Great hordes of Harlots descended upon Melborneo last weekend, bearing gold, frankincense and birthday cake. And so (yes, birthday cake does this to a Harlot), all twelve of us set off for a night's penguin spotting on the beaches of Phillip Island. The "Phillip" of Phillip Island is a phonetic corruption of "fill up", the mating call of the male rare helmeted V8 racing car driver to his petrol-tank monitor. The rare helmeted V8 racing car driver is, of course, one of the sole remaining strains of indigenous fauna on Phillip (née Fill-up) Island, in turn home to the world's oldest naturally occurring bitumen grand prix racing circuit. Conservationists have been concerned for several years now that the introduction of the highly destructive Little Penguin to the fragile habitat of the rare helmeted V8 racing car driver may jeopardise breeding programs.
Like many a threat to motor racing, the Little Penguin is waddly and nice. I was reminded of the penguin chick I saw in Tasmania several years ago. Her sibling had died, but her parents persisted in fishing and feeding for two. She was a sumo wrestler among penguins, a fine advertisement for your average one child policy.
I try not to complain, but my three siblings and I have suffered unspeakably from overpopulation in the Harlotarium. Not once has either of our parents regurgitated so much as a pre-masticated pilchard into my mouth. It is to this that I attribute my terrible emaciation.