09 September 2011

Of croquet and crocodiles

What a rainy day in Eumundi – bucketing down.  And yet a surprising number of people are out and about, taking cover in the shops.  It’s a public holiday here for the Noosa Show so it’s unfortunate that as an outdoor event it’s probably a wash-out.  If I had my druthers I would be at home curled up with a moggie and a good book, and in a few hours I shall do just that.  And hurrah that a book I’ve been waiting to arrive from America for months has finally got here.  I thought it was the final in George R.R. Martin’s epic Song of Ice & Fire, of which I am a huge fan, but friends recently told me they were sure there were more books to come.  Excellent, I say.  This book is almost 1000 pages long in hard cover, and I can’t wait to get into it.

Meanwhile, in keeping with our something-new-must-come-into-the-shop-every-day ethos, today I have brought in a really charming French croquet set.  We used to have a croquet lawn when we lived in Cheshire some years ago, and it’s such a fun game to play.  Any flat bit of lawn can be conscripted as a croquet lawn, but it was nice to have the real thing.  It looks like it’s so genteel, but in fact it’s a cut-throat game of move and counter-move, where the object is to win while ensuring that your enemy is well and truly dirked.  It’s no good to just win – you have to win in a manner that most effectively kills off your enemy at the same time. 

The correct response by you when you have just sent your enemy’s ball off into the bushes is a self-satisfied tight smile that could be mistaken for partially apologetic but which everyone knows is code for Ha! Take that, Cow!  And your enemy’s correct response to a fiendish move that has totally out-manoeuvred them and sent their ball off into the bushes is to smile tightly back at you and say Jolly Good Shot, which everyone knows is code for Bring it on, Bitch!  Of course, in addition to being a horrible cheat, Doug could never master the tight smiles and pseudo-polite conversation that you’re meant to exchange while playing croquet, and when he got you a good one he would either erupt into maniacal laughter like some over-the-top Austin Powers villain or, if he was trying to control his glee, he would end up doing a gaspy type of laugh which sounded exactly like Muttley, the dog from Whacky Races.  Still, it did bring a distinctly Australian edge to such a pretendy-proper British game and our English friends didn’t quite know how to take it.  Hopefully someone will get as much pleasure from this set as we had from ours.

Wes from Australia Zoo came by today and told me that there really is a crocodile at the zoo called Debra!  I’m so chuffed, because this no-doubt gorgeous animal was named after me by Steve Irwin way back in about 1991.  In those days I worked for the Minister for Immigration, and Steve wanted to talk through an issue.  Although it was nothing, he said he was going to name a lovely little Burdekin River crocodile after me in thanks.  And he did!  Wes assures me that Debra the Crocodile is actually as ugly as sin, perpetually grumpy, would rip your arm off as soon as look at you, and is an all-round nasty piece of work.  But he’s lying, of course.  There is no doubt in my mind that D the C is a star exhibit who is a beautiful girl, entirely good natured and who likes nothing better than to be petted and tickled on the belly by small children.  Wes told me that the Zoo’s new Africa Exhibit opens next week, so it will be a good time to go and look at the new critters and admire my name-sake.

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