Tuesday, June 12, 2007

sharing and shearing

‘G’day Sheila, I’m Bruce!’, said the man with corks in his hat and a kangaroo tattooed on his forehead, by way of introduction. ‘Hello’, I said, returning the greeting, 'and where are you from?’ Bruce put down his wobble board. ‘I’m from the Northern Territory, Sheila’, he explained. ‘Oh gosh!’ I said, ‘Do you live near wife in the north then?’. He shook his head. 'I think that’s Northumberland’, he corrected me. ‘Northern Territory is down in the southern hemisphere!’ I wondered why it was prefixed by Northern if that was the case but then summised that perhaps Northern was not simply a geographical term but rather a name given to the area of any country where the inhabitants preferred the company of sheep to that of people. ‘So, the farmer tells me you wanted to write about a sheep being shorn to appear as if you’re an agricultural worker doing seasonal and insecure work for long hours and earning minimum wage whilst living in a caravan in the farmyard because you can’t afford a house in your home village’. I nodded. ‘Rather!’ I replied. ‘Fair dinkum’, said Bruce, ‘First I need to calm the sheep down, this one’s a little bit cranky’, and with that he wrestled the sheep to the ground, where they both rolled over several times in a fierce struggle. ‘You might want to stand back love’, said Bruce, grabbing the ewe in an armlock, this could get ugly'. I backed away and bumped into the farmer who had come out from the farm house. ‘Fancy a cuppa pet?’ said the farmer. ‘He’ll be a couple of hours yet with that one’. I nodded and we both made our way back across the field. ‘We have to fleece them so they don’t fall over, because then they can’t get up again’, explained the farmer. We came to a halt. ‘Like this one’, He said, looking down on the ground. ‘Damn ramblers’, he said, prodding the figure lying on it’s back, unable to get up due to the weight of it’s rucksack, with his stick. ‘Is it male or female?’ I asked. ‘hard to tell’ said the farmer. ‘I think they’re a gender on their own, like a mule, that’s why they like carrying around all that stuff’. I thought for a moment ‘How do you think it ended up on it's back like that?’ I asked. ‘Probably met Bruce’, said the farmer. ‘When backpackers meet an Australian they play dead, it’s a kind of defence mechanism’, he explained. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘what will you do?’ The farmer pointed his shotgun at the rambler’s chest. ‘Best just to put ’em out of their misery, same as you would with a sheep’, he said. ‘Grab that mate’, he told the rambler, who took hold of the barrel as the farmer pulled him up. ‘Fancy a cuppa at the farmhouse’ he asked the rambler. ‘Oh super’, said the rambler’, newly stumbling on two feet. ‘Cream teas only £50’, the farmer told our new friend ‘Oh lovely!’, was the reply. I looked back at Bruce, who was trying to provoke the sheep into attacking him by dangling a steak just out of reach whilst poking it with a stick. The sheep was still in full possession of all it's wool but at least someone was going to get fleeced today, I thought, following the rambler into the farmhouse kitchen, and looking forward to a piece of Crocodile Dundee cake.

Update: Don't forget you still have two votes in the Blogpower awards, one today and one tomorrow. Thanks!

19 comments:

mutterings and meanderings said...

Utterly brilliant and simply loaded with reference, darling.

A surefire winner for consistent entertainment...

The thinker said...

Brill and super Rilly, its Rilly Super. i think you deserve to wind the blog award - I don't know if everybody's forgetting to vote DAILY for you.

The thinker said...

Whoops - how Careless of me ... of course I meant , 'WIN' the award if only people would pull their finger out and vote for you every day.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need to VOTE VOTE VOTE more and more often as Mr Appleyard is encouraging multiple voting from his readers, and we don't want him to sneak the award away from your grasp.

rilly super said...

Thanks folks, still time to get TWO votes in, one today, one tomorrow- click here to go to the blogpower voting page

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Bloody bryan appleyard, he's getting away!
Pigx

Mopsa said...

You know, Brucey boy seems not to have cottoned on to shearing in a professional sense. Simon the shearer on the other hand is the Devon shearing devil and could probably give Bruce a few tips. But I'd love to have a decko at that kangaroo tattoo. Almost worth heading North for.

Lizzie said...

Neck & neck Rilly. Am rootling for you. Has anyone opened a book yet? (Incidentally?)

Love Lizzie x

@themill said...

Like a razor blade Rilly - brilliant!
And have clicked everyday.

EmmaK said...

Bruce sounds like a bit of all right. I would have given him a bit of a roll around in the sheep dip but then you know I'm a dirty mare!

Stay at home dad said...

Morning routine: cup of tea, school run, vote for Rilly.

However I fear Mr Appledore is stretching ahead...

debio said...

Vote 'clicked' Rilly.

I had no idea sheep shearing could be so entertaining. Your life is so full, rilly - Aussies, ramblers and tea with a farmer. How much excitment can one girl stand?
Brilliant!

I Beatrice said...

There's a certain cachet in having had an Aussie shearer rather than a Kiwi one, Rilly... Or so the Aussies themselves would tell you.

For myself, well, give me the Kiwi one every time!

There's rather more water than the English Channel between the two of course - but in all other respects the relationship is pretty much like that between Britain and France (or Ireland).

Good luck with the blog awards btw....

aims said...

Okay Rilly - apparently it's down to dirty tactics - I've emailed my entire list of contacts and begged them to vote for you today -

The thought of the children with bleeding tattered feet just broke my heart.......

lady macleod said...

sheep, shearing, shotgun, ramblers, backpacks, farmers, and tea. Enough said.

I voted every day!

aims said...

Congratulations on your second place win Rilly!!!

The Secretary said...

Have sent this on to my mum - a rambler don't you know. Love it!!!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Perhaps second place will earn a pair of shoes between them?

Morally, you are of course the winner!

rilly super said...

Thankyou so much for all the kind comments and for voting as well. I'm bloody lucky as this blog has the nicest readers of any blog out there. This blog will be a little quite for a week or two but I'll be back! Take care and see you soon.