Red Dog

30 Mar

Bungy jumping Granny McGarvey, little convict Grace, transported for stealing apples, Tahi the one legged kiwi.  We’ve had a few travelling companions since we left home, but none as memorable as Red Dog.

Everywhere we go, we keep an eye out for local books to read the children.  Often they’re really helpful to explain the new things we see around us, whether it’s bush tucker or volcanoes, and the adults usually learn something too.  So when we discovered that there was a famous Pilbara dog, who’d had a book written about him by Louis de Bernieres, we had to get it.

Red Dog, so called because of the local red dust in his fur, belonged to no one and everyone in Karratha, at a time when the North West Australian mining town was little more than a collection of caravans.  He’d turn up at people’s front doors expecting to be fed and watered, and they’d always oblige.  He got the best seat on the mine buses and travelled the length and breadth of Western Australia, hitching lifts with his friends.  In this impossibly remote, rocky, arid, place, largely populated by men far far away from their families, the lovely dog found it easy to make friends.

Although Red Dog is not a strictly a children’s book, there’s plenty in it to keep them interested.  Red Dog’s famously stinky farts feature heavily, as do stories of his battles with local cats, and gun wielding caravan park caretakers.  Like all the best books, it’s funny and sad in equal measure, with beautifully drawn characters and atmospheric descriptions of the otherworldly landscape of the Pilbara.  Apparently it’s being made into a film, I hope they do it justice.

Our book, with its own covering of red dust, is now in an Australia Post box on a cargo ship, making it’s slow way home to London.  One day, we’ll be able to read it again and remember our big adventure in the ancient red desert on the edge of nowhere.

4 Responses to “Red Dog”

  1. TheMadHouse 30/03/2011 at 11:51 am #

    How wonderful to sent these things back home and have so many prompts for such fabulous memories, these will be your family heirloomns

  2. Julie, John and Kerry 30/03/2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Dear Victoria, Ned and family. It has taken us while to log on to your blog! Looks like you are having a wonderful trip! Love the sound of Red Dog and his smelly farts. It will certainly appeal to Kerry! I will get a copy and read it her. Just working on the Sting newsletter – it was your article that prompted me to get in touch.

    Have fun! Love Julie, John & Kerry xxx

    ps You have taken some wonderful pictures along the way. What camera are you using?

    pps Thought you may like to know It raining here in London today!

  3. Julie, John and Kerry 30/03/2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I see you are using a Nikon D90. Great pictures!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 31/03/2011 at 11:20 am #

      Thank you Julie! Lovely to hear from you x

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