I last stayed with Uncle George and Aunty Joan about 40 years ago. They were dairy farmers. I think that they had about 150 cows and the images of the milking shed at 5.00 am have stayed with me since then. I see Uncle George and his cows when I pass a dairy farm even now. The warm unprocessed milk with porridge at 7 or 8. The implement shed. The raging bull that we chased on the other side of the fence. Driving for the first time as he put the hay out, across the paddock with the accelerator on the Bedford truck stuck on what felt like breakneck speed. Rapidly (to my eyes!) approaching a narrow bridge between paddocks. The big arm leaning in to check the steering You’re fine, just keep it dead ahead. Dead I thought, yes, if the bridge doesn’t widen up real soon!
Running into Mum and Dad in Farmers on a trip to the city. I need to go to the loo. Uncle George corrected you mean lavatory. Such responsibility to my care, even in the face of my parents! Funny how at the tender age of 5 I could sense my parents discomfort.
He died this week, aged 96. He had strong beliefs that he will join Aunty Joan. And probably Daisy. One of those 150 cows he knew by name. The only name I remember, but he had them all off-pat as they walked to the dairy. Remarkable.
He let me learn by trusting me and letting me have a go. Thanks Uncle George.