Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Somebody (living in the UK) googled wombat sphincter and ended up here.

I'm sorry but....someone googled wombat sphincter?

People, lock up your wombats.

Australia, close your borders.

Oh, that's right - you don't have any.

Build a very big wall then.

Wombats, be very afraid.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A frolic in the forest

There are only a few things that will get me out of bed early in the morning.

A flight, Christmas and hot weather.

I used to think that I hated getting up early - until I lived in Sydney and found myself leaping out of bed happy as a clam on most days. It wasn't until about six months later that I made the connection and finally worked out that if there isn't a temperature difference between under covers and the air outside, I don't really have a problem leaving my bed. (Never have claimed to be the smartest knife in the steak set.)

As for Christmas, I think most of my family would be delighted if this was the only day in the year that I slept in. I have banged on about this before, but unless you're under ten, I really am a pain in the arse to be in the same house with on Christmas morning. I will roam the house, rattling things, I will even resort to flinging hungry animals into bedrooms in order to get people up and embracing the day. I think it was a fatal mistake the year my mother decided that unless we were in my parents' house, you no longer got a Christmas stocking if you were over thirty. Silly, silly move, on her part. That Christmas stocking used to buy everyone else in the house at least another three quarters of an hour's quiet. Longer, if there was a book in there.

Last Christmas I behaved myself, I woke up and stayed put. It wasn't until about seven o'clock my nieces arrived in my room armed with their stockings. 'I've been waiting for you guys for aaaaaaagggggggeeeessssssssss!' I said as they climbed on to my bed. I didn't think it would have been so cool if I had woken them at six o'clock. Proof that, on a good day, I can act my age.

As for flights, that means I'm going somewhere, which I always find a little bit exciting, even if where I am going isn't. I really don't have a great urge to hurl the alarm clock through the window on travelling day, in fact I am quite grateful to it.

However on a cold winter's Sunday morning, if my alarm goes off at 5.30 a.m you won't find me leaping from bed with the energy and vigour of a woman from a breakfast cereal ad. Nope, I'm the woman with the crazy look in her eye whose desperately trying to deep fry the alarm clock. That was me, this morning.

So,I was struggling when I found myself, an hour or so later in the forest, the bracing drizzling cold and amongst hundreds of dogs, desperate to start racing and who were conveying this to us by barking. Loudly. Oh, the joys of husky racing.

The morning provided some challenges. We nearly headed in the wrong location (the completely opposite direction which would have been an hour long mistake) and then discovered that the piece of paper that was critical to my part of the job wasn't where we were told it would be. This wasn't quite as bad as discovering there was a missing member of the team - when we were on the way to the right location.

Ring ring.

'Hi there.'

'Hi Kate, where are you guys?' Cue niggling thought in back of mind along the lines of 'Are we missing something?'

'UUUUmmm, where are you?'

'Where I was told to be at 6.30.'

'We're on our way to you!'

'Where are you?'

'Just round the corner! See you in two.'

'How on earth did we manage to do that?' I asked the other guys. 'I can understand one of us forgetting a piece of equipment, but a person ?'

'I just assumed.....' said another member of the team.

That old chestnut. Assuming. It will always get you in trouble. Whenever you assume, suddenly he whips the chair out from under you. Never assume. Never assume. Never assume. Two of us assumed and ended up on our arses. We made a swift recovery, though.

So far we had managed to right many wrongs - until we got to the location.

'That gate looks suspiciously locked', noted Nearly Left Behind Guy.

Ya what?

Closer inspection showed that, yes, he was correct and you could replace 'suspiciously' with 'definitely', 'firmly', 'convincingly' and that sentence would still ring true.

Necessity dictated that we load up and leg it.

Which we did and when we arrived at the location, it started to hose down. Do you remember what it feels like when the back of your neck is cold and wet ?

I am happy to report that (in the end) we got what we were sent for and even a little more. Also, as a result of all of the above, an hour of my day was spent in the bath.

And the great part of this story is that I don't have to get out of bed early to go husky racing tomorrow. I am winning already.

And in completely different news. More stories of upside down thinking just in:

The four year old niece just called me to tell me that her mother was mending two of her dresses, 'The one I bwroke at Lake Hayes and the one Bwarbwara gave me that the bottom fell off.'

I relayed this to her mother who told me that last night she said, 'It's night time Mummy because I just saw the sunrising, down.'

I am also quite fond of the poodle naming. She had been given a black toy poodle so she called him, naturally, Blackie. And then someone else gave her the identical toy, just this one was white. Her name for this toy? White Blackie.

Upside down thinking. There's a lot to be said for it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back soon


Normal head size, blue eyes, long blond vaguely curly messy hair attached. Pierced ears (one hole in each), full set of reasonably straight normal looking teeth. Last sighting - Monday, Auckland, New Zealand.

Body currently running around in circles, flapping and squawking.

When I find the fucker with the axe............

Friday, May 16, 2008

She was a long day

First up, housework.I have discovered that blogger has been eating comments, if you have commented and it's not appeared, it's not because I have vetted you, promise. Email me and let me know.

Anyway, those whales. Needless to say I didn't react to them the way I did the red panda and scamper away as quick as my little legs could carry me. However that could be possibly due to the fact that I wasn't in as close a proximity to the whales I was the red panda and they weren't gleefully eyeing me up whilst sharpening their ninja claws.

The day turned into quite a surreal one. It's not every day you are making a journey to go and see whales when you get a call saying, 'There's a pregnant corgi that's about to blow. Once you've done the whales can you get back here in time for the cesarean at three?'

Ya what?

At that point in time in the category that is Impossible, it seemed pretty much up there along with 'Can you land the jumbo jet because one pilot has just had a heart attack and the other pilot has decided he is a fish?' But after we did the maths, deleted the (proposed) second whale trip and subtracted lunch it looked like we would be able to land the jumbo after all.

'Yeah, but you'll need to schedule it for four and we will get there as soon as we can.'

We were very fortunate on our whale trip. We hit the trifecta seeing orca, hump and sperm whales. The whaleboat driver said that in twelve years of taking whale tours, he had never seen all three in one trip.

They really are quite daunting creatures. I have to say that during the course of my day I don't often see a living breathing thing that is bigger than a boat. And we're not talking dingys.

I was talking to a British boy who told me he thought that the orcas suited the colour of the water they were swimming in. The boy clearly has a career in the wardrobe department.

And did you know that orcas find sperm whales' tongues quite tasty as a wee hors d'Ĺ“uvre?

The nature nerd I was there with reckoned the whales was one of the most amazing sites he had ever witnessed. But then, he didn't accompany us to the corgi c-section.

Corgis really crack me up. It's like they bought their head and body from one shop and got their legs from another. Do you think they look at them wistfully pleading, 'Grow! Please grow.'

This poor old corgi waddled into the operating room, wide as she was long, looking like she would have made a great tray and fit to explode.

I am pleased to report, that I managed to endure the entire operation on my feet. Oh, I was terribly proud of myself. Even the vet and vet nurses were surprised but I did notice they kept saying, 'Would you look at Kate's face!'

I think my look was a mixture of horror (how can her insides be on the outside and she still be alive?), terror (if I slide down the wall I'm going to end up covered in corgi juice) and wonder (and the birth process is supposed to beautiful, how?)

I left my house at six a.m, got home at seven thirty p.m, covered over seven hundred kilometres, met five whales and witnessed ten puppies arrive in the world via the sunroof.

I kind of felt like that day of my life could have been a montage in a totally unbelievable movie.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Get those ninja claws away from me, ya big ginger.

Oh, what a week it was.

I've learnt a couple of things.

One is all about the red panda.

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/red-panda.html, if you are in possession of the same amount of knowledge of these animals as I was at the beginning of the week.

They're red, the size of the fattest cat you've ever laid eyes on, alot less of them are now living in Myanmar than there were a week ago, they've got massively long fat tails that Garfield would covert, they're partial to grapes and they're cute and snuggly looking.

Oh and, it would appear I am terrified of them.

Faced with the prospect of one of them attempting to climb up me, I transformed into the biggest girl's blouse jessie you've ever laid your eyes on.

'If they come near you, they may come and climb you.' Warned the

So naturally, of the four of us who were in there, who did the panda think would be most fun to climb?

Persistent, I believe is a good term to describe the panda's behaviour. 'Please don't climb up me, please don't climb up me,' I pleaded as I lept over cables and did my best to scoot away from at least sixteen razor sharp claws that were attached to some red fur.

But did that deter old Ninja Claws? Hell no, he had identified me as the person who was least happy to be a tree and then continued to mess with my head.

Of course, the rest of the team thought that was outstandingly funny.

'Ya big chicken!' Hollered one of them.

'Yeah but those claws could turn me into sushi in nano seconds', I pathetically attempted to defend myself.

So that was Monday.

Wednesday involved me being in close proximity to three orca, one humpback whale, one sperm whale and a corgi who had a c section to remove ten puppies.

It was kind of surreal, and this involved no drugs or late nights. Just a very early morning and a very long day.

And I will tell you about that next time.

Yes, I accept I am sounding a bit like a reality show promo - promise the world and deliver ten percent.

But I can do that, it's my blog and I will over sell if I want to.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The fish will fight back.

Right then. The last two days of my life have included fly fishing and five red panda.

I text a friend to say that I had spent the day fly fishing and the message came back with, 'Who is this? Have you stolen this phone?' I am so not the fly fishing type. You could take the word fly out of that sentence and it would still be true. (I was being paid to be there.)

I am, however, the eating-fish type. Will eat it till the cows come home and redecorate, but please don't ask me to catch it. On the times that I have been trapped on a boat that has had fish hauled on board you will generally find me scampering away to put as much room (in as short a possible time) between me and the flapping, dying, hurting fish.

Needless to say it's reasonably dangerous to go fishing with me in a dingy.

Once I get as far away as physically possible from the fish I then start to apologise.

Flap. Flap. Gasp. Gasp. Die.Die.

'Sorry!' I cry from the other side of the boat.'I'm really sorry, Fishie!'

But then once the fish is dead, I am the first to the table to consume the freshly-dead fish.

If I was a fish, I would really hate me.

When I was a little girl and we were staying at Lake Hayes (see photo below) my father and uncle were off fishing. When they were down at the lake side I heard them calling my name. I went to the edge of the lawn and my father hollered, 'Katie, we forgot the beer! Can you get us some beer?'

So, being the dutiful daughter, I took my little legs off to the beer fridge and became a beer mule. When I got down to the lake I asked my father why he needed the beer.

'Because the fish like the smell of it.'

And I believed that for about the next twenty years of my life.

Now I understand where I get my gift for messing with small people's brains. I inherited it.

But back to my fly fishing. During the course of the day they landed four fish.

And then they threw them back.


I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. I understand that it's good for numbers and all that, but what about the fish? I'm not sure about the argument there. 'We won't deplete numbers by catching and eating them, however we are happy to put a hook through their mouth drag them to the side of the river and then throw them back.'

So you are happy to terrorize and stress them, but you will make it alright by not eating them?

I wouldn't be surprised if the fish start to fight back.

After all, chickens are getting their own back with bird flu. We should be very afraid.

P.S Red panda another day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Queenstown, you've just got to go.

So this is the view I have been looking at for the last three days.

And if you can hear some distant whooping and cheering it is just me throwing my own party because I have worked out how to upload pictures, all by very own self.

If you know me, you will understand what a monumental feat this. I have just climbed my very own Everest. And it only took me about the same time as it took Sir Ed.

I have been down at Lake Hayes, just out of Queenstown avec ma soeur, her husband and the six year-old and her four year-old sister. It's a place we spent many a holiday growing up, so it's familiar smells and lovely memories. And well, that view. You can waste a lot of time looking at it.

Just after I had arrived we were casually sauntering around in the supermarket, when the six year-old looked at me and said, 'You're cheeky, Kate.'

I burst out laughing, 'I'm not cheeky! Why do you think I'm cheeky?' (I hadn't been cheeky to the parking Nazi at the airport at that stage, either.)

'You are. You're just CHEEKY!'

'Yeah!' Chimed in her little sister, 'You're cheeky!' And then promptly dissolved into giggles.

And the thing is, that description wouldn't have come out of their mother or father's mouth either. I suppose I am continually surprised and fascinated at how these small brains work and process information. Also when they aren't possession of a word, I love the logical process that fills the gap.

I was walking out of a shop in Arrowtown with the four year-old and as we walked past a mannequin she said, 'That's a pretend lady.'

I think I'm going to take it and run with that one, if I was a mannequin I think i would much prefer to introduce myself as a 'pretend lady' instead of a 'mannequin'.

When my nephew was about three, we were at the beach and he picked up a circular shell that he wanted to give to me as a ring and he said to his mother, 'Mummy what are those things that ladies put on their hands to make their fingers look pretty?'

And my personal favourite (apologies to those who have heard this story before - it is on high rotate), when the four year-old wasn't quite two her mother came back from Dubai with a little stuffed camel for her and she exclaimed, 'Look Mummy! A horse-turtle!'

I think that same literal naming went on when they were naming things of significance around Queenstown. (And for those of you who haven't been, but have just heard of people banging on about how beautiful it is? Believe the hype, it really is truly beautiful. Breathtaking, even).

Queenstown sits in the Wakatipu Basin and when you fly in, you fly past a spectacular mountain range which are called, wait for it, The Remarkables. I have got a vision of two vaguely pompous (yet intrepid) Englishmen sitting puffing on their pipes looking at them and saying, 'Well, they're fairly remarkable aren't they, old chap?'

'Now what shall we call them, The King Edwards?'

'The New Cumbrians?'

'Dammit man!Why don't we say it as we see it? The Remarkables?'

'Great name, great name.'

And I'm sure if Kevin Bloody Wilson was the guy in charge of naming stuff they would have been called The Fuck Me-s!

And I reckon if my nieces had any hand in the naming of them they would be called something along the lines of The Dinosaur Jaw Mountains.