This Is Why I Don’t Like Emus

I’m a bit sad today, for various reasons. Someone we love so much passed away late last week and despite best attempts to soldier on, it’s all a bit too sad a lot of the time, really.

LUCKILY I work with some wonderful people who (at times) keep me on the straight and narrow. One of them (her name is Bek Day) reminded me of this funny story this morning. It cheered me up for a good five minutes, so maybe you’d like to hear it too? You could always save it for a sad day and read it then? It’s really helped me today.

Here goes:


This Is Why I Don’t Like Emus

When I was a little girl, we lived in Hobart. Sandy Bay and Battery Point were where I spent my very early years. For a short while, though, my Mum and Dad moved to Melbourne. My dad had a job with TAA (Trans Atlantic Airlines?) and we moved to a house in a subdivision out near Tullamarine.

During this time I had a birthday, possibly my 4th. We went to some kind of wildlife park, or the zoo. I am not sure which because let’s face it, it was a long time ago. Let’s just say it was the kind with low fences. These were the kind of fence that didn’t keep animals in, but rather kept humans OUT, let’s just say.

Don’t freak out though. There were gentle and friendly wallabies and emus and kangaroos roaming about. That seems pretty nice and Australian, right? I thought so too.

So we had our picnic lunch – possibly chicken sandwiches, cordial, perhaps a cake – and then it was time to open presents. Yay!

I began opening something wrapped with the kind of vintage wrapping paper that would make you modern-day swoon. So thrilled I was, tugging at the tape, trying not to tear whichever big eyed puppy or fairy that was dotted merrily across its surface and discover what it was concealing.

And THEN I found out an interesting thing. WOAH. You MIGHT think the interesting thing was whatever was hidden beneath the wrapping. You would be half right. The gift was a lovely little music box (the sort with a tiny twirly ballerina inside and kittens on the top!)

BUT the other half of the thing I found out was that EMUS LOVE PRESENTS.

I found this out quickly because an emu ran right up to our picnic table. Picture an emu running. Yep. That’s it. Fast. Feathers. Flurry. Fear.

This particular emu ran right up to our birthday lunch table.

This emu ran right up to me.

This emu ran right up to my present and then…

The emu pecked my music box.

(I realise this sounds like a euphemism but I promise it is not.)

The emu pecked my music box.

Needless to say, post-peck,  I screamed. Pretty sure my mum screamed. Probably other people screamed. Maybe even the wallabies screamed, such was the commotion we were making.

I think I remember that my nan was visiting from Tasmania. She’s a feisty lady and she’s fiercely protective too. Fairly sure she chased that present-loving emu away. I think I remember that.

I know that I continued to sob and whimper in fright, smoothing the pecked part of my music box sadly with my little four year-old fingers as things began to simmer down.

We packed up and went home after that, half eaten birthday cake and party cups bundled into basket. I never, ever packed up my mistrust of emus, though.

So watch out. Be careful of emus.

One might peck your music box if you are not careful.

Or it might go straight for the tiny twirly ballerina, if you are dreadfully unlucky.


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  • Reply
    sharon smith
    February 7, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    So sorry for your loss Pip 🙁 thinking of you x
    I think I was about 4 years old too and visiting the Adelaide Zoo. They had a children’s section where you could walk through with the wallabies and guinea pigs etc. I was opening a little bag of chips and all of a sudden an emu popped over my shoulder and stuck his beak in my bag of chips. I screamed and cried and I’ve never forgotten. Never trust an emu..and why are they picking on four year olds???

  • Reply
    Lightning McStitch
    February 4, 2016 at 6:50 PM

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I hope it helps to know that in your grieving you’ve shared a lovely story with a stranger like me, made me smile, and reminded me of my precious friends I grew up with.
    … And of course my emu birthday party story: Twenty or so 6 year olds at Tidbinbilla nature reserve just out of Canberra enjoying a birthday party, when a large male emu, all beady eyes and drum beat tummy sounds caused us to scatter. He took a massive peck at the birthday cake and swallowed half of it, complete with burning candles. I kid you not, those beasts can eat burning candles with impunity. Shudder.
    I’m delighted to have finally visited your blog after hearing of it, and now I’m off to make some softies for Mirabel.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    We have had a terrible loss too – just before Christmas and the most awful part of it was that people who knew about it just expected us to go on socially as normal. Nothing is normal for a bit is it, no matter how cheerful you are trying to be. I just wanted to scream at some people to leave us to ourselves for just a little while. I hope people are leaving you alone to grieve and heal. xxx
    Emus ARE scary! When I was little we were at a park in Victoria too, and were in a queue of cars waiting to get in through the gates – or the car park or somewhere. In any case we were in our car, and there was a car in front of us. Theypassengers must have been getting hungy because the lady got out of the car, opened the boot and was rummaging, and we saw an emu slowly walk up, and it was looking over her shoulder in the most hilarious fashion at what she was doing – head darting this way and that, and she had no idea it was there until she turned her head sideways and saw its great big body & little head inches from hers. She threw her arms up in the air, ran and screamed, and the vision still makes me laugh 40 years later. SO funny. Sorry about your music box.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 7:15 AM

    Hi Pip, so sorry for your loss. My Dad worked for TAA too. (Trans Australian Airlines) Right through the 60s and 70s our dads might have known each other!. I can just picture you at that time, in that place, freaking emu! Swans freak me out! And geese.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    So sorry for your loss, it can be hard to bear especially after a battle with illness. Thank you for sharing the emu story too. It’s my birthday today so I shall keep clear of them x

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    I’m sorry for your loss, Pip.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 8:15 PM

    Sorry about your loss!
    I come from Austria but I spent a few weeks in Australia (we traveled the West Coast with a campervan) and I remember that we stayed at a camping site where Emus ran freely around. Very scary animals!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    I’m so sorry you lost someone close to you – those are hard hard moments, and perfectly natural and okay to be sad for a while! Emus are little shits though – as a kid we were having a picnic in a park and an emu ran right up to my Mum, grabbed a piece of fruit toast out of her hand, and kept on running! Glad you found some humor to make you smile at a crappy time xx

  • Reply
    Little White Dove
    February 3, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    Oh Pip so sorry for your loss and the deep heartfelt sadness that comes to overstay their welcome when losing someone special… sending big hugs to you and virtual bunches of daphne xx

    It tis funny how those wildlife parks can scar us for life isn’t it… I remember a baby kangaroo bit my daughters hand when she was only about 4 ish… she loved animals and the shock of it all and break in trust was awful… I think I was as equally traumatised as my daughter and have never trusted them since!

    ps. crying into your crochet is highly underrated during sad times x

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    I’m really sorry to hear you’ve lost a loved one Pip. I say take all the time you need to be sad. It’s ok to be sad.

    Here’s something that might make you smile, or it might actually make you think I’m a bloody dope, anyway, I read the word emus but instead of registering it was the animal I was reading it as ee-muss!! I kept wondering ” who or what is this we-miss that Pip does not like?” I don’t even know how I get through the day!!

    Also, when I was four I was feeding an emu at Byron Bay & it took my hold hand in its mouth. I screamed a lot & it let go. Emus need to stop being so mouthy!

    Love & hugs Pip xx

    • Reply
      February 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM

      That should say ” ee-muss” not ” we-miss” !!!!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 3:37 PM

    That has made me smile 🙂 – see. Hope you can smile a bit too Pip.

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