I strode out to the front yard, feigning confidence, lest I end up on the menu, only to find that Tyson had already returned to his own house, and was waiting near his owners' front steps. Wagging the tiny stump that is his tail, he greeted me with a glint of mischief in his eye. It was then that I noticed he had something in his mouth. (A toy, perhaps? A thick branch? A garden gnome? A Jack Russell terrier?) I wisely chose not to cross the invisible barrier between the two front yards, and instead elected to call out, "Doreeeeen!", until the neighbour appeared on her verandah.
"Tyson, what are you doing out?" she asked him. It was only then that we both realised exactly what Tyson had in his mouth: a huge piece of raw Christmas pork on the bone, still wrapped in white plastic netting. I guess we should be grateful that it wasn't a dismembered human arm, or similar - but a dismembered pig's leg was disconcerting enough, even just after Christmas. (Was there a three-legged pig wandering the streets of Penrith?) Although some houses in the street still had their garbage bins out from the day before, none appeared to have been knocked over, leaving us to wonder just how he came by his prize. We hope that Tyson hadn't accosted some hapless, elderly pedestrian returning from the butcher's with a post-Christmas bargain. Maybe someone tossed it to him, to get the giant, black, salivating Hound of Death off their lawn?
When last seen, Tyson was safely back in his yard. Doreen had replaced the length of Colourbond fencing panel that Tyson had so easily popped from its frame, and she was affectionately brushing dirt off Tyson's nose. Of course, he'd just buried the meaty evidence. It should ripen quite nicely in that huge hole he dug for it.
Today's ornaments, as we hurtle towards Epiphany:
Above left: For 1988, I barely recall finding the little orange Christmas dinosaur. He may have come as a boxed ornament, from Grace Bros. in Roselands. The ceramic snowman is actually a bell, with his black ceramic shoes as the clanger. He was bought "on special" in a country town's gift store during a holiday in the late December/early January. Probably Albury, New South Wales.
Above right: For 1987, the wooden Garfield the cat, of "Garfield " comic strip fame, wears a jester's outfit, complete with real little bells. I can't remember where I bought him. Probably Grace Bros., Roselands. The ceramic moose just bellowed "Buy me!" when I saw him, although I seem to remember he was quite expensive, and I only rationalised buying him because I only buy the one expensive ornament each year. The antlers seem to be cast separately and then glued into position. Like Garfield, he also wears real bells and came from Grace Bros., Roselands.