Being a self confessed beach bum I can’t seem to get enough sea and surf and neither can our Golden Girls, Daphne and Margot. We have conveniently and strategically located ourselves just a 45 minute drive from our nearest seaside town. Port Fairy is an absolute gem with lovely verandaed shops lining its main streets which are set back from two very different beaches. The first is a wide sweeping bay with huge rollers crashing onto the sand and populated by impossibly cool, bronzed surf dudes. The second beach is where we feel more at home and is a series of small deserted sandy bays surrounded by rock pools and is a little more sheltered from the wind. The Golden Girls couldn’t believe their luck as they were let off their leads to frolic and gamble with us in the clear blue sea. We spent a perfect day with them, picnicking and soaking up the sun. I was reminded of Shirley Valentine as I found a rock to lean against and next time we go I shall say “Hello Rock” just like her.
I have ambitions of climbing some of the mountains we can see from the farm and for a fitness test I was taken by a professional mountain climber up the smallest of them, aptly named Mount Piccaninny. It took just 45 minutes to reach the top and even though it’s only a mini-mountain the view from the top was no less breathtaking and rather embarrassingly so was I! However I passed the test and I will soon undergo my next challenge of Mount Sturgeon.
Life has picked up a pace on the farm. The rams’ services are not required again until next year and were to be returned to their own havens of masculinity with their girlfriends earning some much needed peace and quiet. On a bakingly hot day the flocks were mustered into the sheep yards to draft off the rams. Cloud and I helped chase the sheep up the race with me waving my new magic wand (a piece of plastic pipe with an old sack taped at one end), the scariest thing known to sheepdom. Coining the words from the Babe movie I yelled “Baa-Ram-Ewe” like a banshee and like lambs they did just what they were told!
We’re also in the middle of calving. Not that the Kiwi has had alot to do in that regard as all the heifers have thankfully given birth without much trouble except for a young girl who needed a bit of the James Herriott treatment. The calf was huge and firmly stuck and his poor mum gave a very loud bellow as her baby was winched out of her. Needing a little help to take his first breath, a pine needle was used to tickle his nose to make him sneeze. It worked a treat and he was soon breathing normally. Mother and son were duly introduced and now they’re back with the herd doing cow-things in the sun.
The grass around sheep yards was in need of a mow and a flock of sheep were brought in to do the job for free. However to the ewe’s delight we had forgotten move out some sacks of chook wheat from the open fronted shed. I thought things had gone a little quiet and upon investigation I found several woolly bottoms in a circle around the now rather depleted wheat sacks. Yup, learned a lesson there then! But thank goodness nobody ate enough to make themselves ill.
The Rodeo came to town! The Dunkeld community had been waiting with baited breath for the Sturgeon Stampede and everyone dressed up in their best shirts, pressed jeans, cowboy boots and stetsons. We took up position sitting on straw bales to watch the action and the atmosphere was very jolly. Although I thought that it wasn’t the kindest thing in the world to do to a bull or a horse, they bucked, reared and bunny hopped around the ring with their riders lasting only a few short seconds on their backs. The riders had come from all over the world including Iraq and how they stuck on the backs of their violently bouncing steeds for as long as they did I will never know. Some of them were sensible enough to wear crash hats as inevitably each competitor ended up on the ground. Dressed in an amazing amount of sparkles and bling, it was then the turn of the ladies who took part in a barrel racing competition. Charging at full gallop around the ring on their horses with western style tack flying in all directions, they turned on a sixpence around three barrels spaced evenly apart. Dust flew everywhere but everyone madly cheered them on whilst quenching our dusty throats with many tins of the XXXX.
Meanwhile back in Blighty my nephew’s memorial service was held at Sherborne Abbey and with the wonders of modern science I was also able to attend. An iPad was positioned on a ledge and with a FaceTime connection I could see and hear the service and everyone could see me too. This was something I had forgotten about as I later got into trouble for drinking coffee during the service! Whoops! B ut I was feeling a little bleary eyed as it was 2 in the morning here and anyway I don’t expect Xander would have minded. It was a lovely service with beautiful music and was a chance for all his mates to say their goodbyes. Xander’s very brave 16 year old sister, Laura gave an incredible eulogy and at the end raised the roof with three cheers for Xander!
I have put together a short musical video of Xander’s life and if anyone would like a copy I can Dropbox it to you.
It’s almost too exciting for words! We’re finally moving into a farm cottage after a year in our caravan. We spent the long weekend we’ve just had fetching some of our “AWG”s (All Our Worldly Goods) out of the two 20ft containers we’ve got parked in a friend’s shed. It’s been like Christmas unwrapping things we haven’t seen for ages and the Golden Girls are very interested in them as they must smell of home. It will take several trips to get everything we need for our new lives but it is certainly keeping me occupied doing the job it took six people 5 days to pack. The plan is to stay here working until we find our Promised Land which might take a while…. But we’re quite contented and now that we’ve got some of our much missed AWG’s around us it makes us feel a lot more settled. cIt will also give us the time and space to find the right piece of ground to build our new home and settle down.
As a parting gift to you I will share a photograph of the front of our car which is encrusted with dead locusts. The pesky critters fly up kamikaze style into the bumper and then bake to a crisp making it a virtually impossible and absolutely disgusting job cleaning them off!