Wednesday, September 13, 2006

a morning stroll

I decided this morning to walk to the tram stop at Airport West. I looked at it on the map and it didn’t look radically distant from our house – at least, as far away as Gowanbrae (which we can see from our front window) and a little bit extra. Well, it actually took an hour and a half, and that’s a fair hike really, though I blame myself to some degree (as opposed to the gods of topography and public transport) because I did take a rather roundabout way in search of ducks.

We have traditionally had a lot of ducks around the ‘wetlands’ and I grabbed some old muffins/ a rye bread crust as I went out the door. These had actually been sitting around since the weekend because I had taken the dogs out then and been unable to find any ducks en route. This morning I specifically first of all went to the bridge over the creek near the footy ground where there have always been ducks in the past. Yes, there were four traditional ducks and some unusual little black things with tiny heads and red beaks. If you are a duckspert you might know what these are. All I know is they are less enthusiastic about old muffins than the usual duck.

It seemed a shame to waste all my wealth on a few half-hearted duck and ducklikes so I walked on the west side of the ‘lake’ where I had often seen egrets, etc. There I found only one duck who could hardly be bothered getting her feet dirty on the weed.

The last chance was the so-called bird sanctuary area on the south side of the western ring road. This was where it was going to happen. When I came up to the bridge there were a couple of exotics hanging out, long-legged things, one of those dusty blue cranes and something with a puffin’s beak, but of course as I approached they fled (in the air; I suppose I should say they flied). There was a black item with blue on it in the bushes, very handsome, which also ran a mile (not flied) when it saw me coming. Prick. But this was my last chance to unload the bread and breadesque items, so I tore up a muffin and put it on the bridge posts should the tall ones return and feel peckish after their hysteria, and I threw some skerricks at the black and blue thing, which took a bit away. Madness. I mean what’s it all about, when you can’t give away some old stale muffin? Birds are spoilt, and that’s it.

I continued to walk, walking on the path, towards my goal-destination. As I walked, I thought things, simultaneously with my foot-led progress.

I also said good morning to everyone I passed along the way, even the people I suspected had no-one ever to talk to as they were so gross (there were a couple of these, a gruff white-haired stocky professional feller and a pallid ferret in a cap). Everybody said morning back except in a couple of cases, of people who were half of a pair the other half of which responded. My favourites were the elderly slavic or teutonic (judging by accents) couple walking roustabout dogs called Maxwell and Sophia.

There was a lot of airport action down at Essendon Airport, not surprising I suppose though I do wonder who is into that stuff. The police for one I think as the police helicopter was the noisiest bugger.

I actually thought yesterday I might be coming down with something but today I feel fine, though my feet hurt.

Woman to young boy on other side of aisle on this tram: ‘Dinosaurs? Stupid. There were no Australian dinosaurs. Maybe a million years ago. There was no Australia a million years ago. This was the sea. Australia was under the sea.’ Verbatim. Not sure if she meant the boy was stupid for asking about dinosaurs or that dinosaurs were stupid. Surprisingly from the intonation (which you can’t argue with) I suspect the latter.


A duckspert said...

What a beautiful account. Were they pointy red beaks? Sound like moorhens. Didn't see their feet by any chance did you?

David said...

Covered in water.