If anyone has been following the NT news without my prompting then you will know by now there has been a couple of croc attacks up there lately plus some awesome events I have failed to write about. The reason I didn’t say anything about the croc attacks , well one in particular which involved alcohol and a man that has been living in the Territory his whole bloody life , was because what the hell can you say ? Someone that should of known better got taken by a croc while trying to cross the Mary River , only the one of the worlds most croc infested waterways as I pointed out in this post. I feel pretty bad for his family and the people that were down there that day with their kids and witnessed the whole thing. I do feel bad for the bloke but my first thought admittedly is ‘what the fucking hell was he drinking ?!” You would have to give me general anesthetic before I would get in that particular river …
The second reason my writing has slowed down on my blog is because I finally got my arse into gear and have nearly finished my book , based on my blog and my adventures in the NT . I have a long way to go before I can say I’m done though , as its a first draft and needs a few changes but the hard part , getting everything written down , is nearly over ! Yay ! I have already gone back to earlier chapters and started the editing and re-writing process and in early October my latest obsession is booked in with a professional editor which is nerve wracking but very exciting and I cant seem to focus on much else at the moment. So because I have neglected to entertain you with my Territory news updates , here is the latest chapter of my book – this chapter is not complete but its a first draft and its based on my last house in Darwin River . Please tell me what you think as I need the feedback when I go back and do the second draft ! I’m sure there are a few spelling and grammer error’s which I haven’t picked up yet – they will be fixed up at the end so please dont think I’m illiterate ! I’ve just been more focused on the story structure
Latest Chapter – Untitled ( suggestions welcome haha )
One day , at the end of September 2012 , while I was sitting around home growing fatter , Dave called from work. “Kel , remember my mate Jim , you know the one with the Flindstone House ?” he asked me.
“Yeah , how could I forget?” I replied . We had visited Jim a few months earlier in his ‘Flindstone House’ in Darwin River just before he moved down to Hay , NSW to be with his new girlfriend. He was quite a character and lived in a house that had been built out of rocks , cement and probably a whole heap of shit stolen from building sites. Well by the look of it he didn’t pay much for the building materials anyway. “ Why , what about him ?”
“He’s got no one living in his house at the moment and wants to know if we would be keen on movin into the joint’.
Fuck yeah , was the pope a Catholic ? Do bears shit in woods ? I’d of moved there that afternoon if I was able to. The place might have been built out of whatever Jim could get his hands on for little or no money but it was out on a 50 acre property , about 10 kms up the road from my favourite swimming hole , Berry Springs in a little town called Darwin River. The house itself wasn’t too bad despite the fact that it basically a glorified shed. Jim had rendered the inside walls to give it a cave like effect and the kitchen was huge , separated from the lounge room and main bedroom by big glass sliding doors which allowed the lounge room to stay cool while leaving the kitchen completely open. There was a front and back verandah and the house was surrounded by large trees and landscaped gardens ( which surprised me because considering the state of the house the gardens were perfectly maintained.) The bathroom was under the back verandah and it was also built out of cement and rocks , keeping the cave theme going . There were about 5 tree frogs living in the shower and a cane toad usually cowering in the corner down the bottom. The toilet was also outdoors and it was pretty open , meaning that you could sit on the loo with a great sunset view of the paddocks with flies buzzing around your head , a dog trying to climb on your lap and a frog up your arse. ( The frogs lived INSIDE the loo and every now and then you would have one trying to climb out while you were doing your business.)
Despite all of this or , more accurately , because of all this , I jumped at the opportunity to move out there. I didn’t really need to be in town as Id be leaving the radio job soon anyway ( The morning sickness went way past 4 months and I was struggling to sound bubbly at 7 am when really all I wanted to do was lie next to the loo with a cold washer and some soda water till 10 am every day).
We moved out to the property a couple of weeks later and when I say ‘we moved’ I mean Dave and his mate moved all the stuff while I watched them . Hey I was pregnant , I had to get some kind of perks out of the situation. Besides , it was the beginning of the ‘build up’ , the hottest muggiest time of year up in Darwin , and , at 5 ½ months pregnant with morning sickness until at least 11 am , I was about as useful as tits on a bull , as the the saying goes. But the boys did a great job and I did my bit by buying them rum and cooking them dinner afterwards. Well actually , I didn’t quite cook , I bought a BBQ chicken , some salad and bread rolls but the point is they got fed.
Shortly after we moved in to our new home , Mayhem arrived. Literally. Our new puppy , Mayhem or Maisie for short , was part of my plan to help Chaos deal with the little Gumnut ( as I nicknamed my bump ). I figured that if he had another dog around it would help him deal with the fact he is no longer the centre of my world. It didn’t quite work like that at first though. Chaos was not happy with Maisie’s arrival at all. He wasn’t aggressive towards her but would simply walk out of the room if she walked in. If she tried to play with him he would turn away from her or get up and move. I was convinced he would never accept her. But within two weeks I caught him being nice to her in the garden while he thought no one was looking. For some reason if he knew I was there he would go back to being a total arsehole to her again. I felt sorry for her but she didn’t seem to mind. Once she got a bit bigger she started lording it over him so much I started feeling sorry for him instead. She absolutely adored Chaos and had to be on practically on top of him at all times. The poor bastard had no privacy any more and his bed was no longer his own. She seemed to take up the best part of it and Id find him lying on the concrete next to it half the time , having given up on the idea of getting his bed to himself ever again. ***
Living in the middle of the bush means you have to be prepared to share your accommodation with the local wildlife. The night we moved in , we had a bloke staying there that had been looking after the place for Jim while he had no one living in it. He ha been there for a few weeks and gave me some tips about the place to help me settle in. ‘At night , you might hear a few strange noises , but dont worry , its just the possums in the roof , nothing to worry about. Its definitely not a ghost or anything …” he explained t me over dinner that night. I just looked at him with an amused expression on my face and went along with him . He had obviously had no idea I knew the back story to that particular piece of advice ….. The story goes , after his first couple of nights staying at the house alone he called Jim up sounding a tiny bit stressed.
“ Mate , theres some weird noises in the roof at night , I cant figure out what it is .. its got me a bit worried”.
“ Oh yeah , no ,dont worry about that , there was an old bloke living there before me , he died in the place , he moves around a bit at night” Jim lied to him.
“What the fuck ? Mate are you serious ?” Our Pommie friend was freaking right out as Jim confirmed his suspicions that he had been sharing the place with a ghost.
“He wont bother you , just put some earplugs in and try not to piss him off I spose …” Eventually , after about a week Jim must of felt sorry for him and told him the truth – the only things that had died in that house were cane toads and bush rats because here he was , reassuring me that there were definitely no ghosts on the property.
To be perfectly honest sometimes I would of preferred to share the house with a grumpy old ghost than the wildlife I seemed to be tripping over from the moment I got out of bed. I felt like Dr DoLittle . I’d have a shower with an audience of 5 tree frogs and I hate to say it but showering with a cane toad at my feet is now perfectly normal to me. He became my little shower buddy. He’d hear me coming and hop to the corner and I would make sure I stuck to my half of the shower.
There were snakes everywhere including my kitchen. I walked out one night to get a drink and saw a strange looking piece of rope on the ground. I thought it might have been a bikini string because it was shiny with black and white stripes. But something stopped me from picking it up. My primal instincts told me to stand at the opposite side of the room and throw things at it instead. Good move because after I threw a steak knife at its head , the piece of rope came to life and was very , very pissed off. I freaked out and ran outside , grabbing my mobile on my way and called Dave , who was about 2500kms away at the time “ Dave there’s a fucking snake in the kitchen , I don’t know what to do , it came right at me with its head raised , all pissed off and shit ..” I was nearly in tears and freaking right out. I had only just masterd the art of killing huntsmans and even then , I needed half a can of Mortein to get the job done.
“ Its ok Kel ”, Dave tried to calm me down “ just get a broom and push it out the door”.
“ A broom ?” I replied “ A fucking broom ? You want me to sweep the pissed off snake up with a brrom ? Are you crazy ? What if it bites me ? I have no fucking idea what kind of snake it is ! How will I get to the hospital ? Drive myself ?? Oh my God , I cant do this , its a snake , I dont do snakes !”
“Kel , calm down , I cant do anything from here can you call Steve up and get him around to help ?”
Steve was one of his mates , who lived half an hour away. He had also just moved an Irish backpacker into the family home while his wife was in hospital giving birth to their first child so I wasnt actually speaking to him myself.
“Im not calling that dickhead , Id rather sleep in the car , don’t worry , Ill call Terri , she might be braver than me.” Terri was a workmate and one of my closest mates. She has come to my rescue more than once while Dave has been away but usually the crisis involved one of the land cruisers , not a potentially deadly reptile. As it turned out she had been having a Sunday session that afternoon with her boyfriend and as much as the Dutch courage probably would of helped her move the snake , there was no way she could drive. I had no other option but to call the local pub.
The barmaid was very sympathetic to my situation and promptly sent her boyfriend over to the house to get rid of my intruder. By this stage I had calmed down enough to go back inside and when I saw the snake , which was now curled up the corner near the kitchen sink , I was slightly embarrassed. The snake was the size of a large worm. Ok maybe a bit bigger but not much. When the guy from the pub arrived , I sheepishly pointed out the snake and asked him to try and move it to the garden because I didn’t want it to die , it looked so cute all coiled up in the corner.
Cute . Ha ! The snake went absolutely ballistic when the bloke from the pub tried to scoop it up with an empty pizza box. It started thrashing itself around , bouncing around the kitchen floor like it was possessed. “See !” I exclaimed “ That’s why I was shitting myself before , the bloody thing is mental !”
My hero was not looking as confident as when he first walked in and ended up dancing around the kitchen , dodging the psychotic snake , every now and then making a half hearted attempt to get it to jump onto the pizza box. Finally he gave up on getting the snake out alive and grabbed a broom , decapitating my uninvited guest and ending the great’ Dance of the Snake”. He went to throw it into the garden as I originally asked him to do , albeit slightly less alive than I had intended. “Wait , I gotta get a photo !” I told him and took a few happy snaps to show Dave when he got home. Which I wish I hadn’t done because to this day if I mention the snake intrusion in front of him he pisses himself laughing and say ‘snake ? Don’t you mean earthworm ??”