When I was younger and we lived on a farm, we didn't have TV, computer, iphones, ipods, game consoles or any other such electronic distraction. I spent a lot of time exploring outdoors, living the good life, wild and free. Just up the road on a neighbouring property, were a whole lot of mine diggings dating back to the gold rush days of Ballarat. Some of these diggings were only surface holes, others were much deeper and even had little side tunnels running off them.
The general area was populated by scrubby gum trees, brambles and a sort of grey/green prickly bush called gorse. It was wild and rugged and it suited me as a place to while away the hours, delaying the inevitable chores and homework. The neighbouring farm's sheep wandered through this scrub, and occasionally would fall down one of the mine tails, unable to climb back out and just ripe for a wildlife warrior such as myself, to rescue.
Quite often I would wander home with a lamb under my arm, quoting "finders, keepers" to myself and anyone who thought they should mention the neighbours' blah blah blah..... (I should probably mention that all these little lambs were nurtured and given the very best of care and always, always ended up in the stock pot or on the roasting rack - teehee)
This inability to ignore lost, hurt or stranded baby animals, has always been one of my very, many issues. Many a time I have been unable to enjoy fish and chips at the beach if there has been a one-legged seagull anywhere in the near vicinity. And so help me if I'm watching a Shrek movie and Puss does that thing where his eyes get all big........sigh.
Anyway, this is all just prelude to yesterday.
I've been sick with the flu all week and had had enough. I needed to get out of the house without doing anything too strenuous (ie: getting out of the car) and as it was a filthy day, overcast grey skies and raining flat out, it was perfect for a rain drive.
As we headed out on some little back roads, we realised just how much rain had fallen recently - there was "water over the road"signs just around every corner. Having a 4WD, this just meant fun and games, and for a while the water splashing up over the car kept everyone amused.
Up until the point where I said "look at that little calf, I think he's stuck in the fence. Nev, turn around". Nev, who is used to me after nearly 20 years of marriage, said "yes dear" with a look on his face of someone who knew there would be no more puddle splashing on this particular afternoon.
Sure enough, the calf had not moved and was making a sort of sad, stuck kind of noise. Between me and the calf was a raging, torrent of water, a wobbly farm gate and heaps of mud. And just to add injury to insult, it started to rain again.
Donning Nev's beanie and my old cardigan, stripping off my shoes and socks and rolling up my jeans legs, I stepped out into the weather with instructions to "come after me should I go down". The water was freezing, and lots of stuff was swirling around in it. I waded carefully through it, and then began my tremulous journey of mounting a wobbly old farm gate.
At this point, I was quite thankful for frozen feet because I imagine the pain of standing on the thin wire of the gate, would have been enough to turn me back. I felt completely triumphant when I jumped down off that gate, and made my way slowly through ankle-deep mud towards the little calf saying innocuous things like "it's all right little one, I'm here for you" etc
And then the little blighter, got up and ran away.
Climbing back into the warm car where my family watched (in awe, I thought), me looking like a wet, coughing wreck of the Hesperus, Harri said "can we go back to driving through puddles now Mum?"
Think I'll leave this wildlife rescue racket to Bindi.