Mrs Vivien Preece is in her 80s, she tells me proudly, she lives at Stockton and she has just phoned me with a story that will leave you wishing you had, as the Corbett family has, a raven on your coat of arms. Mrs Preece had read my column last week about how blessed we are in the Lower Hunter to have an influx of Australian ravens, and so she told me about the two crows, as she calls them, that have been visiting her home.
They arrive with an old ginger-and-white cat that Mrs Preece has been feeding for quite some time, and three months ago Mrs Preece noticed as she put a saucer of mince out for the cat that one crow took up a position behind the cat and another at the front of the cat, near the saucer. As the cat crouched to eat, the crow at the back picked up the cat's tail in its beak, the cat looked around and the crow at the front took a beak full of mince. I can't tell you whether the crows then swapped positions, but Mrs Preece has seen this happen twice.
I spoke late last week, too, with a fellow whose story will give your BS antenna an even greater workout. He is a beef farmer in a valley about 20 kilometres west of Kempsey, and Ron Clarke was with his sister, now Joan Delforce of Wallsend, and other brothers and sisters 50 years ago when they saw yowies many times on their family dairy farm not far from Ron's beef farm today. They describe them as covered in dark brown to black hair, with long hair around the neck, about the height of a tall man, bear like, and sometimes on two legs, sometimes on four.
Last December, after I wrote of yowies and an Elermore Vale couple's sighting of a yowie, Joan told me how she and her family members had seen yowies alone and in family groups many times around their dairy farm.
Late last week Ron told me how he had woken before sunrise one morning when he was 14 to find an adult yowie in his room, and that it stayed there for some little time until his father's alarm clock burst into life at 4.30, when it went hurrying off. Ron's father, by the way, had refused to believe his children until he had his own encounter with a yowie.
The Kempsey area has been a hotspot for yowie sightings, according to the definitive yowie book, The Yowie - In Search of Australia's Bigfoot, by Tony Healy and Paul Cropper.
These stories are hard to believe, and Mrs Preece herself says she wouldn't believe the story about the crows if she hadn't seen it happen. And those who've seen a yowie know very well that they are unlikely to be believed.
I believe them, but I have had the advantage of listening to them. Am I too gullible?