We arrived at Shanti Bhavan on Friday afternoon to the usual enthusiastic welcome – one that came in waves as the word spread that we were back. We were delighted to introduce our good friend Paul Reuvers to the school for the first time. Unfortunately Paul’s wife, Sue, is waylaid in Perth with a nasty flu but will join us in ten days. Snakes Alive! True to form, the local wildlife welcomed us too. [Remember the frog that I put my hand on in the bathroom cabinet on my first day last time? See Blog 16 Feb 2013 below]

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One snake skin minus snake

I was looking forward to a jetlag-busting nap on Saturday, but it was not to be. We stay in the modest former Principal’s house, which is rarely used. On Saturday morning we embarked on a big spring clean with two school cleaners. When the floors were all freshly mopped one of them noticed something hanging from the tiled roof above our bed (there is no ceiling). I suggested it was some old rope left by a previous volunteer but she was adamant that it hadn’t been there the day before when she’d made the bed. She called in the troops. After much prodding with a stick they dislodged a snake skin: 1.2m long, papery thin with a very clear outline of a mouth and holes for the eyes. Beautiful in a creepy kind of way.

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Paul with 1.2 metres of whispy snake skin

In no time we were besieged by staff; some climbing over the roof and others inside banging the tiles with sticks. Just when I was convinced the snake was long gone, it stuck its head out to see what all the fuss was about and then disappeared again. This precipitated even more vigorous banging. The snake teased the lads like this on and off for several hours until there were several holes in our roof from broken tiles.

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A brave man, tackling height and snake issues.

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Now you see it , now you don’t.

snake tiles off sm 1pm

Nice to have light… but it might let more snakes in!

Eventually, when the snake had not been seen for a while, an uneasy truce was declared. The lads spent the rest of the afternoon replacing broken tiles while the ladies removed the debris and mopped the floor all over again.

So, as I write this, there MAY or MAY NOT be a snake lurking above my head.

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