Article From The Australian

October 30, 2004
I’ve devoted many columns to animals over the years, telling readers about the blind kangaroo, my beloved Brahmin bull, of narrow squeaks with a veritable spaghetti of snakes.I’ve written about my grandfather’s draught horse, about the joey who lived with me at Kings Cross and, most of all, about the dogs that have been milestones in my life - such as Willy, the boot-rooting Jack Russell, and my beloved Rosie. I’ve bundled most of these yarns together in a new book called Adams’ Ark (Penguin) which unfortunately went to press just before the arrival of George, the asylum-seeking cattle dog. And while there’s been a sizeable response to the animal stories over the years, it’s the story of George that has aroused the greatest interest and concern.“How’s George?” “Is George all right?” People send letters, e-mails, bowl up to me in the street, at airports, wanting to know about the dysfunctional dog. So here’s a progress report and, yes, there’s been progress.In our last exciting episode I told you about the dog we’d spotted skulking under the shearing shed. Was it the dingo we’d seen a few days earlier? No, it was a cattle dog, dragging a metre of broken chain. Elusive by day, at night, a pair of eyes gleaming in the spotlight, it was only a matter of time until the chain snagged somewhere and he would starve or strangle.As it happened, the chain got tangled when he was raiding a dustbin. As I hauled the kelpie out, expecting to be attacked, he was all fear and fangs.As well as dragging the chain, he was carrying a lot of emotional baggage - you can’t imagine a dog so brutalised. He was an escapee, a refugee, an asylum-seeker, but entirely feral. I soon stopped looking for the owner - God forbid that we find the sadistic bastard. Instead, I set out to calm and quieten the dog. But he would flinch from every act of friendship. Every attempt to pat him was interpreted as a blow, every gentle word a curse. For days he kept tugging at the chain like a marlin on a fishing line. Tommy, however, was a help. The happiest dog in the world, Tommy chases kangaroos, trucks, dragonflies, ag bikes, anything that moves. But he slowed down long enough to help me with the nameless, homeless, hopeless little dog that Patrice decided to call George. Tommy would wag his tail while I held the poor, trembling little bugger. He tried to be a go-between, licking the dog and me alternatively - and, more than anything, that seemed to reassure George. Finally he came to me without me hauling on the chain, and let me pat him. Slowly he began to heal, then heel, trotting close beside and behind me, a bit like the Duke of Edinburgh with Her Majesty. When I stopped, he’d stop. If I hopped on the ATV, with Tommy circling and barking joyously, George would follow silently and, yes, doggedly. If I went looking for cattle in the hills he’d still be at my side after 20 or 30 kilometres. But back home he’d still snarl at Patrice, growl at Aurora. At long last he decided to trust me, even allowing me to tie him up at night. He seemed to like being tied up. He’d crawl towards me, on his tummy, until I snapped the chain onto his collar. And he’d look up with big, bleak eyes. Now, in the mornings, he and Tommy dance on their chains, waiting to be released. Then off they go, running in great circles, bowling each other over. He finds rituals reassuring. When I sit on the back stairs and call him, he approaches tentatively - until Tommy comes and jumps all over me. Then George does likewise. But whereas Tommy is happy with a couple of reassuring pats, George nuzzles - and muzzles into my coat pocket or the flapping sleeve of my shirt. And he’ll stay there as long as you pat him. Making up for lost time, for the years of affection he hasn’t had. At the beginning I noticed that quite a few of his teeth were missing - almost certainly the result of a well-aimed boot. And he’s got a forked tongue - something has sliced it right down the middle. While opposed to capital punishment, I’d make an exception in the case of George’s previous owner. When I’m away, he reverts to feral mode and won’t be tied up. But he’s made a nest in the garden, quite close to the back door. When I arrive back from Sydney at 2.30 in the morning, he’ll come slowly out of the darkness and allow himself to be persuaded and, finally, patted. A few weeks back, this procedure took hours; now, just a couple of minutes. George’s appetite for affection makes Tommy jealous. When he finds me patting George he shoves him aside. It’s all very jovial, involving wriggling and licking, but still reimposes the pecking order; or, rather, the patting order. Today there was a breakthrough. George not only let Aurora pat him but came back for seconds. He shadows me everywhere, from feeding the chooks to working on the tractor. When I drive into town, he sits on the bridge over the Pages River, at Elmswood’s front gate, and will wait for half an hour, or half a day. Then he joins Tommy in running in front of the truck, like a motorcycle escort. So, yes, he’s much improved. And thanks for your letters, e-mails and good wishes.


I like to view ZDF's heute, so I learned a little about German politics. People no longer believe in Kanzler Schröder. But I don't think a CDU government would do much better. Kanzler Schröder cut spending, and his Agenda 2010 is his policy for keeping social security and healthcare affordable. I think the Union would have done the same, but probably would have cut even deeper. I mean this is all a government leader can do. Just like the referee in football doesn't have an active role in the strategy of the teams. But what is the real problem in Germany? Workers in Germany are too expensive, so companies relocate their factories to countries that work for less pay. I think that German companies shouldn't leave Germany. But I heard on heute recently about a German company that was bought by an American firm and then the Americans made their newly bought company leave Germany. That is the problem in Germany. Germany, France and Russia were against the Iraq War. I am from the Netherlands and my country sent troops into Iraq, and if the Dutch government really believes that they are doing the right thing, then I support them. The Union's Angela Merkel went to Washington when Kanzler Schröder didn't support the Americans. So if Merkel become Bundeskanzler then she might even take part in the Iraq War. And I am wondering if the German people really want this. Another problem in Germany and the rest of Western Europe is the aging population. And I always felt that Kanzler Schröder is able to inspire people to start families. Clearly European societies are socially deteriorating. For instance in The Netherlands, people no longer go to church, so the church's role in society is lost. Like youth groups etc. And as a result of that people - the new generation - are no longer compassionate like their parents learned in church and in the church's youth groups. That people become asocial. Like easily offended. Quicker using violence, etc. So if the Union which has the C of Christian comes to power they might be able to improve society and inspire people to go to church again. That would be good. My problem with this is, that I am not convinced that a Kanzler Merkel would be able to inspire the German people to go to church and really improve the new generation's social behaviour. About the 12% unemployment in Germany. Of course that is bad. But the potential in the world to produce the most sophisticated things is increasing. Like what if in China they can build a car which is as good as a German car but costs far less, then the problem of loss of jobs will be even worse. I think the solution to this problem is the European Union. And that we should have a healthy internal market in Europe, that we buy European products. And I don't mean just cars but also butter and

The History Of My Baldness

In 1992 I started to lose my hair. Here is my account of what – I think - happened. In 1989 I became addicted to cigars, which coloured my teeth slightly yellow. In 1992 I was at Utrecht University to follow some courses. And I met a new female student called Paula. I shook her hand and she looked at my hair and smiled. At the same time I saw with my mind’s eye a bald spot on the front right of my head. And to my amazement at that same spot after some two months the first hairs started to fall out. Later that year I went to the movies with an American female lieutenant called Julie and during the halftime break I asked her: “Shall I get something to eat or drink?” She replied ‘No’ and grabbed the top of her head. And again at the top left of my head hairs started to fall out. For years you could clearly see that I was losing hairs on the front right and top left of my head. That in fact I was going bald a-symmetrically. In 1998 when I still had enough hair to cover my head, I entered a mental hospital and met a nurse named Ingrid and she was single and in pain over it. I think she is the reason I started to go completely bald on the front of my head. But as for Ingrid, I don’t mind. On the top of my head I still had some hair left. And because I live in a group we had some female group members, one of which was called Ans. And Ans took the last hair on the top of my head. I could hear her sing in the shower while taking my last hairs. While she had a boyfriend she adored. I remember how I one time talked one on one with my female psychiatrist and that I told her this story and that she called me a liar! That baldness was genetics only. The real reason I am going bald is because the Dutch government wanted to use me as a scapegoat and that when after 1984 I totally forgot about Dutch females and was only thinking of American military women, that the people who controlled me acted to make me bald. I am convinced that had my teeth remained white that no female could have taken my hair. But that in society there are so many unhappy women, that the government wanted to make me bald to have a stick to hit males with.

My Love Interest(s)

In high school after second grade all girls I liked were kept away from me. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Other boys from my class complained too. They blamed Prime Minister Lubbers. I figure the Dutch government wanted to deny us - and me in particular – a love life, probably because males and females needed to be true to each other over a longer period. When some boy has a girlfriend at age 16, it probably won’t last. That because of parents, who wanted to protect their daughters, we weren’t allowed to be with a girl. So in 4th grade I fell in love with a girl, because the government wanted me to be with her, but she turned me down, because I wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend in high school. She - however - did have romantic encounters with other boys, when I didn’t know, like during the summer vacation. At the same time, she was the only female I was allowed to think of. Then I graduated and left high school, and went on to study at a university. At university were only some 3 different female students. So the 5 semesters I spent at university I saw only some 5 different females all two and a half years. After that I dropped out due to health conditions and became mentally ill, after which I saw no females I liked at all anymore. In the mean time, I had fallen in love with a lot of American military women. But they weren’t allowed to be with me. In 1994 the American military left the local Air Base. And I found this really nice girl in a local CD shop. I felt she was in love with me. And I liked her too. But I was manipulated not to be with her. The Dutch government wants to keep me single for my whole life. It has to do with all those unhappy single women. Now after more than 10 years, I am still thinking only of this girl in the shop. But she probably is married by now. These days I am no longer interested in Dutch women. I want an American woman. And I might get her too. But due to my failing health I cannot even live my own life being single, so I would need my personal nurse. And I no longer believe that all my health conditions happened by chance. No, the government didn’t want me to live my own life. I am a scapegoat, and need to suffer to make these unhappy females feel less bad. The government doesn’t want me to have a pretty girlfriend, they even made me bald to make sure I would hurt in public. People feel less friendly for someone who is bald. I no longer view Dutch TV; I listen to American and Australian radio through the Internet. I couldn’t care less about this country, anymore.

Eye Damage

While on vacation in Australia in 1997 I suffered some eye damage in mainly my left eye. And that the eye doctor said that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, while I now have a scar in my vision. The point is, under normal circumstances, your eyes shouldn’t be damaged by intense sunlight. And that certain people suggested I was poisoned to make sure my eyes would be hurt by the Australian sunlight. The motive is that I would like to immigrate to Australia, and that the Dutch government damaged my eyes to put pressure on me, that they wouldn’t let me go. I remember that before we got on the plane at Schiphol airport, I had a drink, and that certain people could have poisoned me then. And that I think this happened to me.