When people get asked about their dream job it is doubtful that being a farmer would top the list of hopeful candidates. But running my own farm has always been the dream profession that sits lurking away in the dark recesses of my ill-informed brain. My friends would find this idea hilarious considering my complete ineptitude at fixing things. I myself find it hilarious; I could just imagine the scene – me, calling up some local handyman to come out and fix a blocked drain in the sheep dip.
In fact, just the other day I had a professional handyman come around to look at the wooden screen doors that lead onto our terrace. They are more or less rooted and need to be replaced, but the landlord keeps patching them up in the hopes that he won’t have to invest in some aluminum doors. The handyman was a little old Greek chap who has lived in Australia for over fifty years. We got on very well, even though he turned down my offer of a cup of my delicious coffee.
As he was leaving I pointed out to him the lock on the front gate. It was stuck inside itself and I assumed it needed repairing. He leaned down, had a brief look, and then with the most gentle of actions he touched the small button that released the lock back into its starting position.
I imagine that he’ll speak about that little episode for quite some time.
So the idea of me operating a farm is somewhat ridiculous. If I did possess the skills then I’d like to breed some sort of meat, something like pork or lamb, and I’d aim to make it the best in the area. Something like ex-Formula 1 racer Jody Scheckter does, although not on that scale and without all the wanky references to it being organic. Whenever I see the word organic on a label I now desist in its purchase, simply because I know that in general I am being conned.
If I was going to live the life of a farmer then I have a good selection of suitable attire all ready to go. I have a couple of pairs of very old corduroy trousers by Carhartt that would make excellent farming trousers. The white shirt that I wore to my wedding is still in excellent condition but it is a bit stained around the collar. It too would be a marvelous addition to my future farming wardrobe. There are a few other old pieces of clothing as well that would be quite suitable; pullovers, cardigans, pants, even an old jacket or two. I would be the best dressed farmer in my corner of the paddocks.
Bill Martin was reminiscing over at Quadrant at how people these days don’t hold onto old pieces of clothing. Apparently clothing charities are so swamped that the majority of donated items get turned into rags. His piece reminded me of a scene from one of the Travis McGee books by John D. MacDonald, The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper, which I consider to be one of his best works.
Travis has broken into a house to learn as much as he can of the occupants. He is in the process of searching through the closet of an individual who will turn out to be a complete sociopath:
Taste, cost, and quality. Impersonal, remote, correct, and somehow sterile. Apparently no sentiment about an ancient sweater, crumpled old moccasins, baggy elderly slacks, or a gummy old bathrobe. When anything showed enough evident signs of wear, it was eliminated.
Including people, as it turned out.
As we are moving house I will soon have yet another opportunity to purge my closest of a multitude of items that I just do not wear anymore. But they have survived countless moves, and I am sure that they will also emerge intact from this one. For each of these pieces of clothing holds memories for me. They come from periods in my life that I have outgrown but the clothes remain to remind me of where I once was and how far I have come. They serve as useful lessons that strike me on occasion as I am reaching in my closet for a pair of socks.
I know when I pack them that I will hold some of them for a brief moment as I consider all the stories locked up in a few feet of cloth and yarn. There will come a day when they will be discarded, but not by me. It will be by someone who will have the unenviable task of sorting through my things when I am gone.
In the meantime they can sit there waiting, on the very off chance that I do one day learn how to fix a blocked drain or a gate lock, on my little farm of animals.