24 September 2021

Want to swap high-life in the city for rural hiss (sorry, bliss)? Asking for a friend

| Sally Hopman
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Brown snake

This monster brown snake – well, it looked bigger in the flesh – slithered in the other day. By the time we’d called in reinforcements, it had scarpered – straight towards the house. Photo: Sally ‘The Brave’ Hopman. Not.

Just saw my first snake of the season. It should have been a little bloke, you know, like a ‘warning snake’ to let you know it’s that time of the year again. An intro-snake which had only just become one, perhaps even with learner legs – like a lovely lizard. At least it should have had an L-Plate attached. OK, forget the legs bit, that’s silly. But when you’re bricking it, anything slimy is going to bring you down to slithery levels.

I had just hoped that my first for the year was going to ease me into a benign sort of terror. Something that was going to warn you its bigger, badder relatives were on the move, heading my way.

The season’s first snake was a monster. About the size of a car. Probably. It’s hard to get a good visual when you’re standing [Editor: hiding] behind a tree with your eyes slightly closed [Editor: scrunched].

Well, it wasn’t small or red-bellied. It was a Brown. A King Brown. And didn’t it know it. It looked at me with disdain – and I could swear a smile – and slithered off towards the next hiding place to spring out from. The clothesline – right near the house.

It was its favourite – or at least, its family’s favourite – hiding place. I’d seen other ones there over the years, right near the Hills Hoist. (Is snakeskin washable? I wondered.) But it wasn’t the only place I’d seen other ones. There was that one in the laundry which, fortunately, made itself known first to someone other than me. Then there was the one at the front gate that I needed to get over before I could get in or out.

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I don’t want to appear unreasonable but seriously, don’t snakes have calendars? I mean, it was still so cold I had the bloody fire going the night before. It’s not even lukewarm yet. I could blame climate change but I think that’s already had enough grief chucked at it.

Just a bit of warning would have been nice. Perhaps a small sign in the garden like they have for cute animals crossing or warning: killer snakes are coming to get you.

I suppose I could have been a little more prepared. I had seen a mangled one on the road leading to the farm the week before. I mean, it looked pretty mangled but with those buggers, who can tell. [Editor: Eyes closed again, were they?]

I do tend to avert my eyes when I see them on the road, which can, in itself, create a few issues, but it’s always better to be oblivious than not, isn’t it?

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Mangled or not, I have a recurring nightmare of said snake sliding up the engine and around my thonged foot as I’m driving down the highway sandwiched between front-end loaders. At least they, the trucks, were being driven by kelpies.

It’s been a while since I saw the first snake of the season. It’s something to drink to, I guess, like the first Beaujolais of the season.

I wonder where it got to – the snake, I mean. I know where the Beaujolais went.

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I’ve lived a good part of my life near, or in bush-land.

The Common Brown snake is only dangerous to fools.

IE those who haven’t bothered to keep up to date about what NOT to do.

And what to do if it’s in your garden / under your house. That is, call a snake collector.

We live quite near to the Mt. Taylor Nature Reserve and get snakes in our garden as often as every 2 years – or more often.

Capital Retro is about right.

But, I’m not going to work in our Eucalyptus grey-green sheet-steel 2-car wide garage, during the day – with it closed up – especially not during the sunny 6 months of the year.

I’d suggest knocking off early on hot days or not working in there after lunch. And, closing up well before 6PM.

I became a bush-walker at 13 yrs old, I still am, and spent 8 years in the infantry,

Almost all snake bites happen to people who do get involved with a snake.

And, I do remember what a septic tank is. I ended up being the one who ‘managed’ our on the rare occasions that was necessary.

Usually when one of my two older brothers stuck newspaper down the flush-toilet.

Because the poor-ickle-fings couldn’t cope with a rag or something else when there was no bog-paper.

Capital Retro11:51 am 26 Sep 21

The first thing you learn when living in the bush is never leave an entrance door to the house or shed open and close all gaps under doors and anywhere else.

Make sure the septic tank inspection lid is secure too.

Don’t leave sheets of iron on the ground anywhere near the house.

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