Here we are, early in the new year of 2019, getting ready to go back to work and part way through writing my very first blog post, when BAM, my inner urges tell me to write another piece of work before my first is even finished, let alone out for public consumption.
I sit here writing this, sipping on my whisky, like a seasoned old novelist in his den surrounded by inspiration, except that I’m at the dining room table surrounded by kids mess, with bugs falling on me from the light above.
Ok, ok, enough of the blah, blah, how or why have I already got side tracked, well it starts with our post Christmas to New Years camping trip and finishes with me packing up and putting our tent away with a huge sigh of relief.
Still puzzled? Well at the end of our 5 days away camping, in which everything went smoothly, we packed up our damp tent and headed home. I mean what’s an Australian summer camp trip without a few summer storms to pass you by? We got home New Years day and set about unpacking. Part of this unpacking also included the need to set the tent back up at home to dry out from the rain, condensation and dew we had received over the previous week. Side Note: If you are new to camping this is an extremely good idea as allowing the tent to be dried out before being packed away prevents mould from growing and destroying the tents fabric, not to mention the health hazards that goes along with mould.
Setting the tent back up was fine, after all its a common practice for us after returning from a camping trip, and the tent doesn’t take very long to set up,(about 8 minutes). it wasn’t until later that evening that things , well things got a little bit hairy and had me contemplating setting fire to our beloved tent. My wife, Cara, and I were inside with our kids and we had just finished our dinner when we heard our dogs start barking, and not just the, I’m a dog so I will bark for no reason bark, no this was the protective bark. Hearing this I raced over to the front door and put some shoes on, hoping to see a blue tongue lizard or echidna annoying our dogs, but what I saw was the biggest snake I had seen for a very long time, quickly escaping the wrath of the dogs. Not only was this big old snake a genuine 5-6 foot long it was also as thick as my 4 year old daughters legs. Now where we live we commonly only get 2 species of snakes, and no a python isn’t one of them, they are the Red-Bellied Black snake and the Eastern Brown Snake, both venomous and both extremely dangerous in their own right.
Now I’m not sure exactly which species it was, as it was covered in dust after retreating from under the house and away from the dogs. Unfortunately for me, on exiting the underneath of the house the big old snake sighted my tent and made a bee line for it, slithering straight under the tent and staying there, under the protection of our family tent.
Not too many things put the wind up me however snakes are not high on my list of cuddle buddies, if you know what I mean. It’s not the fact that they can come across sleazy or slimy, it’s more that there bites can KILL. So with that in mind I’m happy to live in harmony with them, as they have their place in our ecosystem, as I do mine, but when they are entering my kids safe space then that’s when thoughts of permanent removal enter my head. After taking a few deep breaths and assessing the situation at hand I came to the conclusion that it was a large Red-Bellied Black snake who was scared and running away from our dogs, judging by his body language. So with that conclusion and light fading fast, I left my guard of the tent to go and help get the kids settled in bed, with the hope that the big fella would take off somewhere else throughout the night.
I’m definitely no wildlife expert however fish and animals in the wild do not get big by being dumb so I would think that this old snake wouldn’t be about to risk anything that he didn’t need to. After getting both our kids to sleep, there was “that bark” again so I grabbed a torch and raced outside to see what the commotion was, but I was too late, nothing to see here. This time I had figured that the legless monster had calmed down enough to leave the comfort of our tent and move on to greener, less doggy, pastures.
Over the next 5 or so days we kept our distance from the tent, as a lack of time and average weather prevented us from packing the tent away. Then the day came, time to “Man Up” and pack the tent away. In my defence I was home looking after 2 young kids by myself, just to add a degree of difficulty, in the event that something did go a wry. Now if anyone was watching and didn’t know the back story, watching me spend the next 1 1/2 hours packing a tent away, would have left them in hysterics. I tried to remove the tent pegs from the ground without getting too close to the tent, upon removing the rear pegs, the tent half collapsed and with that a pool of water, that I didn’t know was there, splashed down the side of the tent causing me to jump a mile in the air, after all I was already on edge over the possibility that the land serpent was still under there. So after about an hour and a half I had finally had the tent safely packed away, without burning it down, chopping it up with a shovel or even shooting it to pieces with a shotgun.
Yes the tent, the snake and myself all survived this drawn out ordeal to live another adventure, and yes it has given me something to laugh and write about. So the morale of this true story, get some other sucker to pack up your tent for you.