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By The Adventures of Yorky
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David The Shepherd ****

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 The first thing I did when I got to Kings Cross Station was to call Billy Kinghorn and let him know what time my train would arrive at Wareham, Dorset. The train ride down South to Dorset was an enjoyable trip as I sat in a comfortable seat looking out of the window at the ever-changing scenery. 

     It only took a few hours to reach Wareham. As pre-arranged, Billy Kinghorn picked me up at the station.
“G’day Billy.”, I said as I walked towards his Ute.
“Yorky Mate, how are ya?”, he said with a big smile on his face. “Am I fuckin’ glad to see you mate. You’re a lifesaver. I thought I was gonna’ be up shit creek without a paddle, till you called!”
     I shook his hand and said,
“The pleasure’s all mine mate, more than you could possibly imagine.”

     I threw my bag in the back of his Ute and we took off to his place. I instantly liked this bloke at first sight. He was a few years older than my 25 and his height was like mine, 5’10″. He was as down to earth as myself.

“Ya mentioned you were living in Denmark when ya first called. What was that like?”
“Not too fuckin’ good mate.  I was living with this Danish Sheila who guarded the gates of hell in her spare time. If she had another brain it would be fucking lonely.”


“What’s David, ya shepherd like? Is he a good bloke?”

“Oh yeah, he does my contract lambing every year and he’s the best shepherd for miles around. Between you and me Yorky, he’s got cancer but don’t say anything to him about it unless he tells ya himself.”

“No worries mate. Is he gonna’ have it operated on?”

“Last he told me, it’s terminal but who knows. He’ll probably tell ya himself once he gets to know ya.

“What’s David, ya shepherd like? Is he a good bloke?”
“Oh yeah, he does my contract lambing every year and he’s the best shepherd for miles around. Between you and me Yorky, he’s got cancer but don’t say anything to him about it unless he tells ya himself.”
“No worries mate. Is he gonna’ have it operated on?”
“Last he told me, it’s terminal but who knows. He’ll probably tell ya himself once he gets to know ya.”


 Before we got to the farm where David the Shepherd was lambing, we stopped for a pint in a small village. Billy bought his smokes and a dozen bottles of beer.
“What’s the bottles for mate?”
“I bought ‘em for you Yorky. This lambing work can be pretty stressful at times and it’s long hours so you’ll need them.”
“How thoughtful of you mate. Good on ya.”
“There’s a tobacconist down the street. You’d better pick up some rolling tobacco for ya self. Ya won’t be able to leave the farm once I drop ya off.

     As we pulled up outside of the caravan which was parked in the top corner of the farmers’ house paddock, the door opened and David the Shepherd appeared.
“David, how are ya?”, said Billy.
“I’m alright Billy, how are you?”
“Pretty good mate. This is Yorky, he’s gonna’ help ya through the season.”
“How are ya Yorky. Boy, am I glad to see you. I thought I’d be left to struggle on mi own this year.”
“I told ya I’d get ya a helper David.”
“Yeah, I know, but you don’t always follow through when you say you’ll do something.”
“Only when it’s not in my control, David. Otherwise I always get ya what ya need.”
“Did ya bring the Magnesium Bullets?”
“Yeah, everything ya need is in the back of the Ute.”

“Did ya bring the food supplies?”
“Oh shit! I forgot about that. I’ll drive back to the village and pick up whatever ya need. Why don’t ya make out a list while Yorky and miself unload the Ute.”

“Alright.”, said David and disappeared back into the caravan.

      David was a tall, skinny bloke with a bushy beard. His eyes were pale blue in their sunken sockets. He wore the clothes of a typical shepherd. He was about 50 years old.

“He seems like a good bloke bill but he’s not too healthy looking.”, I said to Billy as we unloaded the back of the Ute.
“He’s not mate. He’s a walking dead man. I don’t mean to be callous but I hope he lasts for at least another month or so or I’ll be fucked. I’ll have to look for another shepherd, ’cause I can’t be in two places at once.”
     David re-appeared with the shopping list.
“Let’s go Yorky, ya can help me pick up supplies.”said Kinghorn.
     On the way back down to the village store, I asked Billy where the generator was as I hadn’t seen one.
“I don’t have one for this caravan Yorky. It’s got a pot-bellied stove in it and that thing heats the place up a treat. There’s a cupboard at the back end of the van that’s loaded up with dry wood and there’s another cupboard thats got rubber boots, overalls, sweaters and an old work coat that I left in there last time I used it. They’re all clean and you’re welcome to use ‘em mate. They’re still reporting snow for this area tonight. It can get pretty fuckin’ cold when ya doing a night shift.”
     David had given a large list of supplies so it took quite a while to find everything. The last place we went to was the Butchers’ shop. Billy bought enough steaks, chops and sausages to last for a week.
“That’s a lot of meat mate.”, I said as we loaded up the Ute.
“Not really Yorky. Ya gotta’ eat well when ya doing this job. Keeps the cold out.”

     Back at the caravan, we unloaded the food supplies. Once we were finished Billy said to us,
“I’ll be back in 6 or 7 days to see how ya going. If ya need anything in an emergency go across the field to the farm house and get the farmer to give me a call.”


     I knocked on the caravan door and David called out,
“Come in Yorky.”
     Once inside, he said to me,
“No need to knock. Treat the place as your own.”
“Well thanks David.”
 ”Let me show ya around the Kinghorn Palace. It won’t take long. That’s the bed I’ve been using so you can take that one up the other end if ya like. It’s closer to the fire. There’s dry wood in the cupboard, spare wellies in that one. I think they’re a size 10. Use any of the old work clothes you need. The food’s in these cupboards and the meat’s in that old kerosine fridge. That’s about it Yorky. It’s a bit rough but at least it’s warm and it’s somewhat clean. Kinghorn said you’re from the Outback of Australia so I guess you’d be used to living like this.”
“Yeah mate, this really is a palace compared to some of the places I’ve camped in.”
“I’ll bet.”, said David with a slight smile on his face. “Bill tells me you’re one of those gun shearers.”
“No mate, he’s bullshittin’ ya. I normally shear between 120 and 140 a day in Aussie Merinos’. When I shear in New Zealand, anywhere from 250 to 300 a day. They’re faster shearing over there, no fucking’ wrinkles to navigate!”
“That’s a lot of sheep Yorky, in one day.”
“It might seem a lot to you David, but I’ve shorn with Maori blokes in Mew Zealand that would run rings around me.”
“Do you shear David?”
“I do, if you could call it that. I shear the old-fashioned English way, round and round, but I’m not very good Yorky. It’s just another one of those jobs I needed to learn as a shepherd. Were you born in Australia?”
“No mate, I went out to Australia on mi own at 15.  I had an ex-Parade-Sergeant Major for a step-father so Australia was the farthest place I could go to git away from him.”

     This bit of information gave him a bit of a laugh.
“What about you David? How long have you been shepherding?”
“Since I was 18. I answered an ad in one of the Farmers Weekly. They were looking for people to go out to the Falkland Islands to train as Shepherds. I already had a bit of experience so I thought, why not. There wasn’t much going on in England at the time.”
“What was that like?”
“I suppose you could relate it to New Zealand in a way. Not many people and thousands of sheep. Oh, before I forget, ya gonna’ need one of these.”
     He handed me a powerful flash light with a six-volt battery underneath it.
“We’ve got two of these. They’re rechargeable, so make sure ya plug it in every  morning. That way we can see what we’re doing of a night. Have ya done this kind of high-intensity lambing  before Yorky?”
“Not really David. I’ve helped out a few old Merino Ewes that ran into problems but nothing on this scale.
“Oh well, that’s alright Yorky. I’ll teach ya how it’s done.”
“I appreciate that David.”
“Don’t mention it Yorky, I’m just happy that you came along. Why don’t we take a walk around the lambing field and I’ll show you the set-up. You may want to change ya good clothes and put those rubber boots on. They’ll keep ya feet dry.”
“No worries David. I won’t be a minute.”
“Don’t rush, we’ve got time before it gets dark.”
     Once I had Bills’ old work clothes on and the Wellies I was ready to go.
“Why don’t ya put that big old coat on the chair, next to the fire Yorky. It’s probably a bit damp. It looks like it hasn’t been used since last season.”
“Good idea David.”
       We got out into the field, David explained the process to me. As we walked around. He showed me the the temporary pens he’d set up in the field and more permanent ones that were under cover in one of of the farmers massive sheds.
“I don’t like this hight-intensity breeding program that all these farmers are into now.  I understand they’ve got to make money but the sheep suffer. They’re seen as units now, not sheep. Take this farmer for example, he’s a Bond Street farmer. He spends most of his time in London. He’s a high-priced Solicitor and the farm is a hobby for him and a tax right-off. He can also brag about his farm when he throws one of his dinner parties for his wealthy friends. He knows very little about running the place and that’s why he uses Kinghorns’ Farm Service. I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much though because if he knew what he was doing he wouldn’t need my expertise and I’d be out’a work.”
“Yeah, I know what ya mean David. We’ve got the same thing in the Outback only we call ‘em McQuarie Street cockies.”
“Oh, I like that name Yorky, I’ll have to remember that one. We’ll do the night shift together tonight Yorky, just till you get to know the ropes and whenever ya run into a problem all ya have to do is give me a shout and I’l get up.”
“Do ya number all the ewes and lambs?”
“Yeah, we number the ewes before they lamb and when the lambs are born and the mother has accepted them with the same number and move ‘em into the outside pens. Ya see that old girl over there? She’ll probably give birth before the nights out.”

     Just then, I felt a few wet spots on mi face,
“Is it gonna’ rain?”
“No Yorky, that’s fine snow. The weather blokes have been forecasting it all week. I’d say by midnight tonight this field will be covered. Well everything looks alright at here, at the moment.  Let’s go and have a hot cuppa’ and some biscuits.”
“Good idea.”

     Back in the caravan, David put on an old black kettle on the pot belly stove and took a packet of biscuits out of the cupboard. While the tea was brewing, I rolled a smoke and offered it to David.
“Would ya like a smoke?”
“No thanks Yorky but you go ahead.”
“Ya don’t mind me smoking in the caravan?”
“Not at all Yorky, enjoy it.”
     Once the tea was ready, David handed me a tin mug and said,
“Help ya self to anything you want to eat Yorky.  Kinghorn’s paying for it. It’s part of the job.”
“Thanks David, I will.”

     We sat there in silence for a while. Me smoking a rolly and David sipping his hot tea.

“Did Billy tell you anything about me Yorky?”
“No, not really. He did say you were the best shepherd in the South of England.”
“That sounds like Bill Kinghorn. He likes doling out a bit of flattery when he can.  Did he mention anything about my health?”
“Sort of. He said you had cancer but not to say anything, unless you brought the subject up. I’m sorry to hear that mate.”
“Don’t be Yorky. I’m alright with it. I’ve learned to accept it.”
“Can’t the doctors fix ya up?”
“No Yorky, You’re looking at a dead man walking around. They say I’ve only got 3 months left. I’ll be lucky if I last that long.”
“Where’s the cancer?”
“It’s in mi guts.”
“Can’t they cut it out?”
“No, I’ve had three operations already. It’s malignant. They’ve cut out 60 percent of mi intestines and it’s still spreading.” I’ve got to wear a bag now, all the time.”
“I’ll bet that’s not too pleasant. That would give me the shits!”
     A moment later, I realized what I’d said, so I said to David,
“Sorry about that mate. I didn’t think.”
     David started laughing and said,
“Don’t apologize Yorky. That was a pretty good joke. In fact, it gives me the shits as well. I don’t have enough stomach left to digest food so whatever I eat runs out of mi side, into the bag.,”
“Does it bother you talking about it?”
“Not anymore.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, fire away.”
“How does the shit get into the bag?”
“They cut the colon and redirected it to the bag.”
“So what about yer arsehole?”
“I don’t need it anymore. They sewed it up.”
“Fuck me dead!”, I exclaimed. “I can feel mi arsehole tightening up just thinking about it.”
     David started to laugh. When he finished he said,
“Yorky, you are a very funny man. I am so glad that we’re going to be working together.”
“Isn’t it hard, knowing you’ve only got 3 months to live?”
“Not once I accepted it Yorky. That’s the hard part.”
“Are ya married?”
“Yeah, I got married late in life, in comparison to most people. I’ve got 2 children, a girl and a boy. My daughters 12 and my son’s 15.”
“Fuck, it must be hard for them?”
“Ya know what the worst part is Yorky.  They’re still in denial.”
“What d’ya mean?”
“Well, for example, the other night at the dinner table, my wife started up a conversation, with the children, about where we should go for our holidays in August. They both wanted to go abroad. Then she asked me where I’d like to go. I said,
“I won’t be going anywhere with you so don’t book a ticket for me. I won’t be here. Oh, don’t be silly David she says, Of course you’ll be here. You’ve still got a lot of life left in ya yet!”
“That must be really difficult David.”
“It is Yorky, I live with the reality and they’re hanging on to a fantasy. I hope you don’t mind my telling you all this stuff? What with living in the Falklands all those years on mi own with only sheep for company and not getting married till later on, hasn’t been easy for me to make friends. Apart from my wife, who won’t listen to me, I really haven’t had anybody to sit down and talk to about it.”
“I don’t mind at all David. It’s got me beat how ya handle it so well.”
“I don’t have any options Yorky. It’s not going to help to cry over spilt milk.”
“Did you have to have psychological counseling when ya first found out?”
“Well, they offered it to me but what was I going to do, bare mi soul to some stranger who has no idea who I am or what kind of life I’ve lived?”
“I can see ya point David but aren’t I a stranger?”
“No Yorky, you’re not. I feel a lot of love sitting here with you and we have a lot in common. We both work with sheep. I always loved working with sheep. It’s those two-legged ones that I’m wary of.”
“David, anytime ya wanna talk ya know ya can always spill ya guts to me. Oh fuck! I’ve put mi foot in it again.”

     David started to laugh quite loudly now. After he’d finished he said,

“Ya don’t have to modify your sense of humor around me Yorky. I don’t swear much miself but I love it when you swear. It sounds so natural.”
“Yeah right, I’m full of shit so we sort of balance each other out, right?”
“That sounds good to me Yorky.”
“Talking about shit, is there an outside Dunny somewhere or will I have to use one of your bags when I need the crapper?”
“Come on Yorky, let’s do a round of the sheep and I’ll show ya where it is.”

     The snow was coming down pretty hard now, as we walked around the field. All the green from the grass had disappeared and was replaced by a white blanket.

“Let’s go over here Yorky and see how this old girl is doing. She’s down on all fours and having contractions.”
     When we approached her, she didn’t get up and make a run for it as David checked her over.
“She’s been in labor a while now Yorky. If she doesn’t give birth in the next hour or so we’ll have to help her out.”
“What would cause problems for her? It seems like giving birth to a lamb is a very natural process.”
“Not with sheep in this country. They’ve been interfered with too much, in my opinion.”
“In what way?”
“Fertility drugs. They pump ‘em full of drugs so they’ll have twins. The problem with that is a lot of ‘em have 3 or 4 grossly underweight lambs. A lot of times those lambs don’t make it.”
“That’s pretty fucking shitty, don’t ya think?”
“I do Yorky. I agree with you 100% although I may not have put it quite that way.”
     David had a sweet smile on his face and a little chuckle to himself.
“I can understand that the profit level in farming is very tight these days but I think it’s a bit of a disgrace miself.”

     As we shone our flashlights around the field, ewes that had been sat down relaxing would get up and run a short distance and then turn around and look at where the lights were coming from.

“Everything seems alright at the moment so we’ll go back inside and have another cuppa”, said David.
     Even though I was bundled up with lots of clothes and two pairs of socks, I was always happy to get back in the caravan and sit as close to the pot-bellied stove as I could, without setting miself on fire.
     As we sat drinking our tea, David told me some stories about being a shepherd on the Falkland Islands and I, in turn, entertained him with my adventures in the Outback. He especially like the story of me, chasing a strip-tease girl all around Australia, on the Show Grounds.
“You certainly have lived an interesting and full life in such a short time. I think it’s wonderful.”
“Hey David, If you knew, years ago, that you were going to die of cancer and it was possible to change your life, would you have changed it?”
     David thought about my question for a short time and then said,
“I’ve asked myself that question Yorky. The only thing I would have changed was getting married and having children.  Had I not got married I would not have had children and my lovely wife would have married some other bloke and not have had to go through this nightmare with  me.”
“Yeah, true enough but she may have married some bloke who turned into a mongrel cunt down the road.”, I said to him.
     David started to laugh then and said,
“A mongrel cunt eh! Where do you dig up these phrases from Yorky?  I’ve heard quite a lot of sayings in my life but that’s a new one for me.”
“It’s actually a ‘mongrel bred cunt’. It’s a term that’s used in the Outback quite a bit. For example, ‘The mongrel bred cunt tried to root mi sheila when I flaked out from drinking too much grog.’ I’ve got a lot more like that one David. I can teach ya a few of ‘em if ya like.”
“Let me think about that for a while Yorky. I don’t want to be laid on mi death-bed thinking about some ‘mongrel-bred cunt trying to root mi wife, when I’m dead.”
“Right. That wouldn’t be too fucking pleasant would it.”
“Yorky, I’m a bit tired so I’m going to lay down and close mi eyes for an hour. If I go to sleep would you give me a shout? Then we’ll go and check on that ewe. She can’t last much longer.”
     David laid down on his bed and before long, peaceful snores were coming out of him. I rolled a couple of smokes as I sat by the stove, then lit one of them up. As I watched him closely, he never stirred. At one point, he stopped snoring for a while. My first thought was, ‘Jeezus, I hope he doesn’t fuckin’ die on me!’  I’d seen dead people before but I didn’t fancy sleeping in a caravan, all night, with a dead man.
     After an hour or so had gone by, I gave David a shake and said,
“An hour’s gone by mate. Ya said to give ya a call.”
     As he came back to the land of the living he said,
“Thanks Yorky.”
“Did ya get a bit of rest mate?”
“I did thanks. I dreamed I was in this beautiful, warm, peaceful place where everyone was happy.”
“That’s lovely David but the reality is you’re in an old caravan with a miserable bastard like me and now we’ve got to go outside in the freezing cold snow and check on that scungy fuckin’ ewe who should have had a lamb by now.”
“What would I do without your colorful language?”, said David, as he pulled on his wellies.
     Back outside, walking across the field, in the snow that was still falling, David pointed out with his flashlight, more ewes that were on the point of dropping lambs. When we got to the ewe that he’d been keeping an eye on, she was still down on the ground but now she had a new-born lamb sucking on her.
“She’s still got another lamb inside. It must be breached!”, said David
“What d’ya mean?”
“They’re supposed to come out head first. It’s probably backwards.”
“So, how are ya gonna’ fix that?”
“I’ll have to turn it around. Yorky, there’s a plastic bucket by the caravan, can you get it for me and take it to that building over there and fill it with fairly hot water?”
     While I was getting the hot water, David had gone to the caravan himself. When he got back he said,
“I forgot to tell you to get the salve.”
“So what now mate?”
“Once I’ve washed mi arm and rubbed salve on it, I’m going to have to go inside of her and turn the lamb the right way.”
     Once he was ready he said to me,
“Just hold her head down so she can’t move around Yorky.”
     Then he pushed his whole arm up inside her and felt around for a bit.
“Fuckin’ hell David, doesn’t that hurt her?”
“I’m sure it does but there’s no other way. If I don’t turn the lamb, she’ll die along with the lamb.”

     It took quite a while for David to do whatever he was doing inside the ewe. The ewe was trying to push out the lamb with Davids’ arm up inside of her as he said,
“Steady on old girl, nearly there.”

     Each time the ewe pushed, he pulled a bit and before too long he pulled out a new-born lamb. He wiped the lamb down with a bag and squeezed all the crap out of its’ nose. Then he put that lamb next to the other lamb, on the second tit.
“Hold her down for a minute or so Yorky till the lamb’s got some of that colostrum in it. Then we’ll let her up and see what happens. Once she was up on all fours, she turned around and sniffed both lambs and then walked away a couple of feet.
“Grab both those lambs by the back legs and drag ‘em on the ground slowly, towards the pens.”
     As I dragged the lambs on the ground, the ewe started to bleat and followed her lambs. When we got to the pens David opened the gate and said,
“Put ‘em in the far corner Yorky. Now, come out of there and stand well back.”
     Soon as I was out of the way, the old ewe walked into the pen and David shut the gate.
“Now what mate?”
“We watch her and make sure she lets them suck. If she does, that means she claimed ‘em as her own and that’s great. We’ll number the lambs in the morning so they can’t get mixed up.”
     Back in the warm caravan, David said,
“Well Yorky, that’s our first success. Let’s hope it stays like that.”
“Yeah, rather you doing that, than me.”
“Oh no Yorky, that’s not how it works. The next problem’s yours!”

     Even though I only spent a month lambing with David, we were at it 24 hours a day so the time seemed to drag on for ages. On one occasion, on my shift, an old ewe was in trouble and couldn’t drop the lambs on her own. I was forced to wake David up from his sleep. The old girl seemed like she was in a lot of pain. I put my arm up inside of her as David had taught me but there were heads and legs everywhere.
“Sorry about disturbing ya rest David, one of the ewes is having problems and I’m not experienced enough to sort it out.”
“I’ll be right there Yorky. Give me a minute to get my bearings.”

     As we walked across the field I said,
“I didn’t want to disturb ya  mate ’cause I knew you were tired.”
“That’s alright Yorky. I’m glad you did. It’s better than losing a ewe.”
     Once we got to where the ewe was laid down, heaving away, David took one look and said,
“You did the right thing Yorky and none too soon.”
     He removed his coat, rolled up his shirt sleeve and said,
“Pass me the salve.”
     Once the salve was applied to his arm, he said to the ewe,
“Alright old girl, let’s have a look what you’ve got going on in there.”
     While Davids’ arm was still inside of her he said,
“Well Yorky, this is going to take sometime. As far as I can tell, this old girl has four lambs inside of her.”
“Bloody hell mate! That’s a litter. She’s supposed to be a sheep not a fucking cat!”
“This is what I don’t like about this high-intensity breeding. It’s not right. Hold her head down more so she can’t move.”
     After a while, I asked David how he was doing.
“Slowly Yorky. I’ve got one of the lambs facing forward and the front leg’s under its’ nose. I’m going to pull it out now.”
     Once the lamb was out of the womb, it didn’t look like it was in too good a shape. It was less than half the size of a regular newborn. It just lay there, not moving.
“Is it dead David?”
“Not far off Yorky. Let’s get another one out.”
     At the end of the process, David had pulled out four lambs.
“These three may make it Yorky but that one won’t.”
     Once we had the ewe in a holding pen, the ewe let two of the lambs suck and the third one she kept knocking it away.
“What’s the Jonny Dorry now David?”
“She won’t let that one suck. I think we’ll have to adopt it out to that ewe in that pen. She’s got a good-sized milk bag on her. Grab the lamb Yorky and I’ll get that old girls afterbirth.”
     Once we were out of the ewes’ sight, David picked up the mothers’ afterbirth and rubbed it all over the foster lamb.
“This is how you do it. You’ve got to make sure to get the afterbirth all over the lamb, especially back here under the tail. The more afterbirth you can rub into the lamb, the more chance we have of fooling her.”
     When David was satisfied that the lamb was covered, he walked into the pen and put the foster lamb near the new mothers teets. As soon as the lamb tried to drink, the ewe pushed the lamb away. David held her tight in the corner, head first, so she couldn’t knock the lamb off the teet. It took about 30 minutes of repeatedly doing this. Eventually the ewe let the lamb drink without having to be jammed up in the corner.
“Ya think she’ll accept the lamb now?”
“It looks that way but we’d better keep an eye on her for the next 24 hours.”

      On one occasion, David was cutting some binding twine off of a bale of hay when he said,
“I’ll have to sharpen mi penknife tonight Yorky. It’s gone dull on me.”
“It looks like its an old knife, ya must have had it a while have ya?”
“I have Yorky. I’ve had it for 10 years. I’ve sharpened it so many time the blade’s just about to give up the ghost. It’s a bit like me, it’s worn out. I don’t want to buy another one ’cause I won’t be around long enough to get good use of it.”

      That evening, as we sat in the warm caravan eating a feed of mutton chops and eggs that David had cooked up, I said to him,
“Here David, I’ve got a present for ya.”
     I handed him a brand new pocketknife with a stag-horn handle. When he took it from my hand, he opened both blades and checked them out.
“This is a very expensive pocketknife Yorky. I can’t accept this. It must have cost a small fortune?”
“It did but you’d better fuckin’ accept it or I’ll be really fucking’ offended.”
“I don’t know what to say Yorky. I could only ever dream of owning a knife like this.”
“Ya don’t have to say anything David. I really want you to have it and I won’t take no for an answer.”
“Then I accept it Yorky.”
     He got up from sitting on the side of his bed and put out his hand to me. I shook his big, rough hand and he said,
“Thank you. I’ll treasure it.”
“Yeah, alright but don’t forget to use it. It’s not a wall-hanger!”


     Time was drifting along slowly. Bill Kinghorn had paid us three visits. Each time he came, he brought enough supplies for another week. On the third occasion he said to me,
“Let’s go into the Village and have a couple of pints Yorky. I’m stressed out to the fucking max with this lambing caper at the farm I’m working at.”
“No worries mate. I’ll just see if David needs me for a couple of hours. 

“Ya mind if I go with Billy for a beer?”
“Go ahead Yorky, everything is under control here. Enjoy ya self.”
“Good on ya David.”
     While I was changing mi clothes, Billy had a chat with David about how the lambing was going. Once I had some clean gear on, I got in the Ute and we headed to the village pub.
“So how’s it going with the lambing Yorky?”
“No worries Billy, David has everything under control. He’s a fuckin’ expert at his trade.”
“Yeah, he certainly knows what he’s doing.”
“I’ve learned a lot from him over the past three weeks. It’s not this complicated in the Outback mate. Our Merinos don’t have fucking litters like these sheep do.”
“Don’t ya breed mainly for wool out there?”
“We do but a lot of Cockies will put a Border-Lester Ram over a Merino for fat lambs.”
“You’ve got a lot bigger numbers over there don’t ya?”
“Yeah mate, especially up in Queensland. I was shearing at this Station called Thalongra once. We were there for fucking weeks. In fact we were there for so long some of those Merino ewes started to look attractive!”
“Ya kidding me Yorky, right?”
“Yeah Billy, I like a bit of a joke. I was in this Hotel having a few middies one time when a ‘Towny’ said to me, “You shearers don’t really fuck sheep do ya?” “Nah mate, it’s too hard to pull their head around to kiss ‘em!”
     Billy hadn’t heard the joke before. He almost choked on his pint laughing.

“Did David mention his cancer to ya?”
“Yeah, but not much.”

     I didn’t want to tell Bill everything that David told me as I felt I would be breaking his trust in me.
“David said you’ve got about a week left. I told him to give me a call from the farmers’ place when ya finished. We’ll tow the caravan back to Wargret Manor then. We’ll need it at shearing time.”
     Billy downed his pint and said,
“Drink up Yorky, I’ve got to git back to my place. I left mi girlfriend in charge.”
“Does she know what she’s doing?”
“No, that’s why I’ve got to get a move on.”
“So, did ya get a bit of rootin’ in while she was camped out with ya?”
“Well, actually no mate. She’d never seen lambs born before and the first time she saw me stick mi arm inside a ewe she said,
“That’s it, ya won’t be doing that to me! She wouldn’t let me get anywhere near her after that. I don’t think I’ll take her lambing again. It’s not good for my sex life!”


     It was the last few days of lambing. Over the past month, I had watched Davids’ health go downhill. His cheeks became more hollow and his eyes had sunken into their sockets. He was also dragging his arse around the field at a much slower pace. Each time I asked him about his health, he would say,
“Under the circumstances Yorky, I’m as well as can be expected.”

     One afternoon, when we were both in the field, we encountered a situation where a healthy lamb needed to be fostered out onto another ewe.
“Rub the afterbirth all over it like we did before Yorky.  Once it was covered we put it up to the foster mothers tit. The lamb was anxious to drink but each time we let the foster mother go, she knocked the lamb away. After a dozen more times of trying, the foster mother kept on rejecting the lamb.

“All right Yorky, this old bitch is not going to accept it. We’ll have to try something else.”
     Now this ewe had given birth to three lambs. Two were quite healthy and one was stillborn. David said to me,
“Yorky, do you know how to skin a lamb?”
“I sure do David. I’ve butchered a lot of sheep in the Outback.”
“Alright, skin that dead lamb of hers and we’ll tie it onto this one. That should do the trick. Skin the legs down to the hooves so we’ve got plenty of skin left to tie it to this one.”
“Ya mean like a jacket?”
“Yeah, that’s the idea.”
     Once I’d skinned the dead lamb, I gave the skin to David who expertly tied it to the orphaned lamb.
“Trap the old bitch in the corner of the pen Yorky while I put the lamb on her tit.”
     The lamb punched the ewes’ milk bag with its’ nose and started to drink. It’s tail was wagging and shaking like crazy as it sucked on the warm milk.
“Alright Yorky, let her go. Let’s see what she does.”
     The ewe turned her head and smelled the foster lamb all over. Then she decided it was not her lamb so she butted the lamb away so it couldn’t drink.
“You miserable old bitch!”, said David, who was now becoming more frustrated each time the ewe knocked the lamb away.
     After a few more times of doing his best to make the ewe accept the lamb, he picked up his Shepherds’ Crook and whacked the ewe on the nose to stop her knocking the lamb off of the tit. Each time the ewe knocked the lamb away, David belted the ewe with the Crook. The ewe was determined she was not going to let the lamb suck. David was determined she was.
     All of a sudden, David, who was a very mild-mannered man, lost it completely!
“You bitch!”, he said and belted her on the nose.
     She shook her head and sniffled.
“You fuckin’ bitch!”, said David and belted her again.
     The ewe shook her head and knocked the lamb away again.
“You fuckin’ rotten, bitch. You fucking well will take this lamb or I will beat you to death, you fuckin’ whore!”
     David was completely out of control now as he mercilessly beat the ewe around the head with his crook. Each time he walloped the ewe, he swore,
“You fuckin’ (WHACK!) stubborn (WHACK!) bitch (WHACK!) You (WHACK!) will (WHACK!) take this lamb (WHACK!) or (WHACK!) you’re (WHACK!) fuckin’ (WHACK!) dead! (WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!”
     The ewe was now wobbling on its’ feet as David said to me,
“Try it again Yorky.”
     I put the lamb close to the ewes’ tits. The lamb started to drink. David was out of breath and had to steady himself by holding onto the gate. The ewes’ head was now swollen black and blue from the violent beating. She turned her head towards the lamb, sniffed its’ arse and then turned her head forwards again. The lamb continued to drink and wag its’ tail. The ewe turned her head to look at the lamb again and then looked at David who was stood close by. She then turned her head towards the front.
“That’ll teach you, you fuckin’ thing!”, said David as he stood there staring at her.
     While all of this was going on, I stood well out of the way in case I caught a stray blow from Davids’ crook.
“I think you got through to her David. She’s letting it suck.”
“I think so Yorky.”, said David between gasps of breath.
“Give me a minute and we’ll go have a cup of tea.”

     Back in the caravan, I made David a cup of strong black tea.
“How ya feeling mate?”, I asked as I handed him the tea.
“Not too good Yorky. I must apologize for that shameful display of violence. I can’t take much more of this. Would you roll me one of those cigarettes?”
“Sure David, but you don’t smoke.”
“I know, but I need something to calm mi nerves. The tea’s not doing it.”

     I rolled another smoke, lit it up and handed it to him. I watched him take 4 or 5 puffs on the rolly without inhaling it. He handed the smoke back to me and said,
“Thank you.”
“Did ya like it mate?”
“No, it tastes like shit. I don’t know how you can smoke so many Yorky. If I had to smoke it would kill me!”
     I had to suppress a laugh at Davis’ comment. He looked up at me and said,
“Well, go on, You’re allowed to laugh. I just cracked a joke!”
     That was it. I couldn’t hold it back any longer. I started laughing my head off. Even David had a chuckle to himself. Once I could contain miself, I said,
“Well mate, ya finally got that scungy old bitch to take the lamb.”
“Yes I did Yorky but the lesson is, Do as I say and not as I do!”

     One afternoon, Bill and miself had finished shearing early. He said to me,
“Ya wanna’ go visit David on the way home? I owe him a lot of money and one of the farmers just paid me. His wife has been ringing me up looking for his money. They’re pretty broke.”
“Did she say how his health is?”
“Yeah, he’s on his death bed, poor bastard. They don’t expect him to last the night out. She needs the money for his the funeral and stuff.”

     When we got to Davids’ cottage, Bill apologized for not getting Davids’ money to her sooner. After he explained the situation to her, she understood.
“Is it alright to see David?”, I asked.
“Yes Yorky. He told me a lot of funny tales about you. I’m sure he would love to see you before he goes but don’t stay too long as he’s very weak.”
     Inside Davids’ bedroom, it was very dark as all the curtains were closed. David was laid on his back in bed with the covers pulled up under his chin.
“David, how are ya mate? It’s Yorky.”
     In a very feeble voice he said,
“Yorky, how are you?”
“I’m good mate but you don’t look too good.”
“I’m not going to last the night out Yorky. I’ll be gone by the morning.”
“Nah mate, you’ll be alright.”, I said and cracked a short joke to try and cheer him up. In reality, I was trying to cheer miself up. I had to swallow a big lump in mi throat and fight back the tears.
“I can’t laugh at ya jokes anymore Yorky. I’m not in the mood and I’m too weak.”
“I’m sorry about that David, it wasn’t very thoughtful of me.
“That’s alright Yorky, don’t apologize. There’s a knife in that drawer over there. Would you get it for me?”
“Sure David, no problem.”
     I opened the drawer and took out the knife I had given him as a present.
“This one mate?”
“Yeah, that’s it Yorky.”
     Before I handed him the knife I said,
“You’re not going to do anything silly with it are you?”
“No Yorky, I want to give it back to you with as much love as you gave it to me. I won’t be needing it where I’m going.”
“Thank you David. I’m sorry things have turned out this way for you mate.”
“Don’t be Yorky. I don’t need anybody feeling sorry for me. My time is up. We’ve all got to go when our time’s up. Can you come a bit closer.?”
“Yeah, sure.”
“You’re a wonderful man Yorky. you brought me a lot of love and laughter in mi last days. I want to say, thank you.”
“You’re a great man yourself David. I learned a lot from you. Not just about lambing either. I won’t ever forget you David.”
“Please go now Yorky, I’ve got to prepare myself for the journey.”
“Alright. Goodbye David.”


This is an introduction to the Mercurial World of Guru Om. He will fascinate your mind and bring you to understandings that you may have never even imagined.


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