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Full Circle

Day 127: Katherine

Katherine airstrip, Australia 
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Katherine airstrip. I meet Peter Trembath.
Michael Palin - Full CircleVery early this morning, while the temperatures are still down in the upper twenties, we make our way out to a small airstrip a mile or two from Katherine to join the Flying Vet, Peter Trembath, who has agreed to let us accompany him for a couple of days to see the land and its animals.

The airstrip is deserted when we arrive, apart from two single-engined Cessnas. Air Control, who's called Dave, and his dog Jabba, come out to greet us. Just before seven Trembath arrives. He's as lean and trim as Dave is big and pudgy. He wears a green golf shirt and matching baseball hat bearing the words 'Katherine Vet Care', and carries a cat called Arthur in a cage. He has just had a hip operation - Arthur that is - and is mewing disconsolately. Jabba plods over and sniffs curiously at the freshly-stitched scar.

Dave is not happy. 'Landing problems. Fitzroy's out, 38 millimetres last night. Coolibah's too wet.'

This is the monsoon season. 'The Wet' as they call it here. It accounts for why much of the area around Katherine is good cattle country, and why the flies are already out, worrying away at my face and settling around my eyes and ears.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 127
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: Katherine
  • Book page no: 181

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