I was talking to a British friend today about my plans for my house and its scruffy, jungly garden. He asked me about snakes and whether I had seen any yet. I live in the middle of Sydney and have an enclosed garden with very high walls. I never think about snakes because quite frankly, they are not going to bother with me. But I wanted to offer him something, a nugget of rugged Australian life.
‘I have lizards in my garden,’ I said. ‘Small ones.’
They are skinks or geckos, tiny things that love the sun but disappear into brickwork or foliage as soon as you approach.
‘Hmm,’ he said, clearly reluctant to give up the idea of snakes in my garden. ‘But lizards are just gateway reptiles, aren’t they.’