Pete is an occasional visitor. He loves coming to the farm and is very content helping me with whatever task I’m up to at the time. And other than being well fed, happily does it for nothing which is why I love Pete in return.
I first met Pete at our wedding some 32 years ago. He is married to Pam, Jane’s eldest cousin with Jane being the youngest. We hit it off right from the start.
Pete loves loud music, is noisy at public events, laughs raucously and thoroughly enjoys life. Just like me. And our wives disprove of these and other characteristics which makes Pete and I wonder why Overton women seem to be attracted to blokes like us.
But they are, and very lucky women are they.
Pam, the daughter of Guy a cricket fast bowler for NZ and involved in the 1953 Boxing Day test in South Africa with Bob Blair is a top croquet player in her own right so they are staying with us while she plays a tournament.
I was delighted at their arrival as I’d been trying to get someone to help me with docking the last of the ewe hogget lambs.
Jane is busy coaching tennis and picking asparagus and hasn’t been available when I needed her.
Pete’s arrival was opportune.
We had a leisurely breakfast with Pete waxing lyrical about the delights of his avocado on toast. He is such an epicurean that he will rave about anything you put in front of him. Even a piece of dry bread would elucidate a discourse on the merits of its texture in the mouth.
We went out to muster the sheep and I got impatient at the speed of Pete’s gate opening.
“Come on man, my life is slipping away. These are minutes I’m never going to get back.”
“If your gates were better swung and you didn’t have a different catch on each one that needs an engineer to decipher, things would be a bit more efficient” he replied.
We’ve always had a robust relationship.
I taught Pete how to use the docking iron as he’s in his early 70’s now and it seemed only fair that I did the picking up.
I instructed him on the right length to leave the stump and in response to his question why, explained that we are told that the consumers like to know the girly bits don’t get sunburnt. I’d never seen this when we cut them short to make crutching easier but as they say, the consumer is always right.
I do hear that the meat companies cut that little bit of tail off the carcase, bag them up, sell them to China and make a fortune. But this could just be another rural legend like so many others.
We paced ourselves and chatted about music, politics, women and life.
It made me realise how much I’ve slowed down in the last year or so. Partly because physically I can’t keep up the pace any longer and because I’m now choosing to smell the roses as I pass.
My brother in law Andrew who is a commercial fisherman helped me at times in the past and used to call me ‘fart in a bottle’ due to my ability to leap the rails in the yards and fences as I dashed about. He and others didn’t appreciate that there was so much to be done and so little time.
Watching and being part of Pete’s pace and his ability to savour each moment and experience reinforced that the path I’m now on as I follow him into an older age is not that frustrating but actually quite cool.