MARCH - MAY 2003

Kellie & Breeze: So far as our recreational activities were concerned, the Stromlo forrest wasn't the only casualty of the firestorm. Unfortunately, both the Molongolo and Murrumbidgee rivers were out of bounds until further notice, the latter having become heavily polluted from the effects of the bushfires in the Namadgi National Park and its environs.

Breeze: So there was nothing for it but to head off over to Lake Burley-Griffin. Naturally, the Pack Leader would always scan the horizon for black swans before Kellie was let off the leash and allowed in the water.

Kellie: As the Pack leader will tell you, our excursions are generally not without incident, the nature of which is generally such as to cause the Pack Leader the maximum possible embarrassment. This day was to be no different as it turned out.

Kellie: What happened was that a couple of kayaks paddled into the little inlet that Momma Breeze and I tended to regard as our own private territory. I wasn't too fussed about this, being an easy-going kind of gal, but my Mum took exception to this unwarranted intrusion.

Kellie: Well, Momma Breeze chased those kayaks into the inlet, around the inlet, out of the inlet, and out into the lake proper - barking like a thing possessed all the way. The Pack Leader, Alpha Female and I just stood on the bank dumbfounded. Was this the quiet, well-mannered little lady that came to live with us back in October?

Kellie: Mum emerges from the briny after her long and tiring altercation with the kayakers.

Kellie: So that was it, then. By now we had established that, in the same way that I simply hated black swans, Momma Breeze simply hated kayaks. "So let's see if I've got this right," said a somewhat distressed Pack Leader when Mum made it back to shore, "We have to avoid black swans on account of you, Kellie, we have to avoid kayakers on account of you, Breeze, and at least one of you two is going to severely embarrass me every time we set foot outside No 86. Is there anything else I need to know? Is there any more mischief you two intend to get up to?" "Quite possibly," said the thought balloons above our heads, "Stay tuned, great leader."

Breeze: Our next swim in Lake Burley-Griffin went entirely without incident, however. This was due in no small part to the fact that the Pack Leader cased the joint for black swans and kayakers before he let us off the leash and into the water. (Incidentally, in the picture above, notice that I have the stick and Kellie is, for once, completely stickless. Not often you see that.)

Breeze: Did I say entirely without incident? Well, in truth, there was one very minor incident after we left the water and went for a walk along the cycle path to dry out before the car ride back to No 86. As we crossed over a wooden foot-bridge, what should happen but that Kellie's old sparring partner paddled into view. Here's what happened then:

Breeze: "Well, you are a little lady, aren't you Kellie?" said the Pack Leader, "So refined. So well-mannered. Such a delicate little flower. I was going to present you as a debutante this season, but I think it best if you spend a year at finishing school first." I'm not entirely certain, but I think the Pack Leader said that a tad tongue-in-cheek.