We have now discovered the real reason why Frankie came to Australia. Not for the travel. Or to broaden her mind. And escaping dreary old England for a new life? Afraid not.
No, Frankie came to Australia so she could cuddle a koala bear. And here she is getting her wish. Holding a koala is not allowed in many states so we've had to come all the way up to Queensland, to the Cairns Tropical Zoo so that she can realise her life's ambition. Most people come here to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Not Frankie.
Koala bears are, of course, not bears at all but marsupials - relatives of the kangaroo and the wombat. Less successful relatives. They will only eat the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. An adult koala eats between 1/2 to 1 kilogram of leaves each night which, considering they only weigh between 7 and 10 kilos, is quite a lot. That's because eucalyptus leaves are not very nutritious. In fact so un-nutritious that koala's have very little energy and spend most of their lives sleeping. This, frankly, makes for a rather boring zoo exhibit.
Not that there aren't fascinating things to learn about the koala. It is one of the very few non-primates that has a fingerprint. And like many marsupials, the male has a bifurcated penis and the female two lateral vaginas. Which could make for an interesting sex life but not, I suspect, in the koala's case. It would require too much energy.
So Frankie's dream came true. But on the way she had to show great fortitude and courage. She bought Joce a trapeze lesson for Xmas. However, as it was in Sydney she had to do it as well. Now Frankie would be the first to say that climbing up to a small platform 20 feet off the ground and jumping off holding on to a trapeze is not her idea of fun. But she did it - not once but three times. So good on her and she deserves to hold a koala bear after that.