28 May 2006
In Australia the possum is a protected animal. But in New Zealand it is ‘your duty’ to kill them.
Once there were a few possums imported to breed for their fur. When the New Zealanders finally designed some nice coats at the end of the 19th century … unfortunately fur just became out of fashion. So, they released the animals from their cages.
The possums loved the New Zealand green and lived in abundance. Today there are 70 million of them. New Zealanders say they eat the eggs and chicks of their beloved kiwi bird. There are possum shops where you can still buy all sorts of things made of possum fur and tasty canned possum meat. Rumour goes round that you can sell dead possums to these shops …
In the seventies, when the government wanted to do something against possum plague, they got the idea to give the citizens a monetary reward for each collected possum. A huge hunt began. Everyone joined in and the big eradication seemed to make good progress.
Until the moment the first private possum breeding farm were discovered … in children’s rooms, in backyards, in attics …
Now they are trying again, without the help of the citizens. During hiking along the forest trails you sometimes see a pink triangle nailed to a tree. That means on a distance of a few meters from the path, there is put poison or a possum trap.
And that’s why dogs are never allowed to walk unleashed.
4 May 2006
In the Netherlands I was used to cemeteries being quite formal. We only visit them (on days other than a funeral) if we had to do something important. Such places are a bit apart from the ordinary world and therefore they are kept discrete by hedges or walls. Perhaps from the perspective that in general we were there to do private deals where passersby have nothing to do with it.
- Discuss with the deceased.
- Paying some attention because it’s a national holiday.
- Begging for his/her approval in case we want to do something where about we and the deceased in life have disagreed (like marrying that dumb girl, or buying a boat).
- Or provide an explanation if we had already done something like the latter (not stand up to our mean boss or hide the found silver cutlery for our sister).
Well, you get my point; typical the kind of cases for the wise invisibles …
Until the shoulder
Here in New Zealand, I can see the cemeteries in full regalia if we drive by. Which means; they are located right beside the road. Openly without bushes around it. Just a square piece of land, sometimes without a proper path or even without a sandy trail that leads to the graves. Preferably on a hill, so every deceased has a clear view on the traffic, like they are sitting in a cinema.
Sometimes the tombstones are build until the very edge of the road. It takes some practice, but if you would like, you even can reduce speed and throw your bunch of flowers out of the window, right on granny’s grave.
In the front yard
Sometimes it’s like someone started a cemetery in his front yard, with 10 graves at most.
There are also more lonely places with sea view, bluntly located in a hollow in the dunes.
Yesterday we came back from Hamilton and for the first time drove in the dark along these graveyards. In the evening there are lights! You know; those LED lanterns charged by the sun.