Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rock Me, Baby

A FEW hours ago, the cat stood up, marched to the centre of the room, put back its ears and stared in a very concerned fashion at something beside the footstool no one else could see. About 30 seconds later, the Billabong sloshed about, the roof rattled and the nice new fence banged loudly and several times against the cotoneaster.. The sensible thing seemed to be another sip, followed by some vigorous shaking on the sofa, which failed to reproduce the rumbling groundswell and established that it had indeed been an earthquake rather than a mini-stroke.

This was both good news and somewhat disappointing. Years ago, laid up and very crook indeed, a kind friend dropped off a parcel of books, one of them Aztec by Gary Jennings. It is the sort of book you can just manage when dinner hasn't stayed down for weeks and there is only enough wit left to wish someone kind would come along and change your sheets -- a ripping yarn, in other words, but educational as well.One learns, for example, that the conqistadores made short work of so many unpronouncable cities because their inhabitants could go no more than a few pages without a root. Earthquakes, according to Jennings, have an aphrodisial quality, which always seemed one Gaia's decencies and quite enough to justify a bit of fallen masonry here and there.

Well Melbourne has just had a 5.3 earthquake, which was very large and very noticeable, and it is now just as clear that Jennings was making stuff up. The science is settled: Unless Bunyip physiolology differs markedly from that of the ancient Aztecs, it can now be stated that earthquakes do nothing to inspire a desire to make the earth move for anyone else.

The cat cut a couple of agitated circles on the rug, licked its face and then went back to sleep at the hearth. Apparently it doesn't work for cats either..


  1. It was the return of the Bunyip that caused that to happen, heh.

  2. Welcome back Professor, hope you found the Billabong with calm waters and not too many weeds.

  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.June 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Weep, o weep. My little and very old kitty didn't survive the trauma of transfer to Melbourne and then trying to exist in darkening southern climes, Prof. She caught terminal pneumonia. So no feline early warning system for me, but was that a little spirity mew I heard, or just something falling in Gaia's fray at that moment when Atlas shrugged? In the supermarket this morning my eyes pricked with tears in the pet food aisle.

    The best aphrodisiac in this cold hole of a city is nice warm feet. Earthquakes, not so much. My feet are very toasty though. I have a new pair of striped woollen knit slippers with a single perky little blue pom-pom adding its particular ambience to each foot. Da Ape says I look cute in them and we take it from there.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Liz. I didn't particularly want a cart, but she was a stray and adopted me, as they so often do. I have become quite fond of her, even for knowing that, were I to keel over and perish, she would snack without remorse on my decaying portions. The one thing I dislike is her goal to kill every bird in Melbourne. I have had to put a raised feeding platform in the yard, which she hates. Oh, and mice. She catches three or four a week, brings them while still kicking and lets them loose. I rescued one from behind the toilet brush holder where it was making the most pathetic noises as Mrs Slocombe tormented it with her paws. It may have been caught again subsequently, but it left the premises via a free flight over the shed and into the neighbour's yard.

      Cats are so relentlessly cruel I can only thing how handy a couple of literate ones would be in Rinehart-era Fairfax newsrooms. They could David Marr behind the toilet brush dispenser and torment him for a prolonged period. Few would come to his rescue.

  4. God how I have missed you....I don't know that anyone has provided such smile to my face with the wriiten word....you are now firmly in my top 5 man crush (in at three behind Warnie and John Eales).

    I hope you are on the up!

    Andrew in Bris