Friday, October 30, 2009


Oh, fantastic.

So Natalie's minor back troubles have flared to full-on pinched/swollen disc issues. She's pretty much horizontal, and that's that. Apparently they took one look at her yesterday at work, and sent her to the physio.

That really ices the cake on this weekend.

I can't duck out of the grading. Already did half of it, and it's an expensive sort of thing to quit on. Plus I don't want to have to go through all this goddam preparation again. And of course, the bossman of the style is coming out from Adelaide for this. So I go.

And I can't duck out on Dion's going-away. That happens only the once, and it'll be a long time between drinks afterwards.

So we've organised aides and babysitters and emergency inlookers. Natalie and the kids should be okay for the day. Tomorrow? Well, the second half the sword seminar would be really really nice to attend, but I'm damned if I'm leaving Natalie flat on her back with three kids again. Either she's significantly better tomorrow, or I miss that second half.

Naturally, since I have to wear a heavy jacket today, the weather's closing in. Huge humidity, possible thunderstorms later. Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty stuff. And by now, my wrists, shoulders and forearms are starting to feel the effects of a week of reasonably intensive practice on the grading techniques.

On top of that, my water supply has a goddam platypus in it.

I like platypussies. I admit it. They're really cool. I love how completely wrong they are: aquatic, duck-billed, egg-laying mammals with a poisonous spur on the hind leg in the males. And on the mainland, they're increasingly rare. But they're not particularly rare down here. Most decent-sized waterholes (and there are a lot) have a platypus or two. Most stretches of river have one or two.

We've got two ponds on the property. The big one, about 25 m across, has a spring under it somewhere -- but it doesn't flow fast enough in the hot season to keep the water flowing. Just fast enough to keep it turbid. That pond is our swimming pool in the still, humid, hot days of summer, and last year I spotted a platypus in it a couple times: nice.

The other pond is only about 4m across, and it's sheltered by a screen of brush and trees. The water in it is clearer than finest crystal, and the little spring that fills it never stops flowing. I keep a careful eye on that little pond, monitoring the various forms of life in it, because that's our water supply. I pump water from there to a holding tank on the hill above the house, where it gravity-feeds to the sinks, showers, toilets, etc.

Also nice. Except that yesterday afternoon, there was a goddam platypus swimming happily about on the surface of the water-supply pond.

Is platypus pee bad for you?


  1. Good luck with the grading not that I imagine with the preparation you've done will you need luck.
    Still it will be harder to do the best with such distraction.

    Hope Natalie is feeling better soon.

    Presumably there is no danger of a platpus will end up in a glass of water you fill from your tap.

  2. Not the pee you have to worry about I'd say. Possums are TB vectors (a particular concer in NZ) but I don't think platypi carry anything significantly nasty.

  3. No, Mr Barnes. There is no such danger. The intake for the pump is nicely filtered, and I doubt my pump has enough pressure to shove Mr Platypus seventy metres uphill through a 50ml polypipe...

    And Doc -- I don't know of anything nasty from platypussies either. In fact, they're generally associated with very clean, very healthy water systems.

  4. I too love Platypusesi too. When I lived outside of Tamworth at a place called Kootingal, I heard to tell that platypus lived in the rivers nearby and towards Bendemeer (it's all NSW by the way if you care to look up a map)- I never saw one though. My three older sons still live up in Tamworth with their mum, and middle son told me on the phone that he and his mates saw one in the river that runs into Tamworth. He and I decided this was Very Cool, especially so close to a big town.

  5. It's always something. All the best to the missus-back problems suck.

    Would having a platypus around the pond be a bit like having muskrats or beavers? They're fun to watch-until they start the chewing up the surrounding vegetation and building their lodges in the pond.

  6. Am currently feeling Nat's pain - mine's on the verge of outness - can't sit at puter for long. Pathetic excuse for non-blogging lately

    cheers - hope all is well at chex FH otherwise.

  7. YD: Platties are a lot nicer than muskies or beaver. Platties eat worms and bugs and our local equivalent of crawdads, and they live in burrows in the banks.

    Hughesy -- thank you!

    And Bondi -- I'm still getting used to seeing platties in just about every waterhole around the place. Seeing that one in my little pond, just four or five metres away, clear as day - that was great.

  8. I would never tire of a sight like that FH.