We had moved to the farm in Whangaehu with the understanding that David would be Farm manager: responsibile for organising the workers and directing all the daily activities on the farm: (i.e.) milking, hay-cutting, feed out, baling, calving, etc…. What actually happened, was that David did have to organise the order of jobs to be done, but he also had to do much of the work himself, alone, – since no one else on the farm knew how to do what needed to be done … AND, his pay packet became that of an assistant farm-manager to another guy, who barely knew one end of a cow from the other!!
So David was expected to do the work of the Farm manager but only receive an assistants’ wage, while the learner bloke who was in the farm managers’ position was paid for the work which David had done!!
Because calving had already begun, and no one else knew what to do, David took care of 3 months of calving, alone – while back at our house, I searched for another position for him. We finally got an appointment with Craig & Leah on a farm in Bulls! It was just 20 minutes away, back in the Manawatu! We left Whangaehu at the end of October to start in Bulls on the 1st November!
What can I say about Bulls? It’s where State Highway 1 turns left at a 90 degree angle, and goes toward Palmerston North for about 15 kilometres; alternately at that left turn, there is also a 90 degree right turn on to State highway 3 which runs from Palmerston North to Whanganui, or instead of turning either way, one could, when the way was clear to; cross directly ahead into Parewanui Road. (Pa-ree -wah- new-ee) (Parewanui means: large floating -rising village.)
David found it so easy to work for/with Craig. They were very similar types, both anti-social, kept to thmselves, but amazingly, they got along extremely well. At Christmas, Craig and Lia took a weeks’ holiday. The first holidays they’d had in 3 years. Craig was almost beside himself. He knew that he could go away, and everything would be done exactly the way that he would have done it. He was stoked!!
David & Craig worked out that they could have alternate weekends off – and so, we got to have a life apart from the farm. Most of it we spent in Whanganui, just shopping or spending time at the beach in Castlecliff – dreaming of the day when we would live in the area, or go up to the Bastia Hill look-out, where on a clear day, one can see all the way up the coastline to Hawera, (Ha-wear-rah) in the distance, Mt Taranaki a little to the east, and to the north, Mt Ruapehu. I am so in love with this city and it’s river and it’s seashore of black sand!!
Sonya and Malcolm had come to spend Christmas with us that year. Dylan and Summer had been living with us in Whangaehu, and they had moved with us when we had come to Bulls. Except for the fact that we were going to be jobless in June, everything was perfect! I loved the house – it was so easy to clean – and Tip was so well disciplined, he was more like a little boy than a dog. He had the bedroom at the end of the hall right next to ours.The guest room was the first room at the top of the hallway, opposite the bathroom and the separate loo. The farming was going well through January. My brother who was playing competitive bowls in the National Championships, came to visit with one of my half-sisters and her partner. They were on their way to the South Island where the competitions were being held. They arrived in their converted bus – and it was huge!!…while my brother and his partner drove the little, Rav 4 wagon. I invited them all to stay the night but they couldn’t because they had to get to Wellington in time to get a berth on the ferry which crosses Cook Strait, so I had prepared a good whole- some 3 course meal instead and bid them eat, before they left.
A week later they stopped in on their way home. My brother had done extremely well in the competitions, getting through to the final events in a couple of the events, but he was tired and they’d had a rocky crossing of the Strait. They had brought crayfish back from Kaikoura, (K-eye-k-oh-rah) for me. The next day, I invited my girlfriend Kathy to come over from Palmerston North to share the crayfish with me. (Kaikoura means,”to eat crayfsh”) Kathy was the only person I knew who loved crayfish as much as I did.
We cooked it, prepared side salads, then settled down to our feast.What a time of fellowship and feasting and fun! I still called her once a week, so we just picked up from where our last conversation had ended. It had been a huge cray, but we managed to dispose of it rather well, I thought.
January became February – My roses were on their third flush of blooms and our home was immaculate. David and I had had the weekend off February 13 and 14, but that Sunday, the weather was oppressive, grey and still. We were restless so we decided to go for a drive, up to Hunterville, only 5 kms northward along State Highway 1. We spent an hour driving around the back roads of Hunterville, until we decided to return home.
It felt very eerie because everything was so still, as though the world were waiting for something to happen!! We stopped by a swampy patch of ground to reverse the car and turn around. I said to David, “That’s strange, I’ve never seen swamp-water that high before!” It almost reached up to the grass verge. The drive hadn’t been very satisfying. Late afternoon, we watched TV, David played computer games, we fed our cats and dog, had supper and turned in early.
TBC – Emmi