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Four days in the fields, to face plants, to fortuitous free time

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Views [1183]

Photos never do any justice to the sound!

Photos never do any justice to the sound!

Four days of work is a good enough reason to have the whole following week off. It's not by choice, but it fits in so nicely with my plans that I cannot believe my subconscious desires did not play a part in it becoming a reality. As a perennial bad luck charm on every farm I work on, as soon as I started on the corn in Orbost, productivity plummeted. Bad news for someone saving to return to Asia in June. Great news for someone desperate to return to Melbourne to see the Symphony Orchestra perform Beethoven's 9th.

The fourth movement of Beethoven's 'choral' symphony is widely known as 'ode to joy'. Or wider still, the music from the Olympics, or any other sports show where heroic, humanity-inspiring feats require an equally impressive soundtrack. I admit I hardly look like the sort of person who would enjoy a symphony recital, but even though I have less musical ability than what Mozart had in utero, I grew up listening to classical music and often find the performances far more moving than contemporary music.

As for Orbost, have you ever walked through a cow paddock and had every bovine eye trained on you attempting to ascertain your strange features, covert intentions, and ability to walk on two legs?Every foray into the thriving metropolis of the 20 or so shops that make up the CBD feels like going balls out on the catwalk for an underwear show. I hardly look like the sort of person who would come to a small town without the intention to rape and pillage, so the extra attention is not taken personally. According to more than one resident, the only thing worth doing here is getting pissed or stoned, so giving a newcomer a once, twice or five times look over is just a normal way to alleviate the boredom.

Having said that, everyone we have spoken to has been amazingly friendly, and even the Australians we work with seem to be a likeable bunch. Recollecting past experiences with Australian farmers, I feared the worst when our Irish connection told us that everyone bar one other was a local. This was all part of the job offer that Ronan and Elaine presented to us 2 hours after returning from Tasmania. Had I known that work was so imminent, I wouldn't have...no wait, I still would have bitched about the unbelievable price of everything in Tas-money-a.

The boss sounds as well loved as most bosses are, but we are yet to meet him as a California Corn Convention kept him out of everyone's hair for a week. That sounds riveting, but necessary when research and development is the name of the game. We don't have to work in a lab coat or carry a clipboard with sharp looking pie charts on it, and minimal intelligence is required to complete the tasks. It basically involves bagging pollen and inseminating corn silk, the sort of stuff normally left to the birds and the bees.

The highlight of my short time in Orbost was a trip to the beach, as is often the case. An overly friendly, stereotype-breaker of a Serbian funny man called Nandor took Shane and I on a brief roadie to nearby Cape Conran. Nandor's beach experiences were the dreams of his everyday life back home when he escaped the rat race for 10 days every year and totally submersed himself in the sort of lifestyle that I have been lucky enough to enjoy for most of the last two years of my life. All three of us approached a long, arcing crescent moon shaped bay with perfect 1 metre barrels under a clear blue sky with the same boggled-eyed child like enthusiasm though.

Nandor also approached the pre-rolled joint with child like enthusiasm that would have been a concern to any child physchologists that could have been hanging out with us dumb asses. I remember promising my Mum that I wouldn't drink and swim for its obvious effect on ones survival chances. I can't remember if I ever said the same thing about weed, but I probably should of for my oft held desire to grow gills and live underwater whenever I venture into the water universe stoned. The waves were far too ripe for rippin' not to be rippin' them, and not even water inexplicably colder than in Tasmania's more southerly location could stop us for shredding like nerds trying to look cool by exhausting their dodgy collection of pseudo surfing expressions.

Nandor was out with me as the water seemed like a spa to his Eastern Bloc ice lake swimming blood. Shane had been drown proofed in his army training (being deliberately drowned and then resuscitated by his drill sergeant) and should have had nothing to fear, but frozen white tootsies was too much for this hard nut to handle. These waves were big and clean and so easy to catch that I tried to mix it up and go a bit new school. I thought that holding my ankles behind me would help me aqua-plane me across the wave face like a majestic man missile of physics defying grace. Instead, a cannonball of impending disaster had some sandy ocean floor sense smashed into it before I even had time to evaluate the imbecility of my crafty new technique. Miraculously my teeth and nose remained in their original configuration, but surprisingly I had lost my fervent desire to cheat death and peer incredulity. For today at least.

Tags: adrenaline, beaches & sunshine, work

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