Tales from the Top End ,a new column

SIDE BY SIDE: First lesson folks, the saltie (bottom) has the fatter face, but isn't that teeth I spy on the top beast? Picture: Parks and Wildlife Commission.

SIDE BY SIDE: First lesson folks, the saltie (bottom) has the fatter face, but isn't that teeth I spy on the top beast? Picture: Parks and Wildlife Commission.

WELCOME to the first of what will be a weekly series on life in Katherine and the NT through my eyes.

Hopefully in time you will learn something about me, as I learn something about you, and we can become more comfortable with each other.

It’s not intended to be a resume of my past, career or family highlights, that sort of thing, but it’s kind of organic, so we’ll see.

I reckon I’d be very easy to see moving about the town.

Just a week ago I was coming out the back of a harsh Melbourne winter.

As the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly would say, I am not white yet, that will come in a few weeks under the Katherine sun, more a pale blue at the moment.

Thankfully I have spied many tourists with a bluish tinge to their tans as well, so I can blend for a bit.

If you’ve ever been to Melbourne you will see they walk with a deliberate quick march in straight lines.

Pedestrians are expected to walk to the left and never, ever take a diagonal path. That just causes mayhem. Zig-zaggers are sent to Sydney.

So watch out for a bluish blur of legs walking “at city speed”, as my daughter puts it.

I will learn to slow the march over time, perhaps it will need some therapy but only time will tell.

While I hardly know much about you yet, there is one thing which I wish you could consider, this “freshies” business.

“Don’t worry, it’s only a freshie,” you offer.

At my stage of education a crocodile is a crocodile, they have long, scaly bodies and pointy teeth.

I occasionally need to wear glasses to pick up the fine detail of things spotted at a distance.

I am not in the habit of wearing glasses while swimming, you might be the same.

Not being a native, telling the difference between a freshie and a saltie when one is arrowing straight for my lily-white leg, is surely asking too much.

So if there is a thrashing of water into foam down at the low level or anywhere else while enjoying the benefits of living here, when “it’s only a freshie”, then please forgive me.

Obviously I have a lot to learn, crocodile identification being a priority.

By the way, I had flagged I intended to write about Jeannie Gunn’s Sanguine Scot this week but I’ve put that on hold for a bit.

chris.mclennan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

By CHRIS McLENNAN

By CHRIS McLENNAN

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