This is an African Starling not very much like the crummy mob we get in Oz backyards. Usually when you get an invitation to a slide night the inner groans are almost audible but not when the guys are scientists, adventurers, great photographers, adorable and they belong to me.
They travelled through Africa's National Parks up to the Victoria Falls and down to the Cape of Good Hope. Their photographs of native animals ran from excellent to brilliant and it helps when they describe the size of them in relation to themselves or the car they were in.
Looking at a hippo on TV doesn't give you any idea how big it is until it's described as the size of a volkswagon. Even the birds come in large, extra large and extra extra large. And they all eat each other of course. We've all seen those wildlife programmes where the animals stand around and the tick birds clean up the annoying insects but even this has a dark side. The symbiotic relationship is fine as it goes but the birds have a habit of pecking a little too sharply into the hide and drinking the blood so those red-becks aren't coloured, it's blood. Every animal eats every other animal. Like watching Australian politics.
The cowards didn't take up my challenge of bungee jumping off the rail bridge at the Victoria Falls and even though it was the dry season, the falls were still spectacular. I think even I could have taken a halfway decent photo. Now I'm starting to sound boring but you had to be there.
I was lucky with my taxi home. I'm used to waiting for half an hour or so especially on a Saturday night but my driver said he had 66 jobs in the Mulgrave/Ferntree Gully/Upwey area and he was the only taxi available. He took me because he lives in my area and could go home.
That really is disgraceful. They want people to stay off the roads if they've been drinking but how are we supposed to get home. I don't know whether it was because of the Commonwealth Games or not but it's still not good enough. Thanks to the driver who not only helped me down the steep drive that rivals the worst descent on Everest but played the best of Queen all the way home, very loudly. I didn't feel at all guilty at leaving the other 65 people stranded, they were probably already drunk and feeling no pain. (sorry if that's not true but first foot in the cab and all that)
And yes the cat was waiting at the gate doing its best imitation of an abandoned and starving pet. I swear he knows when the car rounds the corner and belts out there to make me feel bad.
Tomorrow is the full moon and what would have been my wedding anniversary so I'm going to treat you to the story of my wedding day. A day so gruesome that even if I got Alzheimer's it would be the last memory to go.