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Posts tagged ‘dairy’

A dream comes true

I’ve always wanted to walk into a shop and shout, “Horseshit!”

Although secretly what I’ve REALLY always wanted is to sidle into a shop, grab a packet of Smarties, empty them into my mouth, then RUN OUT WITHOUT PAYING. Perhaps cackling as I go, as long as I could be sure it would come across as vaguely menacing rather than insincere and trying too hard. But once I reached the age of 9, I gave up the dream. It was time to make a choice: to embark on a life of crime, or devote myself to goodness and general worthiness and procuring of confectionary via lawful financial transactions.

But it’s been hard, knowing I will never fulfil that dream, which explains why, when an opportunity presented itself to walk into a shop and shout, “Horseshit!”, I engaged it fully and enthusiastically.

The notice beside the bags of shit stacked outside the Riding for the Disabled Centre in Blenheim stated, ‘manure $2/bag pay at the dalry’. While we loaded three sacks into the car, we tried to work out what a dalry was. We only realised 100 yards down the road as we drove past the local dairy (that’s the grocery store to the European Unionists).

So I marched into the dairy clutching $6 and shouted “Horseshit!”. Given the sentiment, I felt thumping the counter would be a little OTT, so contented myself with projecting from the diaphragm.

“Oh,” whispered the shop assistant. “You mean . . . the . . . poo?”

Which I felt was ambiguous for all that it might have been admirably dainty.

“HORSESHIT!” I confirmed.

At last, a dream comes true.

Dairy free

This afternoon I cycled into Henderson to pick up a litre of milk for Husband. I was motivated by love, devotion – and guilt (I forgot to buy milk during the weekly shop).

It was only when I arrived in Henderson/Misty Valley that I realised I had left my wallet behind.

To put this in perspective: I had just cycled 8km, my knickers had disappeared up my arse, I was splattered with sweaty mud, and I had an acute case of Helmet Head. Had I been driving, I would probably have returned home to collect my wallet; or – more likely – rummaged around the ashtray, delved into the seat joins, and turned out the glovebox until I scraped together $3 worth of 5c pieces.

However, there was no way I was about to CYCLE home and back again. I just don’t love Husband that much. Is this wrong? It might  have been his birthday, but it was hardly as if a litre of milk was his present. He got a Playstation III and a pair of spiffy sunglasses. All things considered, I felt that cycling into Henderson ONCE was an operatic response to the call of duty.

In the superette (similar to a newsagent store) at Parrs Cross Road, I explained the situation to the shop assistant. Perhaps I overdid the forehead slapping, because she refused to consider gifting or loaning me a litre of milk, or opening a credit account, because she only worked there and all the above were against store policy.

Since there were no cows in the vicinity, I decided to try the second dairy on Henderson Valley Road.

By this stage, I was completely mortified. What, you thought that emotion didn’t feature in my range? Not at all; I’m Irish, so have an innate patriotic ability for mortification especially of the flesh.

However, I focussed on the journey home: 8km of it involving 400ft climb, and the joy and hope dying in Husband’s eyes as he slowly realises I have returned empty handed and dairy free. I was therefore compelled to enter the other superette.

This time, I had my story better prepared. I didn’t go into details about the sweaty mud, because that was largely self-evident. But I told the store manager about my great journey; how it was Husband’s birthday and he couldn’t have his muesli that morning and had to drink black coffee; how terrible that made me feel; how – if they only found it in their hearts to donate a litre of milk – I would return on Wednesday to pay and thereafter shop at their store with a fierce loyalty and regularity until I died.

God, I love New Zealand. As I cycled home, litre of milk digging comfortingly into the small of my back, I only regretted not scoring a refreshing bottle of sportaid as well


Last week, Mum brought me up country to visit the relatives. My cousin, Michelle, was home from London with her first baby; a gorgeous, happy little six month old called Cormac.


Before we left, I persuaded my uncle to let me drive his tractor. I consider it outrageous that in all the years I spent growing on my family’s farm, I never got to wreak havoc with a tractor. In a scene reminiscent of Sophie’s Choice, I ripped Michelle away from Cormac, and Uncle Anslie gave over his Valtra Valmet T170 to us. Michelle balanced on the seat atop one of the wheels while Anslie issued garbled instruction from a precarious perch on the swarting machine affixed to the back:


“Turn er dah way!”


“Which way? Left?”


“Naw! DAH way!”


“Where- right?”


“Naw! Naw! Other way!”


“Up- up the ditch?”


“NAW! Wha’ did I tell ya?”




This is the man who, on the way home from market one day, mysteriously lost two cows out of a trailer. Could have had something to do with the style of driving favoured by the typical Irish farmer, allied with the trailer door swinging wide open. Anslie returned to hunt down his cows, who were grazing by the side of the road about twenty miles back. He coaxed them into the trailer by way of a kick up the arse, reinforced the door with baling twine, and drove home . . . only to find the cows had fallen out of the trailer again.


(There’s no happy ending to this – what d’you expect? Any story involving cattle ends up in the giant farm in the sky.)


I’m hoping this illustrates why Anslie had no problem with me taking his €50000 tractor out on the open road:


“Come on Anslie, it’s no FUN going around a field. And I can’t say I’ve REALLY driven a tractor until I’ve been down a main road with at least 20 cars backed up behind me.”


“Supposin’ yer right, ar. Take ‘er up hill.”




So off we went up the hill, Anslie still clinging grimly to the back of the tractor.


“You think I could swart the hedgerow?” I asked, just on the off chance.


“Chrisht, NAW! Keep ‘er straight!”


“It’s pretty responsive, isn’t it?”


“Ar. Steerin’s bit timid al’ right.”


“Ok, I need to know how to salute people. The farmer’s nod. Does it go like this? Or this?”


“Never nod the head up,” said Michelle knowledgeably; she grew up down the road from The Farm. “People will think you’re up yourself, sticking your nose in the air.”


“An’ wan finger up aff da steerin’ weel. Like dah. Ar.”


I’m not sure I will ever make a farmer; there were only three people behind me when I PULLED INTO A GATEWAY TO LET THEM PASS. It is doubtful whether I have the robust insouciance of character required for farming life. Being a total wuss probably doesn’t help either



Photo by Michelle – Anneslie with me in the tractor and the remains of a bush that got in the way

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