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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Never Laugh at a Kangaroo - And Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Typewriters Out Among the Gumtrees

What was once a weekly flood a free typewriters has turned into a tiny occasional trickle these past few years. All the more reason to be all the more appreciative of the few offers that still come my way. A week or two ago I was contacted out of the blue by a woman called Jo Walker, who said she had four typewriters to give me. As it turned out, she had gone to extraordinary lengths to track me down. And it turned out I had to go to some lengths to find her, and her typewriters.
Ms Walker lives on a dirt track off Poppet Road, Wamboin, on the edge of the Kowen Forest. I had no idea where this sparsely populated rural settlement was, although it is a mere 10 miles from Canberra. Wamboin is possibly derived from Wiradjuri wambuuwayn, meaning "large grey kangaroo", although I didn't know that before I set out for Ms Walker's home. When I did find it, after a pleasant midday drive through the forest, on a bright, sunny Friday, the first thing I noticed was the sign, "Wildlife Sanctuary" (Ms Walker also deals in native plants and seeds). Then to my astonishment I found Ms Walker's home completely surrounded by kangaroos. Typically the males among the great eastern grey (or forester) kangaroos mass around 10 stone and stand almost 6ft 7in tall, and have the scientific name Macropus giganteus ("gigantic large-foot"). In the wild, the sight of them can be pretty intimidating.
These two massive big bruisers kept a close eye on me all the way.
Once the four typewriters had been safely moved to my car, Ms Walker took me to meet some of the somewhat friendlier (and much smaller) members of her roo family. One of them tried to snatch my phone from my hands, and I let out a nervous laugh. "Never, ever laugh at kangaroos," Ms Walker warned. "It's a sound they don't recognise, and it startles and unnerves them. Their communication is all in grunts and growls." Ms Walker went on to say that she has seen kookaburras gather in the gumtrees around her house and start laughing just to see how the kangaroos react. This was all new and quite fascinating for me. Native birds aside, I'm just not a wildlife sort of guy.
But the typewriters ... well there were two wedges, but I did appreciate the two Adler Gabrieles - although one, the electric 2000, has a motor which weighs 5½ pounds, more than the entire weight of a real portable, like a Blick or a Standard Folding:


Bill M said...

Beautiful typewriters.

Ted said...

big bunnies :D
Nice Gabriele 25 pickup, and don't forget that electrics are finally starting to get some respect among collectors lately. A few more years and maybe even wedges will be loved. (:

TonysVision said...

A great story. I'll try to remember never to laugh at a kangaroo!