Saturday, July 19, 2008

Koala-la Land





Last weekend Ms O’Dyne drove Barney and me down The Great Ocean Road. I must tell you now that this is something of a misnomer. It really should be called The Tiny Treacherous Crumbling Precipice, but I don’t suppose that has quite the allure for tourists. Ms O’Dyne trained at the white knuckle school of motoring and can’t imagine why anyone would want to watch the road when there is so much magnificent scenery to look at instead. Not a great combination if coming home in one piece is important to you. The anecdote about a woman who ran off the road on her way to a Body, Mind and Spirit festival didn’t help either. While they were winching her miraculously living self to safety, the rescuers came across another vehicle containing a woman who had been dead for three weeks. No one even knew she was missing. Barney went straight to his i-Phone, logged on to BetFair and placed his entire life savings on Pascal to win.

We fetched up in Apollo Bay. Apollo wasn’t there – called to Melbourne for some kind of oracular emergency apparently. Zeus was on the rampage as the entire town, comprising four estate agents and a lamington bakery, was being battered by a Hellenic hurricane. I have crossed it off my list of possible sites for the relocated House of Pants. Barney took some talking around as the lamingtons were admittedly to die for. ‘On that road,’ I told him, ‘that might quite literally be true.’

Mercifully, on the journey back to the farm, we were mostly accompanied by a reassuring land mass on our side. I was dreaming of a large, medicinal gin and tonic as Barney screamed, ‘stop the car! Isn’t that Dr Phil?’ I will have to stop letting him watch daytime television. It is doing nothing whatever for his relationship with reality. However, there did seem to be a bear-like creature by the side of the road gnawing away at the root of .. er... a large tree rather than a pointless and irritating family dilemma which is much more Dr Phil’s usual fare. We alighted, with a sense of relief in my case, even an uncharacteristic joie de vivre, to find that the root-eating creature was, in fact a koala. Barney was delighted. I told him ‘it’s like a man – it eats, roots and leaves.’ He responded with a typically owly-cat-brained shrug. I don’t know why I bother.

We approached the koala with due caution and I produced the Kodak, thinking that Barney would be satisfied with a souvenir photograph but he insisted we offer the poor chap asylum or at the very least a nip of vodka, a smoked salmon sandwich and a bed for the night. He has much to learn about etiquette in the wild. It was apparent Barney felt a certain kinship with this koala. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘that stomach is just crying out to have a zipper down the middle.’ (Regular readers will remember that in order to overcome certain bureaucratic obstacles with regard to Barney’s immigration status, I had him fitted with a zipper so he could be classified as an interactive Bagpuss. I still dream about the peace I might this minute be enjoying if I’d let him languish in quarantine.)

Predictably, Barney and his friend, who I think may be on drugs – I haven’t seen anyone that stoned since Robert Downey Jnr dropped by to borrow a cup of crystal meth – have gone somewhat feral since our return to the farm. Two bottles of vodka are missing from the freezer and the loggers who are thoughtfully felling trees next door complained that their smoked salmon sandwiches are regularly disappearing. They’re fairly certain it’s Barney and his new mate as abusive notes are being left in place of their elevensees. The notes say things like, hands off our homes and fuck off Ikea – just leave the meatballs. As we agreed, the culprit appears to have few brains and fewer taste buds and that does sound an awful lot like Barney. You can’t protect them for ever. They’re going to make their own mistakes and Barney is, if anything, over-blessed in that department. I would ask that if you happen to be passing your freezer, would you mind awfully just having a look inside and making sure your vodka is still in there. If not, please accept my profuse apologies for half of the damages. Please consult the Australian Wildlife Service for the remainder. Much obliged.

When we first arrived in Victoria, Barney gazed out over the thick, black skies as we chugged along the Western Freeway, breathed in the marvellous industrial air and wheezed alarmingly for some considerable time. After I dosed him up on Ventolin, he recovered well enough to enjoy the thrill of endless juggernauts queuing up to force us off the road which he remarked romantically put him in mind of the movie Duel. He sighed as he noted that each and every one of these monstrous death trains carried a little number plate bearing the legend Victoria – the place to be. ‘Pants,’ he said, ‘we’ve come home at last.’ You had to be there really…

35 comments:

JahTeh said...

Bwahahahha, I've driven with that O'Dyne woman up into the hills where the gumtrees fall so I know how hard it is to watch the passing view with eyes wide shut.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Jahteh

Mmm. So it isn't just me. Sightseeing is overrated, don't you think?


xxx

Pants

Andrew Highriser said...

Wise move to consider moving to Victoria Pants. Your writing skills will improve immensely. We all here know that brains work better in a cold climate. Ah yeah, you have been a couple of decades in London. Regardless, get away from stultifying heat. Of course it was Ann who knocked off the vodka.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Andrew

Nice try but I'm afraid I've got Barney's number - and, unfortunately, the little blighter's eczema as well. Take my advice - do not let your owly-cat ever sleep with a koala.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Pantaloony, It has to be said that Barney brings out a certain something in you, and really it seems that in some way that I can't at the moment quite identify, you and he are made for each other. It's a karmic thing, if you like.

I have vodka and IKEA meatballs in my freezer! The meatballs rock, as does the packet sauce mix that goes with them, and the lingonberries. We have everything we need to play IKEA right here in Signs Cottage.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

Message from Barney - he his coming to spend the summer. You may collect him from Gatwick on Monday. Please don't thank me - I am more than happy to spread the joy around.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Oh quelle domnage! For much as I would love to have Barney as a house guest, I'm afraid my (really very ordinary tabby) cat will have none of it. She is not sociable at all with other cats - even of the owly kind.

That's So Pants said...

Signs dear - it wasn't a question. If I were you I'd put a lock on the freezer.

xxx

Pants

Brian Hughes said...

I always knew that Annie would end up driving everyone round the bend sooner or later. (Hey...it's half five in the morning and I'm still drunk from last night...don't expect wit.)

That's So Pants said...

Hello Brian

Wouldn't dream of it. Please lock your freezer though, Barney is headed your way.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

Well goodness me, vulgar you.

We can see where the cat got it from!

Reading the Signs said...

Brian, I can't tell you how pleased I am that you will be bearing some of the brunt of Barney's impending visit to the UK. Not that one wants to appear inhospitable but I live in Sussex, and you know. He's a town cat and will get bored.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH and Signs

Barney wishes to point out that he is an owly-cat rather than a cat and, although he is understandably proud of his cat genes, he considers himself to be of mixed heritage. I beg you to indulge him on this as he is already intolerable and a political awakening I suspect might just do me in.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

Make up your mind, is it an owl or a cat? -Bloody thing!

When you come here I'm taking you for lunch: Sacred Heart Church, Grey Street (fucking) St Kilda. We'll get a table by ourselves; arms get knocked by bums with the shakes.

-Robert.
Dept of Social Inquiry. Monash.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

Barney's ethnicity has been the subject of some discussion here - interminable some might say but I accept that there is some public interest in freaks of both nature and Petri dish - I'm sure he won't mind my saying that, since he is presently sleeping off the affects of a night on the gum leaves. Why do they employ bums to serve the shakes at this milk bar? I'm all for it, as long as I don't end up covered in banana smoothie.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

ha ha, how coy. I'm sure you've dined there before. -In your Salad Days (if I may say). Procedure is the same, loiter outside around 12:30, with bums looking like prophets from the Old Testament: a ragged, bearded, angry little army, ha ha ha, trembling, shaking, dying for a drink (goodness me) and knowing more about THE LAW than the Lord Chief Justice. We won't hang about for the discussions afterwards; debates on fine points of law, but will have marvelled at this enduring scene -all that's left of old St Kilda: stolen from the underclass by perverts and public servants (same thing): middle class nothings of wasted education; cute little tattoos hidden on hips, "I'll have foccacia thanks Naidoo, and a glass of red."

Poseurs. Clothes horses. Gym memberships, all paid up.

Conformists. Christ-kickers.

A sameness that's terrifying.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

So what you're essentially saying is that I should beware bums on Keats. If one were to woe me with for example,

An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

I should like frown with exquisite disdain and take immortal flight from like St Kilda?

xxx

Pants

That's So Pants said...

I meant woo obviously.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

Conformists
Christ-kickers
All the same
("Are you gay Naidoo?")
Childe Roland
To the Dark Tower
Came.

That's So Pants said...

A fie and a foh and a fum to you too dear

xxx

Pants

Bwca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bwca said...

Cynical, fraught, babbling Roland learned that 'The Journey' along the tiny treacherous crumbling precipice, and via H.M.Prison Pentridge,
IS 'The Destination'; and when he arrives, the cells have strata-title black granite kitchens and a fair-trade-coffee latte cafe at ground-level.

In his nightmare,
a chorus of koalas sing:
Everybodys talkin bout
H Division,
J Division,
Joy Division,
Cell Division,
But all we are sayin
Is Give Pees A Chance.

R.H. said...

What was deleted, what did they say?

R.H. said...

You two birds should start a cooking show.

Reading the Signs said...

Sorry Pants, but you're going to have to come and sort things out here. And expect a bill.

R.H. said...

Miss bwaca I'm sure could tell us all about Pentridge, minute by minute, in the yards and the cells. Woollen socks, marching tunes, tin of jam, donkey ride for a last Duchess.

That's So Pants said...

My goodness, you have all been busy while I've been blissfully sleeping. BWCA and RH please sort differences amongst yourselves but please do not visit carnage upon HOP. We run a respectable establishment - much more so since departure of Barney. The tone has been elevated considerably. To wit - Signs, now you know why I'm a nervous wreck. Cheque in post



xxx

Pants

Brian Hughes said...

Signs...

"He's a town cat and will get bored."

He's had it if he comes to the Wyre then...unless he's into sheep, in which case he could go for a night on the tiles (or possibly behind the haystacks) with the local farmers.

That's So Pants said...

Brian

I think you'll find that Barney is very much a night owly-cat. He thanks you for the invitation by the way and will be with you just as soon as he has finished cleaning up the mess he made of Signs's kitchen.

xxx

Pants

Wisewebwoman said...

I've an awful feeling I came to this party far too late.
You've got to do something about this rowdy crowd, P.
the noise is deafening.
XO
WWW

That's So Pants said...

I know WWW. They're all pissed as parrots on mescal. Barney, of course, ate the worm. I'm sure I deserve better.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Brian, I read out what you said and Barney reckons you sound cool and is keen to visit - with my encouragement. I've blogged a few details, so don't say you weren't warned.

That's So Pants said...

Do you know, this is the thing I SO miss about Britain, that nihilistic impulse to draw a demon to the hearth. Go Barney - and I mean that most sincerely.


xxx


Pants

R.H. said...

Greetings. I hear tell you're surrounded by chickens. You have hundreds of them, these flapping things, in your care.

Goodness me. Well I guess it's quite a challenge, after living in London, a bit like T E Lawrence retiring to the Cotswolds. Meanwhile I'm going to a surprise party tomorrow night, a birthday celebration at a plush restaurant. I'm not sure what the surprise might be, in actual planning, I mean. Gangland is irony, or it's nothing.

Watch the papers.

-Robert.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

There are 22 actually - although one's been sitting on the nest for a couple of weeks so there might be more this morning. I'm OK with it. I was used to having ducks, geese, swans and coots around me in London so I do like to have the chickens running around and the eggs are of course superb. Try to stay out of trouble tonight - stick to dishes you can pronounce and don't drink anything that comes out of a box is my advice to you.

xxx


Pants