We had a lie in, but with the alarm set for 7.15, it was only marginal. In the event the fabulous cooking smells coming from the kitchen had us out of bed before it went off, also allowing for an R&M shower; repair and maintenance. This provoked a ‘shower in the morning versus shower in the evening’ debate with Rob. Apparently Poms shower in the morning but I pointed out that in our previous lifestyle that would be the case, to be clean and fresh for work, however in this lifestyle that is pointless as you are about to get filthy and need to clean up at the end of the day before going to bed. Anyway we were able to enjoy a full cooked breakfast, Aussie style, courtesy of Rob.
We weren’t quite sure of the plan for the day, whether it was day off, time off or what but there didn’t seem to be any urgency for any tasks apart from locating the camp oven and making dampers! Rob and Genine took us back down the steep track in the truck, complete with picnic, to their swimming hole but it would be too cold to swim, (they haven’t been to Stokes Bay in the middle of summer!) It is a beautiful spot and they are so lucky to have it outside their back gate, complete with a slide in what must be one of the best locations possible.
A fire was started, not for warmth but to heat the billy for proper Aussie style tea, requiring this centrifugal force to mash it. We then cooked the dampers, both normal and gluten-free (Genine follows this diet as well), the latter being much more popular as it contained apricots and syrup! Unexpectedly to us, there were several empty turtle shells scattered around, which apparently the dogs love to chew!
Then it was everyone jump into the truck, or onto the back, as we set off again but this time stopping only a few hundred yards away. Roger and Robert had been talking guns during the morning so we spent the following hour or so practising our firearm skills, Roger getting progressively more accurate as Rob threw clods of sh*t into the air to act as clays. There was little alternative option and it had dried out. I got on quite well with a short gun but only just managed to miss my own and Rob’s toes as I levered the double barrel shot gun into the air by the trigger. Anyway, it seemed to provide excellent entertainment for the locals!
In the afternoon it was back to the horse yard to assess those brought in the previous day and collect a few more, using 5 of the first batch to make them more inclined to run in. Roger wasn’t allowed to ride, wheels or legs! He had made a good recovery but with his hand still quite swollen he was wearing a bright orange under glove as a pressure garment (see shooting photos). The gates had been closed from the first 2 paddocks so there was much less distance to cover looking for these animals but we took our books just in case, having had the experience of 2 hours of ‘dead’ time the previous day with just a 10 year old to entertain or be entertained by but even he wasn’t coming with us. The musterers came back in just over an hour but had managed to get the ones they wanted.
Monday morning saw us staying behind as more mustering was carried out. We didn’t mind because if you aren’t directly involved there is a lot of hanging about. We seem to have fallen into the roles of handyman and gardener/housekeeper in terms of our work tasks. I just need to be careful where I put my hands when gardening as there are still some less than pleasant beasties here, we ran over a snake on the road this afternoon, by mistake.
Genine called us up around 11.30 as they were approaching the yard with about 25 head. We arrived as they were having a break before starting to sort them, trying to identify older ones and also select 2 groups, one for a 10 day breaking clinic she will be running shortly and the other to be the new colts and fillies who have yet to be handled (this may be our job!)
They were still a bit frustrated at not having caught the 3 black ones which had got away on the first day so the boys on the bikes (and men) set off to try to locate them whilst Genine and Agnes sat patiently waiting on their mounts with half a dozen older handled mares to act as guides. We waited with them for well over an hour with no news on the 2-way radio from the lads. Eventually we decided to head home, there was a 2.5kg joint of corned beef (not in a tin!) which needed putting on to cook and would take a while.
As we drove the kilometre back along the track to the road we spotted the three off in the trees to the left. They seemed fairly calm and there was no sign, visual or audible, of any pursuers. As we didn’t have a radio in the car we couldn’t let the others know that we’d found them so decided to turn back to tell them. With that, they started running ahead of us, still off to our, now, right and we drove them back to the yard where they were penned by the 2 women on much maligned horseback. They had raised the guys on the radio and shortly everyone was back at the yard. The 3 fugitives were in the pen thanks to the 2 inexperienced Poms in the beat up Ute (steering lock still activating unpredictably, including when mustering horses!) without any communication having passed them on to the women on the horses. Boys and toys in this misogynistic environment just couldn’t hack it this day!