Friday, July 18, 2008


Poor Hector was discomfited today when, awaiting his breakfast seed in the Bale Bengong (gazebo) that graces The Cage, he noticed that the breeze was finding its way – just a tad uncomfortably – between his feathers.

His thoughts turned briefly to the Khyber, as they always do when something nasty gets up his tail. But then they turned elsewhere. Had he not, that very day, checked up on the weather his mates down south in Western Australia were ‘enjoying’, and found another horrible tale?

Well, yes he had. It seems a strong cold front was sweeping in from sub-Antarctic ocean regions, bringing thunder, rain, strong winds and hail to ‘Mediterranean’ Perth, the capital place that now houses all the statistics the stickybeaks in the Australian bureaucracy have on him.

Worse, it might even snow on the top of the Stirling Ranges; these are mere pimples, far below the out-of-ground-effect flight ceiling of an energetically inclined sulphur-crested cockatoo. Moreover, there might be a bit of wind about; and, going on the marine forecast, none of his mates on the ‘West Australian Riviera’ would be venturing out crabbing for a while.

And it occurred to him that the blame for unusually chill conditions – like everything else nowadays – must be laid at the feet of global warming. Why else would he have to have rugged up the evening before when taking his modest, not to say meagre, portion of warming nightcap? Obviously if the temperature’s plunging, Planet Earth must be warming up. Such is the science obtained from computer modelling, after all.

Clearly things are very unstable – and he refers here to the climate, not to climate-change advocates – if chillness is to become a factor at altitudes approaching sea level in Bali, on Latitude 8 South.

Of course, the benefit of being in Bali, Indonesia, rather than, say, Balingup, Western Australia, is that even if the air’s temporarily chillier than normal, the sun in the equatorial zone is always hot. But is that a benefit? According to the latest rites promulgated by the fairies at the bottom of Mother Earth’s garden, we all have to prepare to fry unless we first asphyxiate.

There’s ample evidence that Mother Earth has always had difficulty keeping the temperature and other conditions equable at her house. We know that between the 14th and 18th centuries – and that’s like an hour ago if we’re talking geological time – as well as on earlier occasions, she adopted the practice of leaving the freezer door open.

(That’s not to overlook the several occasions on which she crazily decided to turn the whole house into a freezer. Or the several other occasions when, just to be perverse, she sealed the house, lit the oven, and caused everyone to lie around groaning "Gee, it’s hot" as they watched all the pot plants turning into coal.)

Perhaps since the most recent freezer incident the kids have been trying to keep the windows and doors open to let in some warmth and now Mum’s finally twigged to their ruse? Or is the cat making a statement with that rudely forked stick it’s put in the kitty-hatch? And then of course, we hear that some of the neighbourhood bother-boys have lately taken to smoking out the back behind the trees, polluting the atmosphere.

There are abundant opportunities for domestic science inquiry into these deeply disturbing and wholly unresolved questions. Who burnt the cakes? Alfred! Get in here now! Hector strongly recommends renewed searching inquiry.

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