A question of territory


Last week Charles Wooley interviewed me from Tasmania for his radio show, which goes out to 50 regional stations across Australia.

Clearly a discerning and intelligent man, since he loved my book – he proved to be warm, funny and empathetic as well. He especially loved the stories about the Spotted-tailed Quoll who lives and breeds in my shed.

When I put the phone down I was still chuckling at his offer to play the quoll in the unlikely event of a TV show of the book.

Not two hours later a movement about a metre inside the sunlit open doorway of the cabin caught my eye. There she was, as bold and spotty as you please, walking into my kitchen in the middle of the day!

I uttered a small squeal – not the clichéd mouse-sighting kind – just a shocked involuntary ‘What-the …!’ She glanced at me, turned, and unhurriedly waddled back out the door, her long tail held straight out behind. I got up from the desk and followed her, grabbing the camera as I went.

She hadn’t gone far. From the doorway I watched as she jumped into my ‘burnables’ bin, fossicked about, then leapt back out on to the verandah with a potential but unproductive piece of scrunched up printer paper.

I could have told her that story was no good, but it must have smelt of the buttered slice of pumpkin and walnut loaf that had sat on my desk papers at morning tea.


Abandoning that, she walked to the steps and jumped through the railings. I followed. Right next to the steps is a large cement dish, vaguely intended for birds to drink from but currently full of fallen and soggy vine leaves.

As she lapped the brackish water, I clicked several pictures of her, the flash going off each time. She didn’t even deign to look around until she’d finished. One brief blank stare and she ambled off to her halfway house, a tin-covered pile of timber, plopping down beside it for a sun soak before entering.

I’d said to Charles W that she’d been pushing the boundaries of her/my territory, taking over my verandah as well as the shed. She ensures I know it by leaving her curled or knobby scats. Now it looks like she has designs on the interior of the cabin as well.

I obviously need to think about how to mark my territory better.

5 thoughts on “A question of territory”

  1. You’re doing better than I am, Monica & Neville, as I haven’t heard the CW one yet.
    And I peep into every bookshop I pass when away, just in case. Tell Janelle it’s an even bigger thrill for me!
    Do you mean there’s another Sharyn Munro in Brisbane?

  2. Hi Sharyn, we just, belatedly, listened to your interview with Charley Woolley – lovely. Might see you on 60 Minutes!
    Hope your book sales are climbing, Janelle, just home from holidays, bought her copy from Dymocks, she was excited to see it on the shelves, didn’t have to order it in.
    Hope people, when trying to log on to your website, do not make the mistake of adding au as there is, unbelievably, a from Brisbane.

  3. Love the photos of the quoll, not sure if you would like the suggestions for marking your own territory in a better way.

  4. As a Bush Tele listener you’ll recognise quite a few wildlife tales in the book, Val. And since you are also a writer living with and loving plants and animals, I’d bet you’ve writtenquite a few such territory crossover stories of your own!

  5. A lovely piece of entertaining writing for those of us wildlife-lovers. All the best with the book … I have one on order. Cheers Val S

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