Saturday, December 05, 2009
She has been very ill with multiple cancers for a year now, and she finally died at 6:30 this morning. Corinna and I have visited her daily for several weeks as she struggled bravely through what was to be her final illness.
Since I first arrived in this village in July 1971 she has been like a second mother to me. During my bitter conflicts with my own parents she loved and supported me. When my father died she was there for me, and when I married Corinna I asked her and Corinna's mother to sign the register as witnesses.
When people die the obituary writers invariably say what a dear, kind person the deceased was even if they were actually a nasty piece of work. However, (and this is not obituary writer hyperbole) Marjorie was the sweetest, kindest and most loving person I have ever met. I never saw her angry. I never heard a cross word. I have always loved her dearly, and you don't stop loving someone just because they are dead.
I usually conclude obituaries by saying that my heart goes out to her family. However, in this case, though we have no biological connection, I truly feel that she is part of my real family, as are her daughters Kaye and Lorraine, her son-in-law Roy and her three grandchildren David, Ross and Greg. I love you all, my dears, and share in your immeasurable loss.
I really am the most accident-prone klutz in the history of cryptozoology, but early yesterday morning I was answering a call of nature when I trod (all 23 stone of me) on the plug of the vacuum cleaner, which had become detached from its customary place.
I was barefoot.
I am now hobbling around the place like a character from some dreadful pre-war horror movie, and everyone is being very nice to me, and (though I deserve it) no-one has told me that I really should look where I am going. But bloody hell, it hurts whenever I walk....
Oh, well; all the better for the survival of crypo-critters.
We went to check out Wairambar Creek. From a distance Topaz shows only as a sliver of pale green - it is mostly dairy farms. The google view shows Topaz along with the Russel River and some of the most difficult terrain on the planet. Topaz is the tongue of
land in the mid-ground and Millaa Millaa is at the top left. Topaz is 12km away but its a full 30-km drive to get there.
This is a well-known Yowie area and I shall collect some witness accounts in the fullness of time.
I'd promised some friends I would show them some gold so we went across some private land (with permission) and into the rainforest. About 2km in, the track ended and then we went about 200m down a steep slope, all of it through a dense maze of saplings and vines under the mature canopy.
The last part was truly precipitous but with so much stuff to grab or get tangled in if we fell it was not so much deadly as merely risky and difficult.
Karen in the creek
We got to the creek and the first thing I noticed was that all the rocks were loose. In other words, some time in the past 15 years it has all been put through a gold dredge. No harm in that although it is illegal. We delved to a bank next to a big pool and got a couple of dishes to 'wash.' The first had a speck of gold in it and the second a fleck. The worthwhile gold would be in a horizontal stratum all around us up the slopes.
This goldfield never got cleaned up because of the dense scrub, the "wild blacks", the basalt overburden and above all, because of the deadly depressive effects that set in once the rain starts and the scenery becomes dark monochrome, even during daytime.
I'd done my bit so I resorted to the pool. What with spending so much time writing I've started to put on weight so to fight da flab I stayed in the cool ( 17 C approx) water for half an hour. Wonderful.
At one stage while swimming underwater across the pool I was cruising between big boulders and ahead of me I saw a big dark cloud of mud. It put the wind up me because it could only mean I was sharing the pool with something fairly large. I hastily retreated. Years ago in nearby 5-mile creek a water snake fixed his teeth around my calf making a huge circle of small holes and I did not feel like a repeat of that experience. Another time I met a very big eel in the Russel River - we simultaneously turned tail and fled!
There was no chance of meeting a yowie that day. I'd taken my dog Chelsie along and could not navigate the slope with her on the chain as it kept getting impossibly tangled in the vines. So she was set free. She is trained not to go off chasing things and one of the strange characteristics of North Queensland scrub is that it is very rare to see any animal life. So she just showed off her all-terrain abilities literally running up and down the impossible slope while we hauled our way up inch by difficult inch.
I am sure dogs are the reason humans are not extinct. No large predator could possibly catch a human by surprise because of the way dogs constantly circle their people in dense forest. Naturally when I go deeper into the scrub I leave Chelsie at home.
I believe the tropical rainforests of Queensland are the closest thing left on this planet to the original natural habitat of Homo sap and related species. The temperature is stable, there is constant food if you know what to look for, there is always water and there is the security that comes of being invisible just 20m away from unwanted prying eyes. Despite the horrid climb with clutching at thorny vines and scrabbling in the dirt none of us suffered any injury worse than some very tired muscles in our arms. (I did pause on the way up to wonder what I'd do if I blundered into a colony of jumping ants!)
Today I feel weary but very much alive. My appetite has reduced in response to that long spell in cold water. More long cool swims coming up this summer!
The latest edition of a monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world. This episode brings you:
Other westcountry werewolves
Oll does the rounds
Interesting fish experiment
CFZ in wintertime
New and Rediscovered: New spidercrabs
New and Rediscovered: Rare monkey genetics
New and Rediscovered: New chamaeleon
On this day in 1952 the miasma of filth known as the Great Smog descended upon London causing the deaths of 12,000 people.
And now the news:
A wee mistake for sea bird
Feeding birds 'changes evolution'
Big freeze plunged Europe into ice age in months
Veggie Macca urged to beat swift meat retreat
Burleson Couple Says Egg Is A Message From God
Plan to breed lab monkeys splits Guayama residents
Scientists uncover new king crab species
In celebration of that; more from the Credit Crunch Crabs.
Q: Why did the crab blush?
A: Because the sea weed.