Nearly two weeks have passed since I returned from Queensland and I have just found the time to write about what I got up to there. It is difficult to put into words just what an amazing time I had up there. The Jackson family took care of me so well that I cannot thank them enough. My motto while I was at Bodalla (as it is at most times in my life actually) was “If you feed me, I will keep working and I was more than adequately rewarded for all my hard work.
Robert, Genine and, Warren and Mary, Robert’s parents, along with BJ, Shea, Damon, Brooke, Aaron and Jo, made me so welcome and I was proud to be asked to stay on to help. It was also a great pleasure to meet Tracey, a friend of Genine’s who kept hanging around! She and I got on really well and she taught me a lot about the relationship between a horse and its rider. In fact, I think I enjoyed the work I got to do with the horses the most and and Tracey was a brilliant teacher.
I loved working in the yards, sorting and branding all the cattle. I only got chased up and over the rails a few times by crazy cows who, unlike most of the others, were not more afraid of me than I was of them. I like to think that the ballet training I received all those years ago helped me in my efforts to dodge the ‘mickies’ as they are called, In fact Warren was hoping for a few pirouettes from me in the yard. However, it had more to do with the crazy bastard bulls scaring the sh*t out of me! I haven’t moved that fast since the first day they opened the buffet on the ship I work on.
I got to do some shooting at targets both alive and dead. Apparently i am not a bad shot. At least I think the kangaroos that I hit would say so. I should say, however, that I am not a fan of hunting purely for sport and it is not something I would do but the we and the dogs need to eat and the kangaroos are pests up there so I got stuck in.
I am pretty sure that none of us will forget my time at Bodalla. Just to make sure I never forget I have a few scars on my leg that will always remind me of my time there. I saw first hand just how easy it is to make a mistake and come off worse in a fight between a man and some barbed wire. Warren went through a fence while trying to catch a runaway bull and cut his neck quite badly. In my haste to get help him I clipped the barbed wire fence and ended up with 41 stitches in my left thigh and a decent gash on my left arm. Fortunately all my injuries, while large and slightly gruesome looking, were flesh wounds and after my first ever ride in an ambulance (believe it or not) were stitched up later that day by the doctor in Charters Towers. Unfortunately, Warrens injuries were a little more serious and he had to be taken by helicopter to Townsville. I should say, however, that he is on the mend and back home now.
Apparently the doctor that put me back together had never put so many stitches in one person before and by the time I went back a couple of days later to get my dressing changed, it turned out that I had become something of a minor celebrity in the hospital when the nurse called to her colleagues to, “come and look at the man with the 41 stitches.”
The accidents happened 2 weeks ago now and for me, the most painful part of the whole ordeal was getting the stitches out a few days ago!
Before I even left I had already said that I was going to go back (if they will have me!). After all you have to get back on the horse, or in my case, quad bike! I plan on going back up there at the start or december. This time I will hope to come away having left a little less of me behind….attached to a fence!
So much happened in a relatively short space of time that I don’t think I can write it all down. Instead I will let the photographs that I took speak for themselves as I took photos of pretty much everything I did!