Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 11 Jan 2012

It will be a miracle if this appears on schedule. The internet connection has been getting worse over the past week or so. Telstra’s mission statement appears to be: If it ain’t broke, break it.

It was too hot to do anything yesterday afternoon, so I sprawled under the ceiling fan and contemplated my journey up the river to confront Kurtz mused on the demise of punkahs.

When I lived in Townsville, one of the cafes on Flinders Street had sailcloth punkahs. They were effective, picturesque and dropped dead insects in your food at the same rate as rotating fans. If my next place has sufficiently high ceilings, I’ll install a set in the living room. Someone must still make them. Proper ones, that is. Not those fancy palm leaf ones that wouldn’t even stir your hair.

- o O o -

If I had some cash left over after purchasing the bespoke punkahs, I’d buy a spotting scope and train it permanently on the tallest quandong. The trees here are coming into flower again and it won’t be long before the canopy will be bustling with honeyeaters and lorikeets. Even though there’s a perfectly good quandong right next to the house, the birds prefer the other one. I’m sure if I bought that spotting scope, they’d all shift. The topknot pigeons are the worst. You’ve only got to look at them and they erupt into the sky. It’s like a pigeony Vesuvius but with slightly fewer casualties.

- o O o -

There is a dead straight line of stinging tree seedlings growing in the driveway — about one every ten metres. A catbird must have stuffed its face and then gone for a bombing run between house and road. I should make it clean up the mess.

- o O o -

On the subject of birds, the male tooth-billed bowerbird seems to be powering down for the Wet Season. He started calling on 1 October last year and was going strong over Christmas. Now, his singing is much less frequent and not so complex. He is no longer pruning the ginger leaves, so I suppose he has abandoned his arena. I wonder how many tooth-billed bowerbird chicks will hatch this year?

4 comments:

Dave Coulter said...

You've got that right about spotting scopes. Any time I bring binoculars on a walk I can almost guarantee there will be nothing to see.

magda and crew in australia said...

What a Story Snail...
felt all irritated by heat, things I groan at and also filled with wonder with all that is around me...
and I also smile...
Telstra again being Telstra news... I honestly wonder why Folk keep on keeping with them.

With the punkahs... do they come with motorised attendants now?
Hadn't heard the word before, looked it up... and suddenly saw your Pademelons engaged in operating one while you lounged in a reclining chair amid tropical greenery!
With maybe that perky cheeky Possum providing you with delectables to intrigue your taste buds, while the Bush Turkeys added colour with their presence...
I'll cease my mind's imaging...

Hot here too... and Town is re-finding its traffic, making being there a bit grueling

Summer... for all that comes alive... it's not my favourite Season.

Snail said...

Dave, I reckon the birds just know.

Snail said...

Magda, I suspect most of the people who stick with them have no choice. I'm like you, I can't believe that many stay voluntarily!

Modern punkahs do come with motors. The cafe in Townsville ran them all off one rig. I don't suppose it would be any noisier than the average ceiling fan, so that would be good.

I've often considered putting the wildlife to work, but they show precious little inclination to help out around the place. The big male paddie could certainly operate the punkahs by hand...er...paw. Not sure that any food carried by possums would make it to me, though! You know what they're like!

One of the reasons I moved here is for the cooler summers, but it's been a bit of a scorcher so far. I've got to brave Atherton today and the Telstra Shop. Might have to think about it for a while.