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quokka

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  1. quokka

    Lon Chapter 6

    There em gold in there hills...
  2. quokka

    DSS Chapter 12

    Does’t anyone who read this story, want to write a review? I would be interested in receiving some feed back on this second story of my sci fi story.
  3. quokka

    Lon Chapter 6

    Chapter 6 “Geez, give me a heart attack, why don’t you,” Danny said when he finally saw me standing in the room, looking around. “Sorry, I did knock but received no response, so I walked inside,” I said to him, “That’s ok mate, I just have to get used to having more than just me around, that’s all” Danny replied smiling, as he finished serving up three plates of cold meat and salad. Lance walked in a few minutes later, and dropped down into a chair, while I followed suit, as Danny made up some tea for all of us. “So, what have you been doing all morning, while I have been out exploring?” I asked Lance, who wasn’t looking too happy. “Bloody office work. Not one of my favourite pass times, but Uncle Vince has been getting me to spend time with him in the office over the past 6 months, so I should be used to it by now eh” Lance replied. “I had a good look around those hills, there are some really nice views from out that way” I commented, “Yeah, well maybe after lunch, while Danny is doing a water run, we can take one of the station utes out that way for a bit of a look around,” Danny suggested, which I agreed to. After lunch, I helped out with cleaning up the kitchen, before Danny headed over to the sheds to get his ute loaded up, and setting off on a water run, to check the water bores, troughs and tanks, and in some cases, windmills, to make sure that the stock, is getting a plentiful supply of water. “I have been making arrangements to have some extra staff come to the station, namely another station hand, plus a backpacker jillaroo” Lance announced, “Oh wow, do you have enough work for both of them?” I asked. “Yea, there is lots to do, after seeing the list of daily, weekly and monthly jobs that need doing here. By the way, although he looks younger, Danny is actually 26 years old, and this new guy, Andrew Parsons is only 19, while the Canadian backpacker, Linda Cameron is 24. They are catching the road coach up from Perth, leaving at 9 pm tomorrow night, and they will arrive at 3.30 am the next morning” Lance said to me. “Ok, so what happens about accommodating them?” I asked, “Well first I need to know if you intend to stay in your trailer during your stay, or here in the homestead,” Lance asked. “In the trailer, I would prefer to stay close to Bonnie, especially in this rough climate and terrain” I answered, “That’s what I thought you would say and since there is a cook’s bedrooms are in the station kitchen wing of the homestead, Linda can live there, while Andrew can be in the old homestead, where Danny lives. Can I get you to help Danny to get the two bedrooms ready for the two new arrivals please” Lance replied? “Yes, not a problem, now that we are alone, I have something to show you, that I found by chance, up in the hills, as long as you agree that we share it 50/50” I announced to my friend, “Now that has me wondering, what the hell you actually found up there, where it is hot, rocky, and miles away from the homestead… Ok, whatever it is we go 50/50, as long as it isn’t a dead snake” Lance said. A few minutes later, we walked inside my trailer, and I opened up the small safe that is hidden away in a cupboard, near the master be and pulled out the cotton bag, that I had placed the rock in, after giving it a bit of a clean, placing it on the dining table, and I sat down in my usual seat. Once Lance had sat down, he stared at the bag for some time, before looking up at me, and I indicated to him to look inside. When he did, his eyes went very wide with surprise and he looked at me, wondering if this was some sort of joke. “Take it out, it won’t bite you” I stated, and at first, he hesitated, then carefully pulled out the rock, and placed it on top of the bag, before resuming staring at it. “This is real?” Lance asked me, after a very long period of silence, and I smiled and nodded my head in the affirmative, “Wow, and it is so big and heavy… what do you think it is worth?’ Lance said. “I weighed it just before lunchtime, and it is 269 grams in total weight, but there is a lot of quartz in it, and I don’t have internet coverage to be able to check how much that is worth” I replied. “My office has satellite internet coverage, on the office desktop computer, and Uncle Vince happened to add an Internet Router to my luggage so we can get Wi-Fi too, I just have to set that up” Lance replied, and I put the rock of gold back into the bag and locked it back up in my safe, before we walked back to the homestead. Lance gave me a full tour of the homestead, before stopping at the office, which is just off the front verandah, and it was already on, so, within a few moments, we had a gold value calculator up on the screen, and we adjusted the settings to Australian Dollars, before entering 269 into the Grams column, and in the Total Gold Value box, it read $15,704. “Holy shit, we are rich, like $7,852 each rich” Lance said in surprise and shock. “Yea, we would be if it was solid gold, which it isn’t, so it could be a lot less than that,” I responded. “Really” Lance replied, in surprise with a higher than usual tone, and I just laughed. “If it is ok with you, I would like to get a Miners Right License so we can do some more exploring, and I want to ask if I can stay and help out on the station for a while,” I said to Lance. “Sure mate, but what about your university studies?” Lance replied. “I can easily do it via correspondence since I have already completed three and a half years of the five-year course” I responded. “Great welcome onboard, now do you want to stay in the trailer, or would you like to take up residence in the homestead cottage?” Lance asked me. I thought about this for a while, as it is nearly 200 metres from the homestead to the stables, and I didn’t want to be too far away from Bonnie. “How about, when the extra staff arrive and have settled in, that we build a large shelter and exercise yard, just behind the cottage, so you are close to the homestead and your horse” Lance added as a suggestion. “Yes, I will agree to that, show me where you are thinking about putting it,” I replied, and we headed outside, and around the corner, to where the one-bedroom cottage stands in the back corner of the homestead yard. Using the fence line of the homestead paddock, which is post and rail, we would use that as one side of the horse yard, and from the homestead yard corner, a new fence would be built ten metres out, and along the side of the access road, and back to the homestead fence, near the storage shed. Where the yard is close to the cottage, we would build a large semi-open shelter, that will be 3 metres high, go the full width of the yard, and be 6 metres wide, with some of the shelter, sitting nicely underneath a big shady tree. The back section of the shelter will have two stable pens and a small tack room, and there will be water and feed troughs in both pens, and two outside in the main yard. Back in the office, we drew up a plan of the layout of the new yard and shelter, which covers an area of 400-metres square, plenty of space for Bonnie to get regular exercise. Lance informed me that there is plenty of building material around to build the fence and the shelter, with a stack of corrugated iron laying around, that can be used for the roof of the shelter. Over the next two hours, Lance and I looked over the station topographical map, showing where all the water points are located, as well as the orchard and packing shed, which is 5 kilometres north of the homestead. I also went online and filled in the application for gaining a Miners Right License, and sent an email home to Mum, to let her know of the change of plans, and I gave her the postal address and phone number for the station. Another thing we discussed was the airstrip, which we knew is 780 metres long, from the information in the folder that Vince had given Lance, and we decided to go out and check it, as it was close to the homestead, and runs sixty metres from and alongside the main highway. Arriving at the north end of the airstrip, the highway was not visible, even when it was so close, hidden only by the high shrubs. The runway appeared to be in reasonably good condition, even if it hadn’t been used much. At the south end of the airfield, we followed a track that is fairly straight in line with the airstrip, for another 300 metres before it bends slightly. “According to the odometer, it is 320 metres from the end of the airstrip to this point,” Lance said after stopping just before the bend in the track. “What are you thinking?” I asked, “I’m thinking that once we have the horse yard and shelter built, that we get that old truck and grader going, cart some gravel down here, and make the airstrip a little bit longer, but while we are waiting for the extra staff to arrive, we can start by clearing the shrubs on both sides by an extra 5 metres, and clearing the shrubs to make room for the extension” Lance announced. “Sounds good to me, and do we have any old tyres that we can paint white, to make as markers for the sides and ends of the airfield?” I responded, “Yea, good thinking, I will have to ask Danny about that one,” Lance said. When Danny arrived back, announcing no problems with the water points that he had checked, Lance announced that work was over for the day, and after grabbing some cool drinks, we sat down on the homestead verandah to relax, and Lance informed Danny of the new staff arriving in just over a days’ time. Danny cooked up a wonderful BBQ dinner for us, which we really enjoyed, and as we ate, he informed us, that the supply truck which left yesterday, would be passing through at about 2 pm tomorrow afternoon, as the driver usually stops at Payne’s Find for lunch, then stops at Oudabunna Station, 30 kilometres south of us, before coming here. Danny said that after dropping off supplies here for us and neighbouring Nalbarra Station, which is 48 kilometres north-west of us by road, and Kirkalocka Station, 38 kilometres north of us, he backtracks 6 kilometres, to the Narndee West Road, so as to go to Narndee, Boodanoo and Meeline Stations, and once back on the highway, he heads north again to Mount Magnet. “Sounds like we are in the middle of a group of stations” I commented, and Danny nodded his head in agreement, “Yes, I have spoken to the owners or station managers of our three closest neighbours, they seem to be very nice people” Danny commented. “Oh, oh, I can see Harrison was a brilliant idea,” Lance said, when he saw the expression on my face, as I was thinking, how great it would be to have a small station rodeo here, just for the neighbouring stations. When I looked t Lance in a bit of surprise, he just laughed. “Mate you did it all the time at school, every time you came up with a great idea, you had that same goofy expression and smile on your face,” Lance said to me. “What? Oh, do I really?” I responded, feeling like a kangaroo caught in the spot-lights, ready to be shot, “Yeah well, I guess I was thinking of how great it would be to have our own small community rodeo, maybe here on this station, just for the station owners and staff of the neighbouring stations,” I added. “Yeah not a bad idea, but lets concentrate on getting settled in here first, we have too much work to do at the moment, to worry about any extra work, with a project like that, plus we will need to build a large arena and yards to have something like that happening” Lance said to me. After dinner, while helping to clean up the kitchen, the telephone rang, and since I was closest to it, Lance indicated for me to answer it. “Good evening, Wydgee Station, Harrison speaking,” I said after picking up the receiver. “G’ day Harrison, this is Vince speaking, is Lance about?” came the owner's voice, “Sure Vince, we have just finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner>” I replied, “How are you settling in, to you like it there?” Vince asked me. “Yes, very remote, but yes, I took Bonnie my horse for a ride before lunch and the surrounding area is quite spectacular, especially when you see it from the top of the small ranges,” I replied, before handing the phone over to Lance, before I said goodnight to Lance and Danny, and I headed over to the stables to check on Bonnie.
  4. quokka

    Lon Chapter 5

    Nope, guess again
  5. quokka

    Lon Chapter 5

    Chapter 5 “About a four-hour drive, 330 kilometres East of here by road, via Wubin, 145 kilometres due east as the crow flies,” Lance replied. “Holy cow, when did all this happen?” I responded. “Apparently, Uncle has been negotiating a deal on the purchase for a month or so, and that the settlement took place on Friday just gone. He says it is 420,000 acres in area, with just a 350-metre driveway off the main highway. The station has a three-bedroom homestead, shearing shed and yards, machinery shed, orchard packing shed, 6-bedroom workers quarters, with a separate recreation, kitchen and dining shed, and ablutions shed, an original homestead, and an airfield. Uncle Vince is bringing all the information that we need, as well as all of my belongings so we will know a lot more before long” Lance said to me. “Sounds like that this is going to be a longer stay than just two days, I better give the university a call, to let them know that I will be away for a week” I commented, as I pulled out my phone to make the call. I ended the call all smiles, with permission given for me to be absent for just this week, and not seeing Lance around, I went for a walk around town for a little while, and about ten minutes later my phone buzzed with a message from Lance. “Hey mate, where are you, Uncle Vince is coming into town” and I sent a quick reply to say that I was on my way back to the roadhouse. Just as I was approaching the roadhouse, a blue Holden Colorado arrived and pulled up behind my vehicle and trailer. Expecting a much older guy, I was surprised that the man approaching us was in his mid to late ’30s, and he stopped and shook Lance’s hand. “Uncle Vince, this is an old school mate of mine, Harrison Alpike, who was competing yesterday, and won two events with his stock horse – Bonnie, he is also a trained Farrier and studying to be a doctor of Veterinary medicine,” Lance said, and I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, I have a week off from studies, so I have agreed to come with Lance on this new adventure of his” I commented. “Well, it is good to know that he has someone with him, as it can get lonely out there. The place is empty, apart from one station worker, whose name is Davey Kent, so I am sending Lance out there to manage the place, and to keep things going. At the moment, it has about 5,000 head of sheep on the property, Davey knows everything, and will help you out, he has been on the station for only about 4 months, but he is a fast learner, and apart from meeting him twice when I went out to the station, I have been keeping in daily contact with him, since the previous owners and the other three workers left the station, over two weeks ago. Lance, you will be taking this vehicle, as yours is not suitable for the station tracks out there, but getting to the station homestead is not a problem” Vince said. “As Lance has said, I have just competed in the rodeo, so I have my horse, and equipment with me, and I would prefer to have them with me instead of sending them home” I answered, “Very well then, right, load up your trailer, onto the Colorado, which has a large ice box and two car fridges with supplies for the next few days, till the supply and mail truck arrives. It does fortnightly mail and supply runs to the station, coming in from the direction of Wubin, and the fuel truck comes in when required to refill the fuel tanks, for the station vehicles, and the power generator, which until recently was the main power supply. I have had a large set of solar panels and batteries installed, which now supply all of the power to the station buildings, I suggest that you drive as far as Wubin today, and the rest of the way tomorrow morning, the whole journey is on highway 94 from Wubin onwards, so it should be easy travelling. The vehicle has a UHF radio and Satellite Phone, for emergencies, and Davey is expecting you no later than noon tomorrow,” Vince said. Once we had transferred all of Lance’s belongings into the Colorado ute and hitched up his trailer, Vince waved goodbye, as he let us know that he will call us at the homestead tomorrow at 11 am, to make sure we arrived ok. “I will miss that old ute, it’s my very first vehicle, I hope Uncle Vince looks after it” Lance commented, as he headed back the way he came. After grabbing a snack and some drinks, we set off South towards Wubin and our long drive to the station. When we did arrive in Wubin, we stopped for a late lunch, and after loading up the spare space in the back of the trailer, and the back of Lances Colorado, with extra hay and bags of horse feed, we decided to push on. After lunch, I pulled Bonnie out of the trailer and lead her around for a walk for a good half an hour, before reloading her again, before we travelled for another 1 ½ hours, till we arrived at Ninghan Station, which is just 6 kilometres off the highway, and where they have station stay accommodation. Lance had thought of the brilliant idea of calling the station and arranging for us to stay there, which is 55 kilometres before Payne’s Find. The owners were very welcoming and happy to assist with getting Bonnie settled in for our overnight stay. With it being just 105 kilometres to the station, we would have a nice and comfortable drive to the station in the morning. After a very restful night, we were up just after dawn, and after breakfast, I gave Bonnie some feed, and water, before letting her get some exercise in a large yard, and while she was doing that, Lance I talked with the owners, to learn more about the station, and what the weather conditions are like for this region. “So, you are not heading towards another rodeo further north?” the owner’s wife asked us, and I chuckled at this comment, “No Ma’am, I was just volunteering for the Mullewa Rodeo, and my good friend Harry here, competed in it and won two events, and my uncle now owns Wydgee Station, and we are heading up there to manage it, for a while” Lance replied. “Well he is, I am just tagging along for a week before I have to head back to university in the city” I added. “I see, well it is a nice station, we had visited it often about ten years back, as we were good friends with the owners at the time until Mary passed away from Cancer. Good luck with your new adventure, I hope it all goes well for you, young Lance” the owner said Once we had packed up and loaded up Bonnie, we set off again, stopping briefly to refuel at Payne’s Find, and less than 1 ½ hours later we turned off the highway, with buildings clearly visible behind the tall shrubs, and we pulled up just outside the machinery shed, which is just passed the main homestead. A young man, who didn’t look any older than Lance and I stepped out of the shed and smiled as he walked towards us, and Lance went to meet him, while I checked on Bonnie, who was starting to get a bit restless, so I decided to let her out of the trailer, and walk her around for a bit. “Danny, this is my good mate Harrison Alpike, and his horse Bonnie, who just won two events at the Mullewa Rodeo, this past weekend,” Lance said making the introductions, and I shook his hand. “There are small stables, to one side of the sheep yards, with an adjoining rectangular yard, for plenty of exercises, just follow me and I will show you the way,” Danny said, and we walked the 150 metres to the stables. While I was settling Bonnie in, making sure that her pen was suitable and safe, and bringing the trailer close by, so I could offload the hay, oats & lucerne feed and water bucket, Danny and Lance had wandered off somewhere, and so I just stood on the side of the yards and watched Bonnie as she wandered around the shaded yard, and bucked a few times. Once I was happy that Bonnie was settled, I backed the trailer around so it was close to some trees, close to the stables, and I opened up the awning, and set up the camping chairs, before sitting down and relaxing, as I looked around the area. Although it is the middle of winter in the Southern half of the state, it was getting quite warm, as the day went on, and I wondered if it was a mistake bringing Bonnie out this far, especially when it is so remote, and still reasonably early in the morning. After sitting around for nearly half an hour, and with no sign of Lance, I headed to storage locker of the trailer and retrieved the tack gear and saddle, and soon had Bonnie saddled up. Once that was done, I retrieved a collapsible water dish, and six one-litre bottles of water from my fridge, which I loaded into my backpack, grabbed my wide brim hat, one of the portable two-way radios and my portable GPS before climbing up in the saddle and starting to walk Bonnie out of the Homestead, heading West towards the hills nearby. Going through the shrub was fairly easy, as it wasn’t too thick, so there was plenty of room for Bonnie to weave around the high bushes. We had only been gone for less than five minutes, when I heard a call from Lance, over the radio. “Wydgee Station to Harrison, do you copy, over?” he said, sounding concerned, and I stopped Bonnie to make it easier for me to speak into the radio. “Receiving you Lance, if you are wondering where I am, I am on Bonnie, and we are approximately 5 minutes’ walk West of the Sheds, over,” I responded. “Right, well don’t go too far away as it is very easy to get lost out here, over,” Lance said to me, “Received that Lance, I have 6 litres of water, and GPS with me, I am just going as far as the hills just west of the homestead, over,” I answered. “Right, well, please let me know where you are going in future please, I don’t want to have to get a search party started to look for you, do you have an ETA of your return, over,” Lance said to me. “Yes, no later than 1 pm, so a bit over three hours from now, over,” I replied, “Ok, understood, over and out,” Lance said, and I set off again, taking it nice and steady, so as not to tire out Bonnie too much. About an hour later, I reached the bottom of a small range of hills, and once securing Bonnie to a branch of a shady tree, I took off my hat and poured some water in it and let Bonnie have a good drink, before I had a small drink, and set off on foot, to do a little bit of exploring. After about 45 minutes of difficult climbing, avoiding any hazards that may injure me, especially ankle injuries, I sat down on a group of rocks and took another drink from a water bottle. As I looked around my surroundings, I notice that I there was various colours in the soil and clay, that is around the hills, and it was a dull rock that caught my attention, as it didn’t look like it belonged there. Standing up I walked the 15 metres till I was in the middle of a steep rocky gully, and it took me a few moments to find the rock that I was looking at earlier, and I picked up, surprised at how heavy it was for such a small rock, that was about the size of a small can of tuna. Wiping away the clay and dirt off the rock, my heart began to get stronger, as I realised what I had actually found, and I turned it over in my hands for a few minutes, before slipping the two hands-sized rock, into my top pocket. Before leaving the area, I set a marker on my GPS, for the exact location that I was standing on before I began to walk back to Bonnie. Giving her a pat on her neck, I gave her another drink, before climbing up into her saddle, and I grabbed the radio mike. “Harrison to Lance, do you copy over,” I called, and it was after the second time I called, that I received a response. “Danny here mate, can I help you with anything, over,” Danny said, “Na, just wanted to let the boss know that I am on my way back, and I would be there in about 45 minutes, over,” I announced, “Righto, I will pass the message on, over” Danny said in reply. Once again, taking it easy, we headed back to the homestead, and as soon as we were back in the stables, I let Bonnie have a good drink while I retrieved some feed and fresh hay for her. While she was eating, I removed the saddle and tack, before giving Bonnie a good brush down, before leaving the gate open so she can wander out into the yard when she feels like it. I made my way over to the homestead, and I knocked on the door, but there was no response, so I wandered into the kitchen, where I could hear some music, and I found Danny preparing some lunch, with the music up fairly loud, so he would not have heard me knocking.
  6. quokka

    Lon Chapter 4

    Chapter 4 “I will come with you,” Jacob said, as he zipped up his jacket, as the temperature had dropped a lot in the past half an hour or so, and with Lance following, we headed towards the main rodeo arena, to check there first before going towards the main oval. When we saw a tall solid build man and two teenagers approaching out of the darkness after about twenty minutes of searching, I began to relax, when I recognised Thomas and Logan, but we heard Lance swear behind us, “Shit, copper”, which made me wonder what the lads had done wrong. “Are these two with you sir?” the police officer asked me, as we approached, and I saw that he had the rank of Sergeant, with the stripes on his uniform. “Yes Sergeant, I am Harrison Alpike, and the taller rascal is my brother Logan, and the other is his friend Thomas, both under my care. I am sorry if they have been a trouble, they were supposed to have returned to camp an hour ago” I replied looking very worried. “If I may have a moment of your time for a chat please” the police sergeant asked, and I turned to Jacob, “Mate, can you take the boys back to camp, and make sure they get ready for bed, I will speak to them when I get back” I asked Jacob, who nodded his head, then frowned at the lads, who dropped their heads and headed in the direction of the campsite. After a short discussion with the police officer, I apologised for the lad’s behaviour and informed him that the boys will be watched very closely, and would be no longer allowed to go on their own, for the rest of the Rodeo. I was fuming by the time I returned to the trailer, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, apart from making sure that either Jacob or I was with them at all times. Lance and Jacob stopped talking when I arrived, and I sat down in my chair. They are taking showers and going straight to bed” Jacob informed me after a short period of silence, and I nodded my head in understanding. A few minutes later I stood up, Lance, would you mind staying here for a few minutes, and make sure the boys stay inside, I need to speak to Jacob in private” I asked. “Sure, not a problem” Lance replied, not sure what was going on, as Jacob stood up and followed me in the darkness, and we ended up walking out onto the side of the town road, to guarantee that we would not be overheard. “What do you know about Thomas and his family?” I asked Jacob, once I was sure that we were alone, “Do you mean, do I know about Thomas being Gay?” Jacob replied, which caught me quite by surprise, and Jacob gave a small laugh when he saw my shocked look. “Yes, I know, and he has tried hitting on me a few times, even though I am way too old for him, and yes I am Gay too” Jacob replied. “Yes, I guessed that, when I saw you checking me out, when we were introduced yesterday, and I am cool with that, but I am not Gay or Bi, I replied, “Ok, that is good to know, so what exactly did the lads do, that attracted police attention?” Jacob asked. “Well let me say first that when I was filling up the vehicle, and you were in the store, out two young rascals were getting up to some mischief in the trailer bathroom, with Logan opening the door, and me getting an unexpected eyeful of two naked teenagers. Saying that the Sergeant said that he saw the boys doing something in a dark corner of the recreation centre, but by the time he reached them, they had covered up. When questioned, the lads confessed to doing some teenage experimenting stuff, without going into detail. The Sergeant, gave them a stern warning, not to do anything like that ever again in public, or they would end up in the police lockup. Apparently, that was enough to make them nearly shit themselves, before escorting them back to us” I explained. “They are very lucky to have got off with a warning, I have heard that they step down hard on that sort of public behaviour, so what now?’ Jacob asked. “Are you happy to continue doing cooking duties for us all, for the rest of the rodeo, and to share watch duties on the rascals, they just need to be kept busy, maybe I can get Myles to have the rascal to look after his horse as well” I said, “Actually he and Miranda have a horse each, they are both competing” Jacob stated. “Good, that will keep them extra busy, I will go and sort it out now if you can make sure the lads are in their separate beds, and going to sleep,” I said smiling, as we headed back to the campsite. I was extra pleased when Myles and Miranda agreed to let the lads do all the grooming work for their horses, as it took a lot less pressure off me and Jacob to keep an eye on them, as I walked around the vehicle towards the trailer, were Jacob was setting up his swag, and Lance was in his trailer, settling in for the night. I said goodnight to both of them as I headed inside, and the lads whispering stopped when I came in. Speaking softly so no one outside would hear, I informed Logan and Thomas, that from this moment on, they are not to leave the campsite unless they are with either me or Jacob. I also informed them of their extra duties, for the remainder of the rodeo weekend, with them to concentrate on looking after Myles and Miranda’s horses, and when they groaned at having to do this. I reminded them that they were very close to ending up spending the night in a police cell and that they are to do as Jacob and I tell them, or I would inform both sets of parents of what took place, and face even more punishments. Thomas and Logan agreed to do what is asked and to be on their best behaviour, and at 6.30 am the next morning, they were out of bed and began work, feeding the horses, giving them fresh water, and giving them all a good brushing, before coming in for some breakfast. While they were doing this, I had been summoned to the Rodeo Office, and asked to help out with Veterinary services, once I and produced my Veterinarian registration card, “Mr Harrison Alpike, BSc – Murdoch University, WA” which also has the date of registration, my date of birth, my signature and a pretty terrible photo of me. I agreed to assist where possible, as long as it did not interfere with me participating in the competition, that I had registered to compete in, which was agreed on, and for the rest of the day, I was kept fairly busy, with doing inspections of all horses that would be competing, treating minor injuries, and competing in both events, of which I managed to win first place in both. I had also agreed to assist with keeping Miranda’s and Myles two horse’s feet in good condition, as well as Bonnies, and by the end of the day, I was exhausted. After the presentations in the early evening and a quick dinner, I had a shower and collapsed into bed, and promptly fell asleep, missing the main concert altogether. When I woke in the morning, I was feeling fairly tired and sore, and I could smell breakfast cooking outside, so I dressed and went to the bathroom, before heading outside, where everyone was about to eat. “Good morning sleepy head,” Jacob said to me in a cheerful tone, and I just frowned. I was soon handed a cup of tea, and I sat down in my camp chair to enjoy the warmth of it, as it was still quite chilly outside. “We have done all of the morning chores, and Myles thanked us for all of our hard work, and even gave us $20 each” Logan said to me, after handing me a plate of cooked breakfast. It was some time before I was awake enough to discuss anything, as I finished my plate, and placed it on the nearby table. “Lance has invited us to spend today and tonight at his uncle’s cattle station, which is just out of Morawa, so once breakfast is over and the kitchen is clean, we will get to work to pack up, and we will aim to leave here at about 9 am” I commented. “Yes, no problem Bro, we will get right on it,” Logan said, as he picked up my plate, along with the others and headed inside to start washing up. “Congratulations by the way, on your two wins, I was quite impressed at how well you did,” Lance said to me, as we watched Jacob follow the boys inside with the rest of the dirty dishes. “Yeah well, I have been practising a lot at home, the poor calves are probably sick and tired of being chased, roped and thrown to the grown and having their feet tied up” I replied, and Lance laughed. “You going to tell me what the hell is going on with the two lads?” Lance asked me after a short period of silence. “Nope sorry, it's family business, and it is going to stay that way” I snapped in reply, “Ok, geez, you don’t have to bite my head off” Lance responded, and I sighed loudly. “I’m sorry mate, it’s just hard work being guardians to two rascal teenagers, and I will not be volunteering to do it ever again” I replied. “Ok, understood, so are you still coming to the station?” Lance asked me, and I thought about this for a fair while before responding. “I don’t know mate, I would really like to get these two off my hands as soon as possible, I just don’t really know” I replied, just as my phone beeped with a message, which was from Mum. “Jacob has text his Mum, to let us know that Thomas and Logan had got into some trouble with the local police on Friday Night, and he mentioned that you were stressing out about having to worry about them all weekend. Marg, Gloria and I are on our way up to meet you in Morawa, to take them off your hands, as I stayed on in Moora for the weekend. See you there in two hours at 10 am, Love Mum”. “Well it appears that I will be coming to your station, but I need to go via Morawa first, to meet up with Mum, who stayed with friends in Moora, and they are meeting us there to collect the lads” I informed Lance. “Perfect, we better get a move on, as we need to leave at 9 am, to meet them on time” Lance responded happily. “I heard some of that, did you just say your Mum and mine are coming up to meet us somewhere?” Jacob asked as he leaned out the door, “Yes mate, at Morawa, which is an hour’s drive South East of here, on the Mullewa – Wubin Road” I replied. “Ok, I think I will go with them too if that is ok with you?” Jacob replied, “Yes sure mate if that is what you want, I will be fine. Thank you for all you have done with cooking and looking after the rascals” I said to Jacob, “Not a problem, glad that I could help” Jacob replied, before heading back inside. For the next 45 minutes we kept busy packing everything up, and once we had Bonnie loaded up, Jacob, the lads and I climbed into the vehicle and set off, following Lance out of town on the Mullewa – Wubin road, and a bit over an hour later a big sign notified us of a junction approaching. “Once we have dropped off this lot, we have to come back to this road, that heads to Yalgoo, to get to the station” Lance announced over the Two-way radio from his vehicle, as we slowed down. “Text Mum, and tell her we are approaching Mullewa to please,” I asked Logan, and he reluctantly did as I asked. “She says they are at the roadhouse, and to keep going straight on the main road, and the Ampol Roadhouse is on the right,” Logan said, after receiving a reply. I relayed the information to Lance via the radio, and a few minutes later we pulled up outside the roadhouse, where a vehicle that I presumed belongs to the Morgan family, and I was a little surprised to see a horse float attached to the back of it. “Hello son, we thought that since you are going to spend a few days on the station, you may want me to take Bonnie with us,” Mum said to me. “Actually, I would prefer to keep her with me, you should have asked, before dragging the float all the way up here for nothing” I replied. “Oh, ok son, I am sorry, I just thought you would like some space on your own, that is all” Mum replied. “Thanks Mum, but we will be fine” I said as I gave her a slight hug, and watched as Jacob, Thomas and Logan loaded up their luggage, into the back of the Morgan’s vehicle, and after waving goodbye to Gloria, Mum and the lads, U noticed that Lance was talking on his phone, and he was frowning. “Are you really sure about this uncle, I mean, do you think I can do it?” I overheard Lance say, and he listened to the caller a bit more before hanging up, and that is when he saw me standing by my vehicle, and the Morgan vehicle had left. “We have to wait for about twenty minutes, as my Uncle is on his way into town, it appears, that I have been given a lot more responsibility, with me taking over as manager of his latest property purchase, Wydgee Station, which is 208 kilometres North East of Wubin, and 93 kilometres dues South of Mount Magnet” Lance informed me. “Which is how far from here?” I asked sounding a little shocked.
  7. quokka

    Lon Chapter 1

    Move to Australia mate.
  8. quokka

    Lon Chapter 3

    Chapter 3 "G' day, welcome to the Mullewa Muster and Rodeo, name of Competitors please" the bloke at the gate asked when we pulled up at the entry gate. "G' day, the name is…", "Harry Alpike, good to see ya mate," a loud voice said, from somewhere nearby, and I soon saw an old friend, Lance Atkinson approaching, who I hadn’t seen since high school. “G’day Lance, what are you doing in this neck of the woods?” I asked as I stuck my hand out the window, and Lance shook it vigorously. “I live and work here mate. Well not in town, I work for my uncle, who owns a property 120 kilometres by the shortest road, or 140 kilometres staying on sealed roads, South East of here, it is also 80 kilometres South West of Yalgoo, and 60 kilometres North East of Morawa” Lance explained. “So, you are a station hand then, how long you been here for?” I asked, “Since finishing high school, so what is this big rig for, do you have lots of horses, and what are you competing in?” Lance asked me. “Just the two safer events, the steer wrestling plus the rope & tie, and it is just my horse. I am a qualified Farrier, and this is my workshop, travelling home and horse trailer” I responded. "Hey Shep, can me mate Harrison here, set up camp in the locals area, he is a competitor, but I have a feeling once the word gets out, his Farrier services will be in big demand" Lance said to the man at the gate, who looked down at his clipboard, and we could see he was thinking about it. “How about we put you in the best competitors camping area, down in the South East corner, where you will have plenty of shade” the man at the gate suggested. “Fantastic, right, just turn left inside the gate, follow the fence line, see that row of trees down there, well there is more camping area behind it, that is the best spot, gives you a bit of tree shade, and privacy too" Lance said, as he jumped onto the side step of my vehicle and grabbed onto the top of the roof rack of my vehicle. Once we reached the end of the area, I stepped out of the vehicle and took a look around. “I think, I will park alongside the line of trees leading away from the fence, so it gives us shade and room for Bonnie, and for the awning, and the vehicle, I can park on the other side of the trailer” I said, and within a few minutes, I had the trailer backed into place and unhitched. With that done, I rolled out the awning, before getting Bonnie out and tying her to the side of the trailer, so she was under some shade. With that done, Jacob and the lads helped me to retrieve the portable yard panels, that create a small yarded area for Bonnie. With a total of six panels, that are each 2.5 metres long, and 1.5 metres high, we quickly set up the yard area, with two panels from the boundary fence, to the rear corner of the trailer, which I parked two metres from the row of trees, another four panels were used from the boundary fence to the back of the vehicle and back to the other rear corner of the trailer, giving a five by six metre area for Bonnie. Once it was all secured, with steel pickets driven into the ground, and capped with yellow safety caps, I let Bonnie into the yard, and gave her some more hay and filled up her water drum, which is half of a two hundred litre blue plastic drum. Meanwhile, Logan and Thomas had set out the camper table and four camper chairs, of which two chairs were supplied by Gloria, and Jacob had placed his swag on the ground near the wheels of the trailer, ready to be rolled out when it is time to sleep. I looked at the setup and smiled, before adjusting the location of the table a little, before unlocking a small door on the outside of the trailer, to reveal the outdoor camp kitchen and BBQ. "We can use this if it is a nice night out, for cooking and eating," I said to our little group, with Lance standing nearby smiling. "Nice set up you have there Harrison, what else do you have in your trailer of tricks?" Lance commented. “Well come over and check it out, and I will show you” I replied, as I walked around to the shady side of the trailer and unlocked the door, where the workshop and tools are located, just behind where the vehicle is parked. “Wow, ripper set up, you have here mate” Lance commented as he looked inside, “Yep, I have everything that I need, including an anvil, portable forge plenty of spare shoes and every tool needed for the job” I commented. “Very impressive, I heard that your old man had passed away, and I am sorry about that, so did he do most of this?” Lance asked me, “Yeah, he did, but I helped when I wasn’t busy with my studies and everything” I replied, “Studies? Have you done more since leaving school and doing your apprenticeship?” Lance asked me. “Yeh, I am studying to be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, just got a year and a bit to go” I replied, “What, so you are a qualified vet already?” Lance asked, “Yes I am, but the only vet work I have been doing is on the family farm, and with some of our neighbours, that’s all” I responded. “Wow, my old school mate is a vet… you know, I use to watch that old UK TV show, A Country Practice” Lance said and I burst out laughing, which made Lance frown, “Mate, that is the name of the Australian TV show, about the country doctors, with one of the doctors marrying the vet” I said after calming down a little. “Oh! Well, what was the name of the vet show in the UK then?” Lance responded, looking very embarrassed, “That would be All Creatures Great and Small, and the lead character name was James Harriet” I replied smiling. “Yes, that is it, Mum made us watch it with her after dinner time when we were younger," Lance said, as he kicked an invisible stone on the ground, and blushed some more. "I have all my vet gear with me too, but most of it is locked up, out of sight, on the other side of the trailer, under the awning" I replied. "I see, well I guess that you have to be careful and everything, like human doctors" Lance, stated, and I nodded my head in agreement. Over a few soft drinks and some snacks that Jacob had made up, we sat down and chatted, as we watched more competitors arrive and set up camp. Lance had disappeared for a short while, and I wondered why, until I saw a ute with a long box trailer, approach and pull up alongside the awning, and realised it was Lance. As he was relocating his campsite so as to be closer to us, which I thought was great, as I hadn't seen Lance for a few years now, and we got along well back in high school. "Oh, by the way, I bumped into the Rodeo vice president, and he wasn't looking too happy, and I soon learned, that the veterinarian who was supposed to be coming this weekend, will be delayed, because of a family emergency, and I happened to slip that I knew someone who is a qualified vet, who may be available to assist" Lance said, as he pulled out his swag from the back of his ute, and set it up in the back of his box trailer, which has a solid roof with racks on it, and rolled up canvas sides, on both sides, with the front and back ends also being solid. "This is my out and about, trailer, eight by four feet, with the back two feet being enclosed for storage, which has my little portable BBQ, car fridge, small sink, supplies store, and utensils store. As you can see on the outside, I have two gas bottles, two water containers, and on the roof, I have two large solar panels, with an inverter inside, to supply power to the car fridge and small lights” Lance explained. “Sounds like you have just as good a set up as we do” I commented smiling, “Yeah well, not as big as yours, but it is comfortable and has all I need” Lance replied. “Except we have our own bathroom and separate toilet” Logan said with a big grin. “Which you are welcome to use” I added, and Lance smiled and nodded his head in acceptance of the offer. Soon after Lance has set up beside us, one more vehicle with a horse float, came through the gap in the trees and reversed in alongside Lance's vehicle. "G' day Lance, I see you and your friends have grabbed the best spot this year," the man said, after finishing reversing the vehicle and trailer back, about two metres from Lance's vehicle. "Yes, sorry mate, but my mate Harrison here is a competitor and a volunteer, so he needs a good spot" Lance replied, "I thought you looked familiar, Harrison Alpike isn't it?" the man responded, as he approached and stuck out his hand and shook mine. "That's right, but I am not sure about the volunteering part of the weekend, Lance here sort of volunteered me to help out before asking. Have we met before?" I replied. "Yes sorry, my name is Patterson, Myles Patterson, I was two years ahead of you in high school, I use to listen to you talking to your friends from a distance at lunchtimes when you talked about your apprenticeship with your dad," the man said to me. "Oh ok," I said, not sure how to respond to that. "Anyway, I was jealous as hell, that you got to spend so much time with horses after school and on weekends. I was seventeen before I was able to have my own horse, and I have been hooked with horses ever since" Myles said. Myles had six fence panels, three on each side of his horse float, and we got to work to help him to set up his small horse yard, for his five-year-old mare, Dolly, before letting dolly out, then unhitching his trailer, but pulling his ute forwards only by a few feet. "That looks like quite a set up you have there, Harrison. What do you have in there?" Myles asked once everything was set up for his horse, including a water and feed bucket. "It is my Dad's set up, not just for carting the horses, but also his Farrier setup, which I have inherited since he has passed on" I replied sadly. “Oh, sorry mate, I had no idea that he had died, how is your Mum coping?’ Myles responded, “She is good, she still has two son’s living at home, so that keeps her busy” I see grinning, as I walked around the front of Lance’s vehicle, with Lance and Myles following, and stopping at eh front corner of my truck, I pointed my thumb towards my brother. "This is my little brother, Logan, and his mate Thomas, who has come up with me, along with Jacob, a friend of the family, and a neighbour of Thomas's in Moora," I said making the introductions, to the rest of the lads who had remained seated under the awning. “Quite some set up you have here Harrison, and I see you have your basic camping trailer with you again Lance” Myles said smiling, “Yeah, I like to travel in style when away from the station” Lance responded, which has us laughing at his little bit of humour, just as a long-legged blond woman stepped around the corner, and wrapped her arms around Myles’ waist. “This is my fiancée, Miranda Kendal, sweetheart, Lance and Harrison were in the same high school as me, but a few years behind, and the others are …” Myles said starting the introductions, and I finished it by introduced my brother, Thomas and Jacob. “Yes, well we better finish setting up our camp, not quite as flash as yours mate, but we do ok, with an awning, popup gazebo, camp stretcher’s, camp table and chairs, and other bits and pieces, although I haven’t convinced Miranda how good it is camping outdoors yet” Myles commented, and we all smiled at this comment, as they waved and headed back to their vehicle. Jacob headed inside and prepared a late lunch for us, and Lance was invited to join us. "So, what are you going to do after this all finishes on Sunday morning?" Lance asked me, "Well it is a long weekend, so I was going to look into taking a slow trip back to Moora and then home to Darling Downs because I didn’t have Lectures on Thursday, I have taken my time getting here over two half days” I commented. "Well how about I ring my Uncle Vince, and see if it is ok for you to spend Sunday on the station, and you can set off the next morning if that is ok with you" Lance suggested, and I thought about this offer for a few moments before responding. "Let me think about it overnight, and I will let you know tomorrow" I replied, and Lance smiled happily. By the time it was getting dark, the competitors camping ground was about two thirds full, while the general public camping ground was about three-quarters full. Jacob was busy cooking a BBQ dinner for us all, with Lance throwing in his supply of food, so he could join us, after enjoying the delicious lunch that we had earlier. Straight after dinner, Thomas and Logan headed out to do some more exploring on their own, promising me to be good, and to come back in one hour, leaving Jacob, Lance and myself to sit back and relax and talk about the old days back in high school. Before I knew it, the time had flown by, and I was shocked when I saw that it was nearly two hours since I had seen the lads, and I jumped up out of my chair, ready to go and find them. When Jacob saw the concern in my face, he too realised what was wrong. "Sorry to break up this party Lance, but my brother and Thomas should have been back an hour ago, I need to go and look for them," I said as I grabbed a torch from just inside the door of the trailer's accommodation section.
  9. quokka

    Lon Chapter 2

    Chapter 2 "Bonnie is all set for tonight, she has her rug on and I have fed and watered her," Logan said breaking the silence after a good few minutes. "Thanks, mate, so no camping trip eh" I replied, "Nah, the weather wasn't going to be very good, and one of the guys was being an ass, which was really pissing me off, and making me regret deciding not to come with you" Logan replied. "Will you be ok to be my groom, when I am preparing and finishing the competition?" I asked my brother, "Yeah of course. Mum said that I need to help out more, so I guess that is why I am here, plus I find it too lonely not having my big bro around" Logan said. "Go and have a shower, as we are having dinner with Ted and Gloria in their home" I suggested to Logan, who stood up and started up the stairs, "and no streaking on the weekend, especially if Thomas is coming along," I said to Logan. “Aww, but I like expressing my freedom of no clothing” Logan complained, “Geez, not when we are out in public, and with that firkin huge tool you have, I will have to call you big horse soon," I said, and Logan laughed. “Too late, that is my nickname at school, most of the guys in my year have seen it when we shower after sports," Logan said before disappearing into the trailer, and I groaned about the "too much information" Logan had just said to me. When Logan and I entered the house for dinner, Mum and Gloria were chatting in the kitchen, while Ted was sitting in the lounge watching the news, and I went and sat down beside him. “So how big is your far, and I heard a few cows, so I presume it is just a beef farm?” I asked. “It’s just over 3700 acres in total, and no we have crops as well, our son – Jacob is away at Uni, but he will be home sometime tomorrow” Ted replied, “I’m here now Dad” a voice called out before the door closed behind him, and Ted stood up and approached his son. “Hi son, you are home early, come and meet some old family friends. That is Sarah Alpike, and this is her two son’s Harrison and Logan” Ted said making the introductions, and the young man gave Mum a short wave before turning towards me and shook my hand and Logan's straight after. "Nice to meet you all, so Dad what is the special occasion for visitors, and whose trailer and stock horse is that in the yard," Jacob asked, as he sat down in a chair opposite me and Logan, and I turned to my brother. "Did you park the truck trailer in with the horse?" I asked in a serious tone, and after a few moments Logan burst out laughing, and I just grinned, while Jacob blushed a little realising how he had asked the question. "The horse is mine, her name is Bonnie, and we are on our way to the Rodeo at Mullewa this weekend" I replied, as Logan still laughed a little. "Oh yeah, I forgot that it was on this long weekend, I haven't been to one of those in ages," Jacob said. "Why don't you tag along," Logan said after he had calmed down, and I gave my brother a nudge with my elbow, and frowned at him, "Do you have the room? I could always set up my swag under your awning if need be" Jacob replied. “What are you studying at Uni, Jacob?” I asked to change the subject, “Agriculture business, at Muresk College, I'm in my final year of a two-year degree” Jacob replied. "Ok, I'm at Murdoch Uni, done my Bachelor in Vet Science, and now in my first year for a Doctor of Vet Science course" I responded, as I spotted Jacob checking me out, and he looked away blushing a little. “Yes, my clever son, has also completed an apprenticeship in Farriery, while in high school” my Mum added, “Wow, that is an added bonus, I’m impressed, so what about it, can I tag along this weekend” Jacob asked, just as the house phone rang, and Jacob being the closest went to answer it. "Mum, it is Mrs Wellstead from next door, she says yes, he can go, and what time does he have to be here, whatever that means," Jacob said out loud, and I jumped up and walked towards the phone. "Let Harrison deal with its son," Ted said and with a little confusion, Jacob hand the phone over to me, and headed down the hallway. “Hello Marg, can he be fed and watered and be here by 7am please” I said into the phone, which made everyone laugh at my comment, and even Marg was chuckling down the line, “Yes dear, that will be fine, see you then, good night” Marg replied before ending the call. “Are you taking another horse?” Jacob asked from down the long hallway, and when I looked up, he was without a shirt, and I could tell he had a well - defined upper body. “No, my brother is just being an ass. Thomas from next door is coming with us, he is just a week or so older than me” Logan responded. “Oh, I see. So, no room for me then?’ Jacob asked, sounding a little disappointed. “Yes, there is plenty of room for you in the cab, just not in the accommodation section of the trailer, so you will need to bring your swag, Mum has stocked us up with enough food for a week” I replied. "Great, thanks heaps mate, I will gladly chip in for fuel costs," Jacob said before disappearing into another part of the house. "He is also a very good cook" Gloria added, "Good, I have a horse groom, a chef and a lackey, I won’t have to do much except competing" I commented, as I sat down again. "What events are you competing in," Ted asked me, "Just the steer wrestling and the rope & tie, nothing too dangerous" I replied, “That sounds sensible, I hear people get hurt with the bull riding and bareback riding” Mum commented. "After a very enjoyable dinner, Logan and I headed out to the trailer, and we sat down under the awning for a while, to enjoy the peace and quiet, before retiring to bed. Logan selected the top bunk, as he usually does, while I was enjoying having the queen size bed. "So much for having a quiet weekend to myself" I commented, as we settled in our beds, "Yeah, but you would have been bored shitless afterwards, with no one to keep you company, but now you have three of us" Logan said, in response, "Yes, I guess so, goodnight bro, see you at 6.30am” I replied. "You do know that I am on school break at the moment eh?" Logan asked, and I thought about this for a few moments, "No I thought it was just a long weekend only" I replied. "Well most of the class had gone on that overseas excursion to New Zealand, that Mum couldn't afford to send me on, so for a week, they remain five of us, are excused from attending" Logan explained. “I see, well, we will still have to come back to Moora to drop off Jacob and Thomas at the end of the weekend” I answered, “Yeah, I know, It would be just good if just the two of us could keep going for a few more days, before going home” Logan said to me. I will see what Mum says about it in the morning, now get some sleep” I replied, as I turned over and shut my eyes, and we were soon both fast asleep. When I woke in the morning, it was to the sound of Kookaburra's which made me smile, "Can you shut off that bloody noise" Logan groaned, which made me laugh. "That is your wake up call little bro, and it is the Kookaburra's outside, letting you know it is time to get up," I said as I climbed down and headed to the toilet, then the bathroom, to have a quick shower. Feeling fresh and wide awake, I went out and gave Bonnie some fresh food, and talked to her while she ate, when she was done, I saddled her up and went for a fifteen-minute ride, just to give her a bit of exercise before we leave. After un-saddling her, and giving her a good brushing, I headed inside, where Logan had breakfast cooking on the stove, and he handed me a fresh cup of tea, as he began to plate up the bacon, tomatoes, scrambled eggs and sausages, with toast on the side. "Looks great, thanks bro," I said on accepting my plate, and we ate silently for a while. "How long till we get to Mullewa?" Logan asked me eventually, "Well we are almost at the halfway mark, and it took me three hours to get here yesterday, after leaving at 11 am, so if we leave on time, we should be there before lunch today" I replied. “Sounds good, will we be stopping anywhere on the way?’ Logan responded, “Just up the road in Moora, to refuel and maybe a short break, at Three Springs so I can stretch my legs,” I replied. “Can I sit in the back with Thomas please?” Logan asked, “Yes, I see no problems with that” I replied. By the time we had eaten and cleaned up, it was nearly time to go, so we headed outside to pack up the two camp chairs and table, and wound the awning in, locking it into place, before going to collect Bonnie and load her into the back of the trailer. With fresh hay and gain in her feed bowl, she settled in for another three hours of travelling, as Logan and I closed and locked the rear ramp door, just as Jacob came out of the house, with the adults following. “Good morning all," I said happily, and Mum looked at me strangely, which made me laugh, "I just had a very peaceful nights rest, and an awesome morning alarm clock" I explained. “Bloody Kookaburra’s” Logan muttered, and I just smiled, as did Mum, “Well at least I like them” I commented with a shrug of the shoulders. "Come with me, and I will show you around inside," Logan said to Jacob, as I gave Mum a kiss on the cheek. "You will take good care of everyone won't you?" Mum said to me, "Yes Ma, I will be very good and careful" I replied, "I am sure my son, will help you out when the need is" Gloria added. "This is an awesome set up you have here mate," Jacob said when they reappeared from inside. "Yes, not bad eh, if it gets too cold outside, you can always sleep in the couch, and yes it has all the mod cons. Reverse cycle air con, gas instant hot water, bathroom, with separate toilet, two 400 litre fresh water tanks and also there are four good sized solar panels on the roof too, which makes us fairly self-sufficient" I commented. “Wow, impressive, have you ever put it to test over an extended period?” Jacob asked, “No we haven’t only weekend trips. We were planning to do a long-distance family trip but…” Mum said not finishing the sentence, as she began to get visibly upset, and I gave her a sideways hug, just as we saw a vehicle coming up the driveway. Thomas jumped out of the vehicle before it had fully stopped, looking very happy. "Good morning guys, I am ready to go," Thomas said cheerfully, as Marg stepped out of her vehicle with a frown at her son, then smiled as she faced us. "Good morning all, we have one very impatient teenager, looking forward to a road trip," Marg said. Thomas and Logan headed inside, and a few moments later they reappeared, chatting away as if they have been mates for all their life. After saying goodbye to everyone, we climbed into the F450, and waved, as I drove the vehicle and trailer down the driveway, and turned left towards Moora. I turned the radio on to listen to the 7 am ABC news, with the town being only a few minutes away. Looking in the rear vision mirror, the boys were chatting very quietly, and I saw Thomas face look shocked at something that Logan had said, “…really?” I only just heard Thomas ask, and I saw Logan nod his head, as he stopped whispering when he saw me watching them in the mirror. While I was refuelling the F450, Jacob went to buy some snacks, and the boys dashed into the trailer, to get some books to read. Before heading into pay for the fuel, I realised the boys are still inside the trailer, so I walked inside, and soon after heard a voice, "Wow, that is…" and I walked up to the bathroom door and knocked. "What is going on?" I asked, "Nothing… well, nothing really" Logan replied, and he opened the door, revealing two teenagers, with their shorts and underwear at their ankles. "Holy shit Logan, put that damn donkey dick away, and you to Thomas, I don't want to see or hear about any of this again, for the rest of the trip” I said pushing the door shut, and I walked out of the trailer, stopping to calm down a little before going to pay for the fuel. For the next three hours, I concentrated on the driving, and I glanced in the rear-view mirror, to see the boys sitting well apart from each other, looking very upset. Jacob seemed to sense that something was wrong, but didn't say anything, and he spent most of the trip just staring out the side window or making a comment about something that we had just passed. When we finally pulled into Mullewa, it was a little after 11 am, with stops at Coorow, Three Springs and Mingenew, so as to check on Bonnie. Who didn't seem to be too concerned about the long distance journey, we followed the signs to the Competitors entry gate, on the North-East corner of the recreation grounds, where the Rodeo was being held.
  10. quokka

    Long Road

    Harrison Alpike is a talented young man, who worked hard with his studies, as well as doing his Farrier apprenticeship alongside his father. When his father dies suddenly, he finds himself the man of the house, with a widowed mother and younger brother. To help cope with the stresses of home and his university studies to become a Doctor of Veterinary Science, he decides to participate in a rodeo, which is a 6-hour drive North of home.
  11. quokka

    Lon Chapter 1

    Chapter 1 “Right Mum, I am off now, see you in a few days’ time” I called out, as I headed towards the back door of the family home on the South East outskirts of Perth. “Ok dear, take care and drive carefully” Mum called back, “Will do Ma, and thanks for putting up with me, this past few years, I do appreciate it and I love you” I said at the doorway, and I stopped to look back at Mum, who had tears welling in her eyes. Seeing this, I dropped my bag, rushed to her, and wrapped her in my arms to comfort her. "I am so proud of you Harrison, and you will always have a home here, now off you go," Mum said into my shoulder, and she pushed me away and set me off on a weekend that I hoped would get me to relax and enjoy myself for a time. In the past twelve months, our family had been through a lot, with Dad passing away from a massive stroke, the third one in two years, which had forced him into retirement, at the tender age of 42 years. The family own a 14-acre property in the suburb of Darling Downs, just out of Armadale, that consists of two adjoining blocks of land. The Kellet Drive block has a large machinery shed and workshop, with a lean-too, plus hay shed, two large water tanks and three good sized paddocks. Around the corner, the Hodkinson Roadblock, on the front house paddock, it has a huge four bedroom house, with a separate triple vehicle garage, a bit of a garden, a good size swimming pool, and one large paddock out the back. We have had horses all of my life, as Dad was a Farrier by trade, and both Logan, my younger brother, by 6 years and I have had horses since we were each six years old. Today I was off on a weekend trip to attend a rodeo, in the Mid-West town of Mullewa, which is a 6 hour, 475 - kilometre journey from home. With the family home being just 850 metres from the South end of the Tonkin Highway, it was not a problem to get out of Perth, especially in the Ford F450 twin cab truck with the 38-foot long Gooseneck horse trailer behind it, with my stock horse - Bonnie loaded in the back. Since Dad bought the trailer a few years back, he had been doing a number of modifications and improvements to the trailer. He had installed two single bunk beds for my brother and me, updating the bathroom and toilet. Instead of having a three-stall horse area, it now has just two horse stalls, and a workshop area, accessed from the side, for storing all of Dad's farrier equipment, including the portable gas fuelled forge and anvil. I knew that I was wasting a lot of money taking the whole setup with me, but I wanted to be able to fix anything that may happen since I had the equipment and skills to do it. When I was in my first year in high school, Dad took me on as an apprentice, and over the next five years, he taught me everything that I needed to know about the being a farrier. Stanton had pleaded with me to take him with me until his school friends decided to go on a hiking and camping trip on a section of the Bibbulmun Track from Armadale to Jarrahdale over the long weekend. With no university lectures on a Thursday, I am able to set off early, with an overnight stop planned in the town of Moora. Family friends of my parents would be allowing me to camp out on their property, just South of town. When I arrived at the Morgan farm, there were another two vehicles parked near the shed, that looked like they were too good to be farm vehicles, and the small group gathered turned as I entered the shed yard, and parked a little way away, so as not to block anyone from getting out. "Hello Harrison, it is lovely to see you again, how is your Mum," the lady said to me as she approached and wrapped me in a warm hug. "Hello Mrs Morgan, it is nice to be here again" I replied. "Now none of that, you are an adult now, and we have known you practically all your life, please call me Gloria," she said to me, "and you must call me Ted, hello Harry, or do you prefer Harrison," Mr Morgan said as we shook hands. "Either is fine thanks, sir… err Ted" I replied, as we turned to face the visitors, a lady and a teenage lad with the lady looking familiar, but I couldn’t quite remember where I knew her from. “This is our neighbour Marg Wellstead, and her son – Thomas, when I mentioned that you were staying over with us, on your way to the rodeo, they wanted to come and say hello Gloria said making the introductions. "Hello Harrison, it has been a long time since I last saw you, and we are so sorry to hear about your father's passing, he was a real gentleman," Marg said to me, as I frowned in thought. “When you were about seven, our three families went camping together up north, when both Logan and Thomas were about nine months old, as they are only two weeks apart in age" Ted explained". Oh, I am sorry, I knew you were familiar somehow, but I couldn't remember where from" I answered. "Wow, you have an awesome trailer, what does it have in it? Can I have a look inside please, I wish I could go to the rodeo, but Mum won't let me" the teenager said as he began to look at it closely, and I chuckled at his keenness to look inside? “Sure, you can have a look, but let me get my horse, Bonnie out first, and give her some fresh air" I responded, as I headed to the back of the trailer, and unlocked the back gate, and lowered the ramp to the ground. "Wow, beautiful stock horse, how old is she? have you had her long?" Thomas said, as Bonnie came into view, "She is 5 years old, and I have had her since a foal" I replied, as I unlocked the gate and opened it, before walking forward to untie the lead rope, and leaned onto Bonnie, to let her know to back out. Once Bonnie was out, Ted led the way to the nearby round yard, where she could walk around, and get some fresh water and hay. "I have a stock horse too, but I only use her to help with mustering the cattle and taking her on rides on weekends," Thomas said to me, once I had returned to the trailer. "Gloria tells me, that you are a qualified Farrier, and that you did your apprenticeship with your father" Marg said to me, "Yes, that is right, but at the moment, I only do the family horses, and sometimes the neighbours, as I am a full-time university student also" I responded. “Oh, what are you studying?” Marg asked, “I am in my fourth year to be a Doctor in Veterinary Science, I graduated with a Bachelor in Vet Science last year, and I have just a year and a half to go, to be a doctor” I replied. I walked inside the back area of the trailer and retrieved the pooper scooper, and bucket, to collect all of Bonnie's droppings. "Sarah, Harrison's Mum is very proud of him, having finished his high school studies a year early, and gone into University studies the following year," Gloria said to Marg, "Well that explains why the maths didn't add up, so you are 21 now?" Marg said. "Yes, just a month ago, so I can now legally tow this beast around now" I replied. "How come there are only two horse stalls, and the trailer is so long?" Thomas asked me. "That would be because my late father had reduced it in size to make room for his… farrier workshop and storage area, plus there is the living area at the front" I replied to Thomas, as I tried to fight back tears thinking of the amazing job he had done. “Wow, can I have a look inside the living area?” Thomas asked me, and smiling, I put the scooper down, and walked around to the side of the trailer, pulled out the steps and unlocked the door, with Thomas racing up the stairs. "Take it, easy son, no need to rush around so much," Marg said to Thomas. "Wow, awesome, Mum come and have a look at this, a full kitchen, large television, DVD, shelving for books and DVD's, twin single bunks and a huge double bed, and … a bathroom and a separate toilet. Wow, this is like a hotel on wheels" Thomas called out from inside, as Marg and Gloria stepped inside, while I headed back to the horse area, to finish cleaning up. We have a long water hose with good strong pressure on the corner of the shed here, I will go and get it for you” Ted said to me, and he walked off before I could respond. Once I had the horse dung all cleaned up and the feed bins closed, I hosed down the floors, to clear away any small amounts of waste, while Ted went to get rid of the bucket of horse dung. "…I don't know son, you will have to ask him, and we will have to talk with your Dad before we decided" I heard Marg say, as I approached the side of the trailer, as they were stepping out. “Ask me what," I asked, and I looked between Marg and Thomas a few times, as the teenager put his head down and kicked the dirt, which made Marg laugh. “Can I please come with you to the rodeo, this weekend please Mr Alpike?” Thomas asked eventually, and I looked at Marg who gave a little shrug of the shoulders, before looking at Gloria, who just smiled. If Thomas is the same age as Logan, then he was also 15 years old and would have had a birthday just last month. I wondered about all the hazards of being at the rodeo, and if it is advisable to take on the responsibility. “Let’s see what your Dad says first, and let me think about it for a bit, and I will let you know before I got to bed” I responded eventually. "That sounds fair enough, I will give Gloria a call, to let you know what my husband says to the idea," Marg said, as she indicated to Thomas to follow her. “Bye Marg, see you next week, if not before” Ted called out, as he approached from the direction of the shed. "Now, young man, I have just got off the phone with your Mum, it appears that it is going to bucket down with rain in the South West, so your brother and his friends have called off the camping trip. Instead, your Mum is on her way to deliver Logan here so he can join you" Ted announced to me, and I looked at my phone and saw a number of missed calls from Mum. "Oh damn, I had my phone on silent" I commented as I hit the return call button. "Hi Mum, do I really have to take Logan with me, can't he just stay home with you," I said as soon as the call was answered, "I heard that," Logan said in the background, and I groaned, as Mum chuckled. “Ok Logan, you can come with me, but you got to be on your bed bloody behaviour or else I will turn you into horse feed” I said, “Now, now son, no need for threats, he knows to be good, especially if he wants to go with you again in the future” Mum said to me. “Ok, so where are you guys?” I asked, “Bindoon, so we will be there, in about an hour’s time, I am staying overnight with Ted and Gloria, before heading home tomorrow” Mum replied. "Did Ted mention about…" I asked, not sure if Logan was still listening, "Yes and Logan knows, although he has no memory of Thomas or that camping trip, I am bringing extra blankets and pillows for the other boys, and some extra food for you all” Mum replied. "Ok, see you when you get here," I said before ending the call. "Let us get you turned around and parked along the end of the shed, so you have a little extra shelter, and you can plug into the power" Ted suggested. He pointed at the track which runs along the end of the shed and beyond. A few minutes later, I had the truck and trailer turned around, and about 4 meters from the end of the shed. This allowed me enough room to pull out the side awning, and I would still be close to the round yard, where Bonnie would be spending the night. Once I had set up the awning, I retrieved the blanket, saddle and tack from the storage area of the trailer, and commenced to saddle up Bonnie, so as to take her for a good ride around the paddock, behind the sheds. Ted had informed me that the 160 - acre paddock was free of any rocks and stumps, and has a good wide fire break around the boundary, that would be ideal for a ride. By the time I had arrived back, Mum had arrived, and Logan was sitting in a camp chair under the awning reading a book, and he jumped to his feet as I approached. "Hey bro, thanks for letting me tag along like this, I am looking forward to this trip," Logan said to me as he grabbed hold of the halter, as I climbed down from the saddle. "Well you can start earning your keep by hosing down and brushing Bonnie, you will find the gear in the tack box" I responded. I headed into the trailer to take a shower, “sure bro, not a problem, anything to be able to come along to the rodeo" Logan said happily, which surprised me a little. Once I stepped out of the trailer, showered and dressed in fresh clothes, I sat down in the chair, to relax and enjoy the sounds of country life, no traffic, or emergency sirens, just fresh air, birds and animal noises in the distance. I closed my eyes and smiled, ignoring the sound of approaching footsteps and someone sitting in the chair next to me.
  12. quokka

    Love and War

    No it’s the typewriter font which is that is hard to read.
  13. quokka

    Love and War

    I can’t read this chapter, as the text is all haywire, can you fix it please
  14. Great to see a new following story, I look forward to reading it.

  15. quokka

    Alo Chapter 26

    Yes thanks for the spelling correction, I knew it looked wrong
  16. quokka

    Alo Chapter 29

    Mikey, was that you?
  17. quokka

    Alo Chapter 28

    You missed the $1000 fine issued by Lloyd
  18. quokka

    Alo Chapter 27

    Yes you did, but he keeps delaying his arrival
  19. quokka

    Alo Chapter 26

    Would have been karki shorts
  20. quokka

    Alo Chapter 29

    Ouch! Who just kicked me?
  21. quokka

    Alo Chapter 22

    He he he
  22. quokka

    Alo Chapter 22

    Understood, over and out
  23. quokka

    Alo Chapter 10

    Thanks for comments, my editor has seen your comments, I will speak to him (give him a verbal spanking) in the next few days. it is very difficult to find editors willing to assist, as it is done voluntarily, I have given a call out a number of time, but rarely get a response. Q
  24. quokka

    Alo Chapter 35

    Still writing it, but I have submitted a story for the coming out theme for pride month.
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