money while pretending not to, the trappings of success and the accoutrements of ostentatious intellectual snobbery, they must be sick as parrots!  Enough about them, they have many struggles ahead in dividing the spoils, fighting over the money and building new feuds and dark clouds over the next generation.

Release from prison? I should say so; my escape meant I’d saved my own life. I know many of us adoptees have been in those relationships where you know you’ll die if you don’t get out, you can feel your soul shrivelling and your life leaking away because you’re with parasites, blood suckers and active vampires. It really isn’t an exaggeration and once you’ve freed yourself from the man-trap; life only improves, steadily, day by day, year by year. When you look back, as I did and have done many times before, you wonder at how needy you must have been, how deluded and how ‘adopted’!! I forgave myself long ago by the way.

Here in the good life, there has been amusement over a fellow bloggers back-packing encounter with a dingo! My last encounter with back-packers directly, involved some French students of the grape, here for vintage. They rather foolishly got mixed up in a scheme to transport some illegal substances across the border and were picked up round Broken Hill in Mad Max country. Laughter ensued on their safe return and the consumption of a bottle of wine they made a present off, called The Arrogant Frog  added to the hilarity. Nice couple! Hope they’ve gone far in their wine-making ventures by now.

Aussie BackPackers Magazine recommends that: –

Tourists should take care in all major cities (as with destinations all over the world). You should be especially cautious when using ATMs. Australia is relatively safe for women travellers, although in the outback there still remains a patriarchal culture. When travelling into the outback and interior regions of Australia, specific precautions should be taken. You should take adequate supplies, and always leave information of your whereabouts.

Yep! You really have to watch those vicious ATM’s; shearers, crocodile hunters and other gentleman of the outback who may have some old-time values like respect for women, courtesy packaged in an easy-going rather dusty exterior! Specific precautions? You mean like not wandering off alone if you’re a new chum, taking plenty of water, all your own supplies, a spare fan-belt, tyres, 1st Aid Kit, bottle of vinegar (for the jelly-fish and Blue-Ringer Octopus stings),  and a big stick to fend off wild dingoes, snakes, fierce kangaroos, crocodiles, box jelly-fish, scorpions, irate camels and landholders whose land you’ve trespassed on?  Australia is a wild, wonderful, weird country, full of opportunities for relaxation, fun and new experiences in unbelievable quantities; but parts of it are for experienced adults, who know what they’re doing, where they’re going and how to get there. It’s dangerous, unforgiving and harshly cruel if you are disrespectful, foolish or think you know it all.    It will prove time and again you don’t.

The only time to swim with crocs is when there is a risk you might cut your feet on sharp stones!

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