Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Australian National Pastime No 7.

This game is very popular in Northern NSW and rural Queensland. Teams of three compete against each other. One person in the team is the spotter, the second is the shooter, and the third is the catcher. The shooter is given a small bow and a set or arrows. A big elastic band with a hook is attached to the rear of the arrow, close to the notch. The front of the arrows has a soft miniature boxing glove attached to it. The game is played at night. The team goes out into the bush and uses torches to locate possums hiding in the treetops. If a possum is shouted the spotter shouts “mark” and then the shooter hooks the elastic band onto the bowstring, ready to shoot. The spotter now offers the possum a pair of protective eye goggles ( Bungaroo bylaws, 1897) which the possum is free to accept or reject. The shooter then shoots the arrow with the aim of the boxing glove knocking the possum out of the tree. The catcher must catch the possum before it hits the ground. If the possum is caught it is considered “local”...if the possum smashes into the ground the team loses five points.


I dreamt (he said) of a little girl who lived – more or less – alone in a big house with many rooms. Outside, in the garden, was a pond with at least a 1000 fish, and the little girl knew every fish by name and when she would call to a particular fish it would swim to her hand and eat the breadcrumbs that nestled there. If she got very bored she sewed liitle winter coats for the small fish, and big winter coats for the large fish. And if she was feeling particularly lonely she would scoop out one of the bigger fishes, put it in a little push cart, and go for a walk around the block with it. Afterwards she would give it mouth to mouth resuscitation, her little red lips on its sandpapery brown clown lips, and then put it back in the pond, where it usually revived. And this is all I remember of my dream, he said.

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