I’ve had a thought of late, one that repeats like an endless Sunday of Challenge TV. Replacing Takeshi and his Castle however is the notion I might lack the required skills to ever really settle somewhere. Hyperbolic yes but given my track record not entirely unfeasible. The longest I’ve managed to plant any roots in the last two years is where I currently live and as ever I’m about to pull that sapling up by the stem and move it to fresher soil if we carry this metaphor through to it’s rather annoying conclusion. There is, after all, a time in every man’s life when he takes a moment to sit by his imaginary self, light the cigarette of change and say: “You know, I think it’s time we got into cattle farming.” For me, that time is now.

20140416-214511.jpgIn my last blog I talked about a dilemma in need of resolution. Naturally I chose an option that didn’t fit any I thought I had. I decided to give my continued stay here the chance to keep continuing and work up my right to a second year. This was to involve moving a good thousand kilometres from any decent coffee to fix fences and do something suspect to grapevines. Thankfully I was able to find a closer alternative and am instead moving a mere three hours to work with animals. Unlike the apex-predators of Bolivia however I’m moving sideways into the business of bovines. Yes, I shall be singing gently to contented moo-moos whilst wooing cereal juice from their tingling udders. A slight pause here to admit that sentence went an entirely different direction from initial expectations but still, it works.

Having had little to no experience in the practice of milking (jaguars being milked only by professionals in Bolivia) I’m not entirely sure what to expect. A new range of smells to appreciate. Some interesting exposure to omnivorous digestive tracts. A new respect for expectant mothers. It also means a return to communal living, something I am extremely experienced in and not entirely sprinting to return to. Like all situations where you’re forced to inhabit close quarters with another human, it will all depend of the specific company. I’m hoping for a plucky band of hard working chummy types but, this being Australia, could well be left sharing a room with a bunch of half drunk pre-teens. I’ve been erring on the optimistic however and am actually looking forward to getting out there. The addition of Cowboy alongside Jaguar Wrangler is going to make my CV all the more interesting, although I’ve heard the former is a common qualification amongst the Melbourne marketing community.

20140416-213508.jpgPlaying up to my new role I’ve only gone and bought a ukelele. From Mumford and his many talentless sons to the shining light of the Lumineers the uke seems to have become the darling of the indie-folk community recently. It’s also easy as anything to play, always an advantage for someone gifted with unusually long yet freakishly brittle fingers like myself. I’ve already turned said digits into throbbing wands of pain through practice and can murder Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the intro to Ho Hey and precisely two chords of the song you’ll find below. I’m so proud. If I’m honest the plan was to achieve a level of adequacy to culture the appearance of a wandering bard type, plying songs for a warm fire and hearty meal. Progress has been slower than expected however and the only impression my playing currently cultivates is one of mild disability. Still, I’ll be on the farm for 3 months…plenty of time to get less worse.

Anyway. I hate goodbyes. I’ve even reached for the old traveller mainstay “This isn’t goodbye, it’s farewell” on a few occasions. Urgh. Still, I have gotten used to them. If all goes to plan this isn’t really a goodbye to Melbourne anyway, and July will see me return Lazarus-like to reclaim my status as the most Godwin of Victoria based Richards.

So yes, it is indeed goodbye. A big thank you to everyone who made my stay so memorable in a myriad of ways. Thank you too for proving that, although perhaps an anachronism in today’s modern society, national stereotypes are occasionally bang on the money.


Song of leaving and oh god why the hell am I going to a cow farm?

Heard this a while back and it’s lodged itself quite firmly in my mind like a big music tic. It’s also about Gay Pirates and there’s no way I’m not going to introduce that idea to as many people as possible.


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