A decade or so ago Phil and I moved from the Big Smoke to rural Victoria. A classic tree change. When we arrived, we felt like outsiders. City slickers. Some of our more seasoned neighbours muttered that we wouldn’t last. (I suspect they’d caught glimpses of our bungled attempts at “working the farm”…doing and undoing each chore at least a few times before finally and accidentally getting it right.)

When a crusty old fencer turned up on our property, he warned me to keep our border collie Rosie out of the paddocks because, he expanded with a sideways glance, the kangaroos would lure her into our dam and drown her. I figured he was playing with me, but I kept the information on file just the same. And even went to the trouble of relaying it to another local bloke while asking him to please shut the paddock gate. He replied that he’d lived around here all his life and had never seen the likes of that.