A Short story : South Island - Black ice escapade- 1950
At this very moment at this prime time to go on the net around the world , Jasmine ( our cat -one of them ) whom I usually take for walkies every day Is looking out the window , with me , at the weather . It is raining cats and dogs, the trees are bent over and the wind is icey cold -Reminds me of the days I was working in the back blocks of the Southern Alps , putting in all weather metal roads to the high country .We usually stayed on a the sheep & cattle station themselves while in their area . What great folk the were . They treated us like royalty . They provided Excellent accommodation at their staff quarters , were their staff had a cook etc, the food was out of this world . Wild pork , deer , trout , mutton and beef. I think from memory we actually started to put on the flab , even tho 'we were on contract and worked damn hard On Sundays the the local lads use to take us out shooting at the big game , Deer , accasional Thar . odd goat and definetly the pork for next two weeks for cookie's larder . In the summer it was out of this world working up their in the high country - In the winter You froze and work never stopped . every one just hit the straps and did their best . Many of us became great mates of some of the station staff.
Of interest One very huge station we stayed on was owned by the same family , who lived in England , never came to see their huge station of ( then 280,000 acres ) over four Generations of their family . It was all government lease at a pepper corn rental back then . The other unusual thing was their managers were of the same family for the same time ,They ran it as if they owned it and lived in palatial homesteads provided. I can remember to this day some of their station staff rescueing me One foul winter evening . It had been snowing lightly most of the day and i had remained behind to get things ready for the next day .When you are in this type of country -99 % the experienced ones who know the conditions and country ,look after the green horns ( the likes of us )It is just auto matic - no thanks required They do ( especially in winter ) to agree to a be home time , this is for your own safety . NO one breaks that rule !!! except me who was abit of 24 hr bossy B !!, a rebel , a know all , ( gosh how i have changed to being a very quite oldy poppa to the gran _ kids .
OUR pick ups ( trucks )to carry our tools etc - were internationals with very powerful 6 cylinder work horses and quite often did a 100,000 Miles __ yes miles , before the needed anything major . Any way I was heading back to the station , about an hour or so later than normal , came down this hill hit the
" black ice " and slide out of control a couple thousand yards . missed the little bridge and landed on the vehicle side in some very icey mountain water in this small stream . I couldnt get out and i was thinking of pushing out the front window with my boots . I had been thinking about for a while , but also had condemplated about being exposed to the very freezing weather ,I suppose 1.1/2 hrs had ticked over when next a see a couple of the station work staff knocking on the vehicle , giving me the thumbs up sign . They next ( their were three of them ) next all hooked onto the service wagon and pulled it up the bank onto the paddock with their horses . next the tied a rope onto the door handle and yanked that open with the same moke's!! ,The first thing one of them said to me , Was " have you got a licence mate to drive that thing . hell man it is not that hard to drive down the road and drive over our Bridge . ( nothing like - are you ok - or anything ) they slapped the extra clothing they had with them on me .put me up on behind one the guys on his horse and headed for the Staff Quarters back at the homestead, took about another good hr . Nothing was said as they stripped me bear and put me in the moveable bath by the huge log fire . Cookie was their ( wife of one of the men ) directing operations , grinning all over and scrubbing me hard in that hot water . gradually I started to un thaw . . But the kept me in that bath for sometime adding hot water . They had also plied me with a good amount Rum toddies . Next the men hauled me out of that bath, put heated towells on me for a while then dressed me in some of their winter gear , then into bed . i was not allowed to get up till late next day , my staff had gone to work and were on their way back just as many of the station hands were coming in . Cookie put on a terific meal and we knocked off a bottle or two . Before going to bed the station foreman came over to me and very quitely spoke to me . " He said - " don't ever break the rules in this country mate !!! you can be alive one minute and dead the next . you were lucky this time . By the way one of your boys rang your boss , He sending out another service truck and pick up the banged up one . Now you be back on time tomorrow. cookie hates the the people she is feeding being late for their evening meal , Says it spoils the meat or something . Ok mate . remember what I said . Next day on we went with out work . I cannot recall ever being late again for tea while we were in that area up high in the Southern Alps in NZ. Wonderfull memories ! ok
Till we meet again - Regards - edmonds