Time passes. Listen. Time passes.
There just aren’t enough days in the week or hours in the day. Tomorrow, early in the morning, we head off to catch our planes out of Coolangatta; the girls flying to the East and I to the West. I am feeling, as you may guess, a little sad.
This has been a time of hanging out and having a good time. Seaworld was pleasant, even though many of the attractions were closed or under reconstruction. In the end we did not go to Corrumbin. After the girls researched on line what was there, they decided they would prefer a return trip to Australia Park. So that is what we did. The tiger cubs we saw nine years ago now have cubs of their own. It is still a great place to spend a day. The noonday show was most entertaining. They have introduced a great session with birds they have trained. It was informative as well as fun and reminded me a little of the visit I paid to the raptor sanctuary at Aillwee caves in County Clare Ireland.
My old friend Kate arranged accommodation with a friend of hers in Woodford, and we were treated right royally. Our host is an artist and we all admired her work. It was really great to catch up with Kate after all these years of communicating by telephone, email and texts, and at last to meet her husband, with whom she has been sharing life for thirteen years. That shows just how long it has been since I last saw her in person. Brisbane 1998, I think. I was speaking at a Food Safety Conference. And before that had been 1990. The great thing about good friends is that no matter how long it is since you last saw them, you settle into an easy conversation straight away, as if it was only yesterday, and so it was again. Kate is just as intelligent, witty and perspicacious as ever. She and Bruce live on a beautiful fifty acre block of land covered with bush and filled with wonderful wildlife. It backs on to a national park/wildlife reserve. As we arrived a wallaby bounced away up the driveway. Birds pealed like bells in the trees, and though we did not see them during our visit, Bruce told me of the many species of frogs that abound in the pond below the house, and of the lizards, goannas and snakes (mostly friendly non venomous pythons and green tree snakes) that are in the trees.
We sat around a fire cooking sausages and yarning into the night. A day and an evening seems such a short time. I really stuffed up my travel arrangements, because this weekend is Kate’s 60th birthday, and there is going to be a major party. I blew it. Damn.
We returned to Ballina in time for quiz night, and our team won again, despite making some mistakes. One so-called mistake we made irked me greatly because it is my opinion that someone setting quiz questions should research them carefully beforehand.
The question was how much of house dust is human skin? The choices were 5%, 15%, 60%, or 80%. I insisted to the team that the correct answer was most likely to be 5%. They went with that and so were disappointed at the end to hear that the “correct” answer was 80%. They accepted my claim that I was right, so no shame.
There is no point arguing the toss with a quizmaster, but for the record:
The chief ingredient of household dust is human skin; 70, 80 or 99 per cent, in various versions
There seems to be no basis at all for this Well Known Fact – except wishful guesstimating on the part of those advertising copywriters whose job it is to sell us anti-dust devices. There’s no evidence to suggest that dust is mostly made up of any one ingredient; rather, it is a delightful salmagundi or potpourri of everything that is likely to be drifting around your house – cat dander, face powder, cigar ash – or that might be blown in every time you open the door, or carried in on shoes and clothes. It will include soil, pollen, insect excreta, pet fur and general industrial pollution. The precise ingredients and proportions present will presumably depend in part on where you live, as well as how – Katanning dust is likely to be sandier than Perth dust – and it will depend also on the time of year. Human skin will certainly be on the list, but it is shed chiefly when washing, and therefore mostly disappears down the plughole, not into the dustpan.
With acknowledgement to the Fortean Times.