There I was, alone in a forest with just a back-pack like a jolly swagman – well, not quite alone because there are always the Kookaburra's Kookaburrering away - when there it was, on the path directly in front of me, blocking my way. A snake, a black one in classic snake position, curled and poised to go - locked and loaded.
I approached very carefully, trying desperately to remember all the bushcraft things I had read and never took the slightest notice of. Thinking only of others - I am known for my caring ways, I will have you know - without any thought for my own safety, I picked up a stick and poked it, and it didn't move because it was dead.
It had a stingy sort of pointed tail and still using the stick, I carefully turned it over. It had a red belly. Anyone with my experience of dealing with wildlife - many happy hours I might add reading Department of Conservation text books under the blankets by fading torchlight, studying different ways to kill anything that moves in New Zealand - I jumped on it’s head. That made the kookaburras laugh.
Later that day I did Google up the thing and it was called, with typical Australian panache, a "Black Snake with a red Belly". And yes, it is (was) poisonous.
The most popular television programme here is - guess - a cooking programme, what else. "My Kitchen Rules" or MKR for the real cooking buffs. One of the main attractions of the programme is the very continental and handsome compere who speaks with a very broken accent, sometimes more broken than other times. I don't know what country he comes from, France or Spain or Italy, somewhere like that, one of those cheese-eating places. The idea is you and your partner prepare something for lunch or dinner or breakfast and you each in turn bring it to the judges who, well, judge it. (I never said the show was original.) The winner on the one week I watched, presented for the edification of the masses, a mouth-watering dish. On one side of the plate a mound of ground up Mackerel and on the other side of the plate a ground up mound of Beetroot. That should get the old taste buds going. And a dish of incredible bravery to eat it.