In spite of all the cooking and serving required to care for the shearers and the remainder of the ‘group’ (shed hands, rouseabouts and so on.), I adored the ‘smoko’ breaks – at the shearing shed – at 9.30am and again at 3pm – SHARP!! What’s more, here was one of the astounding sides to these ‘imaginable chaps’ – Pat and Ned. At whatever point I was located, on my way with the ‘teas’ – the words would resound around the shed – ‘ducks on the lake’. Huh? In the event that I heard them, they absolutely made no difference to me. Later I would discover this was the shearers’ standard admonition that a lady was drawing nearer and every ‘filthy jingle and yarns’ and any awful language must stop until said woman was out of hearing. Respectful Manners?? All things considered, I never….
‘There was development at the station’ – are the main expressions of an acclaimed Aussie sonnet, yet I’m certain ‘Banjo’ Patterson would have concurred – there was unmistakably progressively hot development and sound at the shearing shed. Outwardly there was a lot of processing around of sheep, pressed sardine-like in their pens. The shorn ones uproariously bleating their dissent at the shock of the manner in which their valuable jackets had been unceremoniously taken from them. Those still ‘in pausing’ in a manner of speaking, similarly boisterously bleating their dread of the obscure that anticipated them in the ‘damnation gap’ that people call a shearing shed. Nothing that more established, experienced hands needed to ‘baa’ about motivated certainty – or could scatter the psyche desensitizing fear the amateurs were feeling. (It may just be a little brain, yet the dread weaving machines!)
Aside from sheep baa-ing, and hounds yapping, the commotion of the engine that ran the shearing machines was serious. At whatever point it euphorically halted – yes – for the ‘smoko’ – everybody discovered they needed to bring down their voices many decibels in the ‘stunning’ quietness that followed. ‘Down’ an ideal opportunity for the shearers themselves – however ‘full on’ for the remainder of the shedhands – ‘tossing’ the last downy, ‘evading’ it and heaping it into the fleece bundle in the fleece press; purging the outside checking pens for the shorn sheep at the base of the chute, having recorded their numbers; moving each gathering of sheep one pen nearer to the shearing stage; and attempting to swallow down a ‘cuppa’ and take a few bunches of sandwiches and cake to eat on the run. At times there was a second to sit and appreciate – however time after time, ‘smoko’ was over with no break for these laborers.
Also, the smell of a shearing shed resembles nothing else you would ever understanding. It’s like all that lumber of the pens and the floor have retained the incalculable long stretches of lanolin, the common oil in the fleece, and the fleece smell itself, and the creatures’ own specific smell, and their verdant breath – and their fertilizer pellets shearing machine that don’t smell horrible, on the grounds that they are herbivores. What’s more, the ‘foundation note’ to this blend? The odd smoke or three of diesel exuding from the ‘beast’ engine that controlled the shearing machine – and thusly, the shearers’ handpieces. A power association would not be a chance until some numerous years after the fact.
Referencing the lanolin has recently carried another memory to the surface. With all the strength and ‘harsh edges’ of these two men, Pat and Ned, you would not accept exactly how delicate and smooth their hands were, because of this lanolin in the fleece. They had hands that any woman would straightforwardly respect and covertly pine for – perhaps the unrivaled ‘non-abrasiveness’ about shearers?
I had a fascinating endeavor at ‘tossing’ a downy – wherein I really hurled myself with it. The thought is to get the downy in a mysterious, mystery way so it would then be able to be ‘tossed’ over the fleece arranging table – a huge steel outline secured with wide twister wire – wherein the enchantment occurs, in that it lands totally spread out over the entire profundity and expansiveness of that table. The ‘mystery’ is advised to you and exhibited commonly, yet stays a ‘mystery’ to a few of us. I attempted, I bombed terribly, everybody watched and giggled, I become flushed – and withdrew quickly to my Kitchen and my mystery and supernatural mixtures that THEY couldn’t do!