I stayed at Navarra for a couple of days, helping Andy muster and draft the weaner wethers for sale. The sheep smelled clean and dry and Andy handled them gently in the yards; whenever they got turned around and confused he’d say to them, ‘come on, have a look, have a look…’
We loaded them onto the truck at dawn – two decks, just one trailer of a road train. In dusty boxes under the trailer travelled three working dogs, sharp-witted and quick to move the stock. They stretched their legs and flirted with Nutmeg while Andy and Jeff finished the paperwork.
It was all new to me, but I mustn’t have been too bad at it because Andy said he’d have a few more weeks of work for me at shearing time, if I wanted to come back. He wanted someone to help with the mustering and such.
I found it peaceful work – none of the psychological misery and existential angst of lawyering – and resources for this hobo life are pretty lean. A couple of weeks’ paid work would do me good.
So I said I’d be back – but first I had to go fishing.
Now you might or might not recall how, a bit earlier on, I’d run into a wildly well-equipped fishing expedition camped by the river at Mitchell. They were heading to the Gulf, and had said that I should come join them and catch a barra. I said I would, and I’m sure they mostly didn’t believe me.
The Gulf of Carpentaria is a few thousand kilometres North, a crocodile infested wilderness. I couldn’t wait.
So I told Andy that I’d be back to muster his sheep, and headed for the Gulf.