Al and his ‘handlanger’!

Sunday morning – misty and grey and time spent at the top of the Cunningham Gap at the roadworks was extended partly because there had been an accident and partly because our truck decided it didn’t want to go.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

Al tried everything he knew including tipping the cab but nothing worked so he had to phone base who told him about a special switch hidden in the works on the back of the cab.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

The scale of the vehicle struck me as I took the pics of Al at work.
They are Leviathans of the road and ours is a modest one.

The first farm – the Fly Farm – was at the top of a hill where the cows were all corralled in a pen and stood ankle-deep in mud, patiently waiting for the farmer to drop the silage in a field down the hill where they would go and eat it.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

The farmer’s wife was in the milking parlour with her tiny baby and in the parlour miraculously there were no flies! Al did his quality checks

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

while I chatted to her and cuddled the baby. Can’t help myself – I should volunteer to look after babies and settle the need to cuddle the little things.

This was exciting – in the truck comfortably insulated from the weather with a marvellous view of the very pretty green countryside life felt pretty good. Seeing and being with Al in his working environment, master of his craft, collecting milk for Brisbane and beyond felt pretty powerful. I forgot about the pain of his loss of hockey.

The very clean and well-run farm was next – the best thing was the gravel underfoot rather than the ubiquitous mud.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

The parlour was gleaming and fairly new. Big hoses connect vats and truck to facilitate the pumpout.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

The next picture shows the inside of the tank at the end of the pump out. I sort of angled myself and the camera over the opening. the paddles keep the milk moving. part of Al’s job is to wash the whole thing out afterwards. Apparently milk is so acid that it even corrodes stainless steel if left too long.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

I had noticed that there always seemed to be calves segregated from the rest of the herd and wondered why this was. At the next farm the farmer and his son were on hand to chat to us.

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

Apparently they keep them closed up like this, different set up on each farm,

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

so that they can be bucket-fed, they take them away from their mothers when they are very young – something to do with the farmers wanting to maximise on the milk – if the cows think they are going to get their calf they hold back milk for that… well who would have thought that cows think that much. Talking about cows thinking – at the second last farm I played at length with a dog that insisted that I throw a stone for him,

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

he persisted bringing it back many times – the stone was disgusting full of mud and saliva and later on blood as well. His poor mouth. Anyway eventually it rained a bit so I decided to give up on the game and moved to the fence line to wipe my hands on the greener grass on the other side of the fence and stood up a bit suddenly causing a huge electric shock on my back from the fence… Who is the silly cow now?!

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

This is the fence and paddock where the cows in the middle distance lined up for their picture!

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

The trip home was pretty uneventful except for this cormorant… somehow I had not realised the cormorants are Australian as well…

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

But when we reached the factory and Al had orientated himself with the other drivers who were also waiting

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

we saw this note

From Al and his 'Handlanger' December 2011

and decided to go home as it would have been 3am before Alan had finished. He arranged to go back in the early morning to unload his truck and in the event got home after 9 am on Monday morning. All good – he is paid by the hour!!

This is a very long blog post and I hope you have enjoyed it. There are some days that I want to memorialise and this was one of those. Marketing recently has been better forgotten. We spent the day together enjoying each other’s company, talk roamed all over the place, we covered the usual suspects, where we hope to live next and how we hope to live… the girls and their individual situations and how we can interact with them or not… the state of the world … and how lucky we are to have each other and this job!

You can get to the rest of the pics by clicking on any of the links below the pics

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About retrocentricaussie

We are a pair of ageing 'gypsies' who find junk and sell antiques, especially objects from the art nouveau/art deco years and old and well-loved tools. We also occasionally buy antiques as well!! We haunt clearance sales, garage sales, charity shops and sometimes dumps. Lately we have even been to a 'proper' auction. The thrill is in the chase for good stuff at prices we can afford and still sell the items on at a profit sufficient to support us. We recycle what other people don't want anymore, we find new homes for nice things. We sell at markets and antique fairs, swap meets and wherever else we can find. Our clientele are mostly ordinary people who want something they can afford that will enhance their quality of life. We are especially pleased when generation Y buy from us. It suggests that appreciation of quality and good design is still part of our modern aesthetic.
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7 Responses to Al and his ‘handlanger’!

  1. Rain Battiss says:

    I so enjoyed this Lynette, thanks!
    xx Rain

  2. Great blog, chatty and entertaining! A long way from teaching English in the Transkei, and yet maybe not so long, if you think of the rural connection….

  3. Anne Davies says:

    I love your blog and especially this latest one. I am in the Torres Strait on Masig and think I would love to have the kind of conversations you and Al have …………….the stuff of life.

  4. Sandra says:

    Thank you for this blog, Lynette. It reminds me of the good old days when I used to go on the road with “Big Al”. (Smile)

  5. Abdul Sammad says:

    I love it! Not the easiest job being on the road, but 1 learns so much. Thanx 4 sharing 🙂

  6. Chester says:

    A lovely blog, so good to read that you can appreciate the moments in life when the world seems at peace – and it is when you and Al are together I think and this money in the tin. What else do we need ? Your time with the girls will come yet. I think you and Al time has been, on balance, probably wonderful … certainly happy days there have been.

    All love, Chester xxxx

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