Tales from the Northern Territory.


As I lay in bed in Birmingham, England, late one night with my pj’s on, I became aware of a sensation just as though something was crawling up my lower leg. Because I was sleepy, I decided that it was just that, a sensation and I ignored it. A few minutes later, the feeling had moved on up to my thigh and I realised there was indeed something crawling up my leg. I put my hand down and felt a large, lumpy and definitely alive, something or other inside my pyjamas and whilst I appreciate there is massive room for many jokes here, it wasn’t very nice at the time!

I scooped a swathe of material around whatever it was and peeled off my pj’s. My partner at that time had started to laugh rather raucously by now as I gingerly undid the bundle of cloth in which I had trapped my invader. Whatever it was, it was big, it was black, it was plated and hard, like a large beetle and as I un-wrapped my hold on it, the creature literally leapt from my hand and scurried off, alien like to who knows where…….. I can only assume it has now taken up residence in my bedroom.

It reminded me of when I lived in Darwin in Australia and shared my house with all sorts of creepy-crawlies. For example, there are two hundred species of ants in the Northern Territory and they all lived in our kitchen!

Situated in a spare room of the house where I lived was the computer and it was not unusual within minutes of sitting down to find a column of ants steadfastly walking with some apparent aim or other, up my leg, some as tiny as specs of dust I could blow them away with a breath.

Geckos lived in the house too and were very welcome as they are beautiful, like little ribbons of sage velvet darting across the walls and also because they ate a lot of creepy-crawlies. We had bush rats in the attic and cock roaches pretty much everywhere.

The bush rats usually headed up to the loft to camp out and were as much of a nuisance as escapee hamsters are here in the UK since they will gnaw their way through anything, including electric wiring. I shared the house with someone who would put down poison for the bush rats.  I would protest because I hate killing things, until I realised that the cockroaches absolutely loved the poison, they thrived on it and ate it gleefully, growing to gargantuan proportions. The bush rats were fine too since the cockroaches cleaned up the poison. It was a win-win situation all round.

My Ossie mate once recounted to me that one morning he had been awoken by a very odd sensation on his face. Placing his hand there and to his horror, he discovered there was a large and hungry cockroach sitting astride his rather ample eye brow, clinging on for dear life and munching away at his hairy brow. Like something out of a Hammer Horror movie he leapt out of bed with cries of, ‘oh, oh!’ hopping about on one foot, desperately trying to bat the unfortunate creature away.

They don’t tell you about that on ‘A Place in the Sun’ do they!

Comments are closed.