So the other day, the hot day, we get back from grocery shopping and lots of the neighbours are clustered around one of the houses, the one known as the chequerboard house. I say to Gerard, uh oh, I bet the snake is back. We go and see what's going on and sure enough one of the women came out her front door and was about to put her shoes on and saw a big snake on her driveway. One of her sons shows me a picture on his phone and sure enough it is a big snake. The snake has gone under the next door house (the chequerboard house) and they have people from the council there and the snake catcher is on his way. Everyone is eating fruit from their fruit shop which is in a big blue bowl on the bonnet of the four wheel drive. I really hope they catch the snake.
We go inside to put the shopping away and Grace is put on snake catcher watch. I don't want to miss them finding the snake. I want photos and I want a chance to see it and confront my fears in a safe sort of way. I also want to know that is gone. Although apparently they need to release captured snakes into suitable habitat less than 5k away and a lot make their way back into suburbia. The snake catcher arrives in a van the makes it pretty hard to mistake what he does. There is lots of standing around. We show him our snake skin in a jar and he and the men from the fruiterer's house and the chequerboard house poke around under the house. They have torches and spades. Not the snake handler, he has a sack and a long steel stick with a hook on the end. Our neighbour pulls some boards from his under house. It looks like these guys mean business. Another neighbour tells me how she found two empty snake eggs under a geranium bush at the bottom of her garden. She looked them up on the internet to confirm what they were. Apparently brown snakes are egg layers - I should google to check but I have the fear sort of under control and I don't want to mess with that. I feel a bit sorry for the woman who saw the snake on her drive way, she told me she didn't sleep for two weeks after we had our snake incident. I totally get her fear. Anyway, it appears that the snake (and possibly her children) is ranging around the court. There are houses nearby that still have mice, so I guess the snake has a territory.
Anyway the snake catcher did not catch our snake and as we all dispersed, I mentioned the brown snake to our next door neighbour who was arriving home and he said in an unpleasant and boorish manner, heh snake, whatever. I'm from Mildura and we have black snakes, brown snakes. I thought well, snakes are not the usual thing in North Coburg, and you'll be thrilled when the snake you are not looking out for bites your pit bull puppy. He wins the prize for the most unfriendly neighbour yet. There's now a whole new dynamic around the snake in the court and chequerboard man is being pressured into cleaning up his somewhat jumky backyard by his next door neighbours (the fruiterers) and the council. It is quite a thing. Gerard is booked to help load the skip, when it turns up.