Monthly Archives: January 2016

The year of the skink

It may be the Year of the Monkey for some, but for me it is the Year of the Skink. Why, because the skink showed me what my 2016  New Year resolution will be.

Web_Colin-alert_7903I was digging out weeds in my garden in the company of le chat bizarre dozing in the curve of a piece of sandstone in our garden. Suddenly my companion was alert, twitching tail, ears pricked, eyes wide open, watching something under the sasanqua. The loud rustling made me wonder whether there was a field mouse searching for food. Le chat bizarre’s latest sport is to bring them into the house, let them go and watching me chase them with a broom.

I moved closer and saw a the yellow underbelly of a large tree snake twined around itself and another reptile. Initially I thought it was a second snake then I realised it was a large skink that was being swallowed.


The skink’s head was inside the snake’s mouth and it was wriggling and thrashing its body and tail, trying to get out of that mouth.  I and le chat bizarre watched mesmerised, as the snake moved its jaws wider and swallowed even more of the skink. That lizard was not giving up the fight. It was scrabbling against the leaves with its hind legs and flailing its forelegs against the predator.  The snake wrapped its body even tighter around the skink and you could see the muscles contracting. I was convinced the skink was going to be swallowed but suddenly and I don’t know how, the skink managed to wriggle out of the snakes’s mouth and escape into the leaf litter. The snake slithered away and le chat bizarre went back to contemplating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That skink reminded me to always keep trying and never give up. Curiously, I read a quote the other day which dates from the 1920’s and sometimes attributed to Franklin D.Roosevelt.

Web_palm-seeds-&-rope_7898‘When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.’

Life is very precious, fight for it.

(Skink and snake got away before either could be captured on film.)

Remembering the owl and the pussycat

Colin being benign_6867‘So my fave event about which I am most passionate is having dinner with my family.’ I floated my statement above the aroma from our dinner waiting for someone to nibble at the bait and expand on it. In the silence, I wondered whether they understood my teasing. Then came the laughter and their suggestions. Listening to the discussion bouncing between us reminded me that words are a pleasure and there is nothing better than to have a nonsensical conversation over good food and wine. Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense with his clever prose and limericks was a favourite bed-time read.

I grew up with a mother who would write her rhymes in birthday cards and scrabble was frequently played after dinner. Before iPads, the Dictionary sat within reach of the table so that a point could be clarified. I encouraged my children to develop their skills in repartee, the better to extend their curfew times, and debate was often vigorous between us.

Captain A and I enjoy the power of eloquent language and frequently comment on the poor quality of reporting in our media.  The list published by the Lake Superior State University, Michigan of words people have found annoying and overused has been a source of discussion in the news and I have my contributions to that list.

‘So’ on that note I am suggesting two of my ‘faves’: event and passionate. Over summer in Australia we now have ‘rain events’ and ‘flood events’. Doesn’t it just rain with a flood being one of the consequences?

Recently at a women’s networking function every speaker said they were just so passionate about improving the lot of women in the workforce. You might feel strongly, even very strongly about equality but passionate. Sorry, passion is what I feel for my husband.

Colin in hot weather_2I would love to hear what my friends think are over-used or inappropriately used words. Send them through please.