THE death of local humourist Betty Fernance was a loss to the community.
For many years she kept this column aware of the antics of the animals around Pimlico.
There was the metre-tall cane toad she saw in her driveway and thought she'd discovered some monstrous hangover from the dinosaur era.
A closer look showed no mammoth. Just a heap of male cane toads and one bedraggled female.
Henry, the blue crane, always looked sad as he perched on his favourite post.
It was when he started pecking at his own reflection that Betty figured he was lonely and hoping the reflection was a female crane.
But if Henry was unhappy because his love life wasn't up to scratch, what could she do about it?
There was no blue crane escort service to ring. And dialling hire crane in the yellow pages, though uplifting, wouldn't be much use.
Henry continued to fly off and be away so long that Betty would think he'd found what he was looking for. But each time he'd return alone and take up his position on the post, his mood as blue as a blue crane can get.
Betty said she had a motherly chat with him about the birds and threw in a bit about the bees. He flew off this time with greater urgency. Away longer than usual, when he came back he had with him a female friend, a good sort as blue cranes go.
Henry was smitten with her. Gone was his hang-dog ... or hang crane ... look. He pranced around like a teenage kid excited with his first date. He even improvised a few dance steps, showing off before the two women in his life. Henry was happy as a blue crane in mud.
Betty was starting to knit bootees when one day the fickle feathered female friend cleared off, leaving Henry to mope about with a face as long as it ever was.
Henry hung around for a while then shot through. It was the last Betty saw of him.
Had he gone looking for his lost girlfriend? Had he found her and taken her to the fleshpots in the south of France? Only Henry could answer that.