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Ned's Corner postscript and arrival at the Marshman's farm via Grass Patch

Posted by Trevor Flinn

A total of 7mm of rain fell on the night of the Ned’s Corner Twig. I can only assume the Gods were pleased ... I certainly was.   

Grass Patch triptych: Trevor arrives at farm number two, home of the Marshman familyGrass Patch triptych: Trevor arrives at farm number two, home of the Marshman family

Kristy, the Munglinup School Principle, who also attended the Sunday night Twig, seemed pleased with the event when I ran into her on Friday the 12th of September. 

I was heading west for the weekend, so on my way through ‘Mungy’ thought I’d personally thank the kids for their great work with the shadow show, but unfortunately I hadn’t factored in the 2.30pm early finishing time on a Friday, so I was 30 minutes late and consequently missed the boat. I was, however, able to have a brief chat with Kristy, who waved me down as I was about to drive on. She said how much she enjoyed the Ned’s Corner Twig and kindly opened up the school again so I could collect the box of shadow puppets, which had been dropped in by the Barrett girls. 

I was intending to set up and photograph each of the 14 or so of the individual characters, before returning them to the kids, in order to properly document the story and potentially transform the shadow play into book form.

I might be a little optimistic but I couldn’t help but feel the story of The Very Hungry Tiger Snake had real literary potential. It has everything ... conflict, action, violence, regurgitation, native Australian animals and a lovely moral about watching what you eat – surely a valuable lesson in this age of childhood obesity and diabetes. 

I have a good friend who is wiz designer who might be persuaded to help to translate shots of the various characters into picture book format.  With a little bit of work there was every chance to be able to have something produced and printed in time for Christmas! 

So by Monday morning I had arrived back at Mungy School (30 minutes late again because I had to have a tick removed at the Ravensthorpe Hospital), thanked the kids as I had originally intended, and took a few pictures of them with their shadow puppets in front of the Munglinup School sign. I also took a few more with the Barrett girls standing in the foreground holding bags of Ned’s Corner Sheep Poo (a publicity shot for the sale of the magical poo as a potential seed funder for the printing cost of the book). 

If we could somehow get around the quarantine restrictions, Ned’s Corner sheep poo could become a national phenomenon. People who love gardening love sheep poo and would, I’m certain, be prepared ‘dig deep’ and spend up on a 100 gm bag of dried, magical sheep poo. It is after all a very worthy cause.

After saying goodbye, I headed into Esperance and eventually on to Grass Patch and farm number 2, the home to Aneka and Elliot Marshman, their three kids, two dogs, two cows, two pigs, five piglets, 16 laying hens, 3 roosters and a pet sheep called Chookie. I will have the names of all the animals (kids included) by the end of the week so stay tuned for that. 

As I turned off the main road and headed down the narrower bitumen, then freshly graded gravel road, the afternoon sun bathed everything in a golden light. The numerous salt lakes I passed looked very inviting. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a large and very healthy looking fox shot in front of me and disappeared into a ripening field of wheat. 

I realise of course that foxes cause all kinds of serious problems for livestock and native fauna populations. However I could not pretend not to be impressed by the sudden appearance of such a lithe creature in broad daylight. 

I drove on and just minutes later a huge jaguar-like cat past the front of my vehicle, in the same direction, also disappearing into the wheat. This time I was not quite as impressed, because cats (like foxes) are expert hunters and can single handedly wipe out populations of native birds and other little critters. This thought leapt into my head seconds after marveling at another lithe and patterned body shooting past.

Just as I was nearing the Marshman farm, far up ahead I glimpsed a rabbit, also crossing the road in the same direction as both the cat and the fox. 

Surely there was something significant about seeing these three animals in such quick succession. In a way it would have made more sense if I saw the animals in revers order. But who knows. Perhaps I am just making a mountain out of a molehill. I wonder. 

I am writing this from the Marshman’s lovely seasonal workers’ cottage, located but a stones throw from their house. We just shared a lovely meal of fish cakes and fresh salad and had a great old chat about all kinds of things. I feel so at home and relaxed here.

Aneka and Elliot are fantastic people, I can already tell I’m going to have an absolute ball. 

This must surely be the best job in the world! 

   

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