My wife heard a thud around 4am. She lay in bed for awhile and then heard a scuffling noise. Thinking that it was perhaps our 7 year-old son attending to his Star Wars toys far too early, she slipped out into the lounge. Instead of our son, watching her from the corner of the room, trembling in fright, was a furry brush-tail possum!

Her first thought was how did the marsupial get in? All the doors and windows were shut. Then she realised that the thud she heard was the possum falling down the chimney. After getting over her initial shock, she opened the front door hoping that the creature would make a hurried exit for freedom. Instead it fled to the lower ground floor to the Art room. My wife followed it and quickly slid open the terrace door, again hoping the possum would leave. No way. It shot up the stairs again back into the lounge and then decided to climb the bookcase. Perhaps it had an interest in Dostoevsky, Carey or Stoker or perhaps the volumes of fairy tales I had just purchased. Or maybe it wanted to read poetry or a cookery book. Then, still clinging to the shelves, the creature proceeded to deposit a few droppings. These fell rather too close to a row of books by one Tunku Halim. Perhaps it was just letting its feelings known on my writing, for the possum then fled downstairs again and leapt out through the terrace door.

You’re not scared of me, are you?

I wonder what would have happened if we were on holidays or visiting Malaysia? Furniture all torn and bitten to shreds. Droppings and urine everywhere. Dead possum lying in our bed, starved to death. The thought gives me the shivers.

These are the dangers of Australian (wild) life. The snakes are poisonous. Some spiders deadly. The possums all too curious.

My wife thought the marsupial was rather cute though.

Where was I when all this was happening? I was in bed, fast asleep!