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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:11 pm

'The Drover' - Page 38:

‘Pull up a stump and have a break…we’ll let them settle for a couple of hours in the heat and move them to camp later.’ Harry told his companions.
Ted and Rose lay their saddles and bridles on the ground under the huge gum tree; filled their quart pots with water from the canvas waterbag, water is important in the bush – you can never have enough, each carried a canvas waterbag filled with water strapped to their saddles. After filling their quart pots with water, they placed them next to the fire to heat the water to make their tea.
‘How’re you coping so far, Rose?’ Harry asked.
‘Is this all we do all day?’ she replied.
‘Droving is a slow business but when there is feed along the stock routes like it is now, it’s a good time to pass the day, don’t you think?’ Harry told her.
‘Have you always been a drover, Harry?’ She inquired.
‘Since I was 13 – me Dad was a drover and his Dad before him, our family always drove cattle or sheep. I have two brothers who are drovers and a couple of sisters married to drovers, you could say it’s in our blood.’
‘How do you know the sheep won’t go far?’ She wanted to know.
‘Sheep are like humans – they follow a leader and the dogs keep them in check.’ Harry told her.
‘How’s your tea, Ted?’ Harry asked.
‘Wonderful, you know this is like a holiday…a working holiday.’ He replied in his quiet drawl.
‘Mighten be much of a holiday if we get rain. Those storm clouds up there,’ Harry nodded to the sky, ‘it’s hot enough for rain, only hope it rains at night when we’re asleep – I love sleeping when it’s raining.’
‘How far have we got before we camp for the night?’ Rose asked.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:11 pm

'The Drover' - Page 39:

‘Ah, we’re about half-way, Henry should have camp set up by now.’ Harry answered.
‘What do we have for dinner, Harry?’ Rose asked.
‘According to Henry – goanna; porcupine, rabbit, snake.’ Harry started to tell her.
‘That’s enough – he wouldn’t cook that for dinner would he?’ Rose abruptly interrupted.
‘You don’t know what Henry’s cooking, kangaroo might be on the menu – he’s aboriginal – you know.’ Harry answered.
‘Doesn’t he cook anything we might like to eat?’ Rose answered.
‘I don’t know; it all depends on road kill – or he might shoot some on the way to the camp; you’ll have to ask him when we get there.’ Harry informed Rose; Ted looked across to Harry giving a slight wink and a nod of his head.
‘Do you want a sandwich – my sister made these this morning before we left,’ He handed each a sandwich.
‘Any more questions Rose – I’m about to have a kip.’ Harry asked.
‘No – I’ll think of some, don’t worry.’ She answered.
‘I bet you will.’ Harry answered under his breathe, lay down and rested his head against his saddle, covered his face with his hat in a couple of seconds was heard snoring.

The sun was high in the sky when Harry awoke, ‘alright you two we’re off.’ He stood, brushed dirt onto the fire completely distinguishing it.
His horse was nearby; he walked over with a bridle swung across his forearm quietly spoke to the animal as if it was an old long lost friend. He placed the bridle over the horse’s head, inserted the steel bit in its mouth and fastened the cheek straps. After he removed the dinner camp hobbles the horse followed Harry to the huge gum tree; he saddled him and swung into the seat.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:08 am

'The Drover' - Page 40:

‘If you’re going to be the horse tailer Rose, you’d better get a wriggle on, the storm is coming.’ He called to her.
‘Since when have I been the horse tailer?’ She asked in astonishment.
‘Since I said - you’re the horse tailer.’
Rose caught her horse and in no time threw the saddle on its back and mounted in a graceful motion. She sits a horse well, Harry thought, she’s too much of a city rider but over time she might change, his thoughts were grandeur and thought no more about Roger, but he will need to talk to her about him. She was beautiful.
The sheep had moved about a mile down the stock route; Harry rode out wide to near the front. Sheep are stupid animals, he thought whilst riding around the mob to lead them off into the direction of the Warrego River.
Henry should have the brake set by the time they arrived at the camp, he had about two miles to go and the sheep were going well for a mob of five thousand, flashed through his mind.
There are always one or two in the mob that want to break away from the mob and go their own way – a bit like people, Harry mused. He whistled one of the dogs to get around the breakaway sheep and put them back into the mob. It was as if the dog had a remote control hooked to it’s collar and did exactly as Harry wanted. Each dog was trained to perfection, Harry knew if they weren’t up to the task they wouldn’t live to go on another trip.
A slight breeze flickered and Harry knew if he didn’t have the sheep in camp in another hour, rain would scatter them to kingdom come. Urging them forward and toward the river he saw Henry walking toward him in the far distance.
Henry pointed in the direction of where he’d made the night camp; rolled out the wire-netting to house the sheep. Dark storm clouds formed and wind started to blow, the sweet smell of rain hovered in the atmosphere – it was coming closer.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:52 pm

'The Drover' - Page 41:

‘Get round em Spike,’ he shouted to his favourite sheep dog. At the sound of his master’s voice the dog barked and pushed the lead sheep toward the opening to the brake.
Rose and Ted followed Harry’s orders and finally the last of the sheep followed the others in. Henry fastened the final panel.
‘They’ll be right till morning for a drink Henry,’ Harry called out, ‘it’s going to piss down raining in a minute; you got the camp set up.’
‘Sure have Boss, I’ll finish here and see you over there.’ Harry knew he could depend on Henry to do the right thing and his decision to have Henry as camp cook was the right one to make.
The three rode across to the camp, Henry had parked the truck near to the creek bank, spread a tarpaulin from branches of the tree over the crate of the truck.
The wind built to a hard blow and by the time the three riders let their horses go and settled into the camp, rain began to fall, ‘how’s that for luck, we made it in time,’ Harry pronounced, ‘now to eat, what have you got for us Henry, we’re had a hard day.’
‘Just like you said Boss, a bit of kangaroo, goanna; porcupine, rabbit, snake, it’s cooking in the camp ovens.’ Henry drawled with a small smile on his face showing clean white teeth.
‘Are you serious?’ Rose proclaimed.
‘Wait till you taste it, the flavours are delicious.’ Henry said.
The rain poured onto the tarpaulin. Henry had positioned a pole to allow the water to run from the centre onto the ground.
‘It won’t rain for long – it’s only a sun shower, see the rainbow, wonder if there’s gold at the end of it.’ Harry questioned.
‘You don’t believe in that stuff – do you?’ Rose asked.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:17 pm

'The Drover' - Page 42:

‘My peoples know all about rainbows – it’s our Dreamtime,’ Henry said, ‘Boss, I’ll throw a line in to catch some fish for breakfast.’
‘I’ll come with you.’ Rose said.
The rain stopped, Henry and Rose walked to the river’s edge carrying a bamboo rod each, a fishing line extended from the top of the rod and half way down the line a cork and at the end of the line a fishing hook. Henry took scrimps from a bucket; and threaded one on the hook before throwing the line into the water. When he set up camp he’d caught a handful of scrimps in a four gallon drum with holes in the bottom and a bone fastened to the inside of the drum.
‘I’ve never fished this way before.’ Rose said.
‘Normally I spear them but this time I’ll use a rod and cork.’ Henry replied. Rose didn’t know whether to believe Henry about his way of life but for this time she was willing to go along with what he told her.

Chapter 6

Harry and Ted sat on a log in the warmth beside the fire, ‘you were in the war – Ted.’ Harry asked when he lit up a roll your own cigarette made from tobacco and cigarette paper.
‘Yeah, it’s something I don’t like to talk about.’ Ted said.
‘Alright then, it’s your business – we won’t talk about it, I sorry I brought it up.’ Harry suggested.
‘It was tough – I was a prisoner-of-war in Changi.’ Ted shared with Harry.
‘Where’s Changi?’ Harry inquired with a blank look on his face.
‘It’s a prison in Malaya – near Singapore.’ Ted explained.
‘I’m not educated Ted – I didn’t go to school to learn where places are.’ Harry implied. He felt embarrassed he was not educated to share this information.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:24 pm

'The Drover' - Page 43:

‘Its north of Australia; the Japanese invaded Singapore in 1942 – you may have heard about it.’
‘Na…ah hang on a minute I might have seen something on the newsreel at the pictures, yeah, I remember the planes bombing somewhere up there…I remember now, you were there, ah.’ Harry was astonished to think Ted was in amongst the battle with the Japanese, his vision returned to the time he was at the pictures when the newsreel came on and he saw planes letting bombs go.
‘I was there alright, it was the worst time of my life; I honestly thought I was going to die.’
‘How long were you there?’ Harry asked.
‘Just over 3 years almost 4 – we landed in February 41 and stayed until the war ended in 45.’
‘That’s a long time.’ Harry muttered.
‘Like I said, it was the worst time of my life – I didn’t know if I was going to see my family again – we lost contact when we surrendered.’ In a way Ted felt relieved to share with someone his story of imprisonment under the Japanese during the war.
It was well known the returned soldiers; particularly those who were taken prisoner by the Japanese didn’t want to talk about their experiences. They felt ashamed to be a prisoner-of-war when their mates battled the war and many were killed.
‘Pa, Pa, look what I caught.’ Voiced through the air, Rose ran up the bank with two yellow bellies in her hand, ‘I caught them myself, Pa,’ her smile showed how delighted she was to catch a fish.
‘That’s wonderful daughter – we can have fish for breakfast.’ Ted told her.
Henry joined the camp exhibiting a couple more yellow belly, ‘they’re biting Boss – you should have seen Rose; she almost piddled herself with excitement when she caught her first fish and when she caught the next one I thought she did piddle herself, she was so excited.’ Henry shared with the others.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:29 pm

'The Drover' - Page 44:

‘I did not – Henry, you’re teasing me – it was great Pa, I’ve never fished like that before – I can’t wait until tomorrow night – can we Henry, do it again?’ Rose asked in excitement.
‘I don’t see why not.’ Henry rejoiced in telling her, ‘what about some grub – I’m hungry.’
Henry uncovered the lids from the camp ovens and displayed the food he’d cooked. In one oven was a leg of mutton, part of the killer he dressed in the afternoon after setting up camp. In another, potatoes; onions; and carrots boiled to the right temperature and in a third, a damper. A large billy filled with water was bought to the boil.
Henry threw a handful of bushels tea leaves into the water. He tapped the side of the billy with a stick to let the tea leaves settle to the bottom. Before he poured tea into pannikins he swung it over his right shoulder twice in a clockwise direction than swung it in the opposite direction the same.
On the side of the truck was built a camp kitchen with a drop down lid used as a table; the food was placed for carving and selection onto plates. Each person took their turn at filling their plate with sufficient food before finding a seat on a nearby log.
‘Where’s the kangaroo; goanna; porcupine, rabbit, and snake you said you were cooking?’ Rose asked with a mouthful of morsel.
‘I thought we’d have mutton tonight and have something different tomorrow night.’ Henry replied.
Rose was hungry and finished her plate before the others, ‘that was the best food I’ve ever eaten, Henry – you are a great cook.’ She told him.
‘You got enough room for pudden – I’ve cooked your mother’s bread and butter custard.’ Henry said.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:28 pm

'The Drover' - Page 45:

‘I think so – Mum couldn’t cook like this.’ She continued.
Henry dished up bread and butter custard and all was satisfied after a slice of damper and billy tea.
‘I’ll wash up,’ Rose said.
‘You’ve never washed up in your life.’ her father stated.
‘After this meal I’m happy to help out.’ Rose continued.
‘I’ll help.’ Henry called.
Harry and Ted moved away from the camp to have a smoke. A full moon made it as bright as daytime. After they settled and lite up a smoke Harry said, ‘I don’t want you to talk about the war if you don’t want too but I’m interested how you survived. It must have been tough.’
‘I suppose I should start at the beginning.’ Ted said.
‘Whatever you want to say will do.’ Harry wanted Ted to tell his story in his own time; he couldn’t imagine being held a prisoner-of-war for three years or more and come out of the ordeal sane.
‘At the time I joined up I thought it was too late because of my age but they took me – they must have scrapped the bottom of the barrel. We trained at Redbank in Brisbane for a few weeks and then got shipped off to Malaya. It was February 41; it took about two and a half weeks on the boat.’
‘Pa and Harry, I’m off to bed, see you both in the morning.’ Rose called out.
‘Don’t forget you’re the horse tailer – do you know what to do?’ Harry answered.
‘Get the horses in, I suppose – anything else.’ Rose replied in an inquisitive voice.
‘Let the dogs go for a run,’ Harry commanded.
‘Alright, goodnight - see you both in the morning.’
‘Goodnight.’ Both said in unison.
Harry thought more of Ted’s story and wanted to hear the rest of his tale but it was getting late and he had to have a bathe before he went to bed. Since Rose had gone to bed he could now have a dip in the river without embarrassment of being seen.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:48 pm

'The Drover' - Page 46:

‘Ted, do you mind if we continue your story tomorrow – I’ve got to go for a skinny dip before I go to bed.’ Harry asked.
‘Yeah, that’ll be okay – I’m exhausted anyway and should turn in, see you in the morning bright and early.’ Ted answered.
Ted wanted to share the rest of his story with Harry but each time he thought about those days the nightmares returned to haunt his every moment, especially the atrocities handed out by his captors.
Before retiring to bed Harry went to the river stripped and entered the water. He washed himself with soap and brushed his teeth with his toothbrush. After drying on a towel he retired to his swag and in no time fell into a deep sleep, his thoughts only of Rose and images of Ted held as a prisoner-of-war.

The smell of freshly cooked fish spread through the camp as the sun broke through the early morning dawn.
Harry awoke with a startle and thought he’d slept in. He always awoke before dawn, a habit he had since starting droving. His nostrils filled with the fresh morning air and the smell of cooked fish.
‘I’ve let the sheep go and your horse is saddled and tethered,’ Rose told Harry when he joined them.
‘Thanks Rose, how is everyone this morning?’ Harry said with a smile in his voice.
‘Wonderful,’ Ted replied, ‘I’ve never felt as good in a long time.’
‘Brekkies ready – come and get it’, Henry called and the others formed a circle around the camp fire. Each secured a plate filled with fish and ate to their heart’s content, finished off with a pannikin of hot black tea and freshly cooked Johnny cakes.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:41 pm

'The Drover' - Page 47:

Daylight broke across the horizon; birds sang their early morning songs.
‘What are these?’ Rose asked before she mouthed a Johnny cake.
‘They’re Johnny cakes, a bit of flour, water, cream-of-tartar, soda and drippen.’ Henry told her.
‘Why are they called Johnny cakes? Did a fellow named Johnny invent them?’ She asked.
‘I dun know – Harry taught me how to cook them, do you know Harry?’ Henry asked.
‘No, my father taught me and he never told me who invented them,’ Harry answered, ‘they’re pretty good, the fish are good too’ he finished with a piece in his mouth, ‘did you let the dogs go for a run Rose?’ He mumbled with a mouth filled with food.
‘Yes Boss, they emptied out and are ready for the day – the sheep are down along the river drinking.’ She explained.
‘Alright then we’d better hit the road, Henry we’ll meet you at the 12 mile.’ Harry commanded.
All three finished breakfast, mounted their horses, whistled the dogs and commenced to ride around the sheep.
Sheep are strange creatures, there is always a leader, much like humans, and others follow the leader, just like humans.

It was mid morning and time to rest the sheep to graze, ‘we’ll put the billy on for a cuppa, what’d ya reckon?’ Harry cooed to the other two who were across the other side of the mob. Both waved and headed to where Harry stopped under the shade of a gum tree near the river.
By the time they dismounted Harry had a fire going and his quart-pot boiled. The others joined him. Henry prepared damper and jam for morning smoko and all three shared.
Leaning against his saddle Harry said, ‘I’m having a kip, the sheep will be okay.’ He laid his head against the saddle and pushed his hat over his face, snoring erupted from his nostrils.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:00 pm

'The Drover' - Page 48:

‘We’d better have a rest also Pa,’ Rose shared with her father and both lay down with their heads on their saddles to rest. Under the shade of the gum tree, a slight breeze, Rose’s eyes closed.
Rose awoke with a smile – she now understood why Harry loved droving; it was his life, his destiny. She would do anything to make this trip a success. She was beginning to take a shine to him but this wasn’t the time or place to commence a romance. It was back to work.
She stood and walked to recapture the horses. With all three in hand she bought them to the shade of the tree when the others slowly awoke from their deep sleep.
‘Thanks Rose,’ Harry muttered rubbing his face to wipe away the sleep, ‘you’ll make a horse tailer yet.’
All three saddled their mounts and slowly reformed their previous positions – Harry at the tail; Rose on one wing and her father on the other. They moved the sheep off.
Harry moved toward Ted’s wing and soon both men came abreast. He swung his right leg over the pommel of the saddle, drew tobacco from his shirt pocket and rolled a cigarette, cupped his hand around the cigarette and lit it with a match. Slowly drawing on the cigarette he said, ‘Ted, we have time, do you want to tell me more of your story?’
‘Yeah, alright – where were we?’ Ted asked.
‘You arrived in Malaya – I think. What happened next?’
‘We were at Mersing when Japan entered the war and began their invasion of Malaya. They already reached Johore by January 42 and on the 21st we started the fight with Japan. We had 25 pounder field guns and this was when we were attacked by the Japanese aircraft.’
‘Woe up a bit, I have no idea what you’re talking about – where are these places? They’re all foreign to me.’ Harry spluttered.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:01 pm

'The Drover' - Page 49:

‘Sorry Harry, its north of Australia, past New Guinea and the bottom of China.’
‘I know where China is – alright I’ve got a bit of a picture of where it is, go on.’
‘We were there about 12 months before the fighting started. Our job was to stop the Japanese from moving south. When the fighting started we were attacked by Japanese aircraft.’
‘What’d you do – what was your job – did you shoot back at them?’ Harry wanted to know.
‘I was a signalman, my job to make certain the wires were always connected for communication. One time I was in a bomb shelter and communication went dead. The wires along the line must have been hit by a bomb and broke.’
‘What’d you do?’
‘I asked the Lieutenant for his revolver and he gave it to me. I strapped it on and left the bunker. It was raining and the line was hard to see. I felt my way along the length of wire and found a break and in the dark joined the wire together. Shells blasted the area and one time I thought I was a goner when I lay flat on my tummy. After the bombing stopped I started back to the bunker. The rain poured down in torrents, I was wet through to the skin. On the way back I saw a cave and thought it was a good thing at the time to go into the cave until the rain stopped.’ Harry was in awe of the story told by Ted, he visioned the soaked uniform and Ted moving into the cave.
‘I’m listening.’ Harry said locking eyes on Ted to encourage him to tell him more, he’s a brave fellow if ever he knew one, Harry thought.
‘It was dark and the flash light I carried was dull. Inside the cave the glow from the touch showed a pair of eyes. I didn’t know if it was a Japanese soldier or a mountain lion – we’d seen a few mountain lions since we arrived. Anyway I hightailed it out of there and returned to the bunker.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:17 pm

'The Drover' - Page 50:

‘Alright you two I’m not being paid enough to do the job of three.’ Rose called to Harry and her father.
‘We’ll catch up later; I want to know the rest.’ Harry told Ted and returned to the tail of the mob.
Droving is a lonely life; at times dangerous particularly when water is scarce. This trip was a joy because Harry enjoyed listening to Ted’s story and the sheep grazed along the stock route. Because they only travelled six miles a day Harry worked out he had plenty of time for rest.

Chapter 7

It was almost noon when Harry cooed out to the other two to have a break near the river. There was a slight cool breeze blowing and the sheep looked relaxed. He was happy with wether sheep because to control them was easier compared to ewes and lambs. Wethers were better sheep to drive.
Under the shade of a gum tree near the river bank Harry dismounted from his horse; unsaddled and placed dinner camp hobbles around its front legs and let it graze. The other two did the same and joined Harry by the fire he’d built to boil their quart pots and have lunch. Henry made sandwiches for their lunches with mutton and damper sprinkled with golden syrup over the meat.
Rose moved away from the camp to rest under a nearby gum tree to give her father and Harry time to chat. She didn’t want to be in their conversation or to know what they were talking about, especially if it was about the war.
She had no desire to mention the war with her father because; in the past he almost chopped her head off with abuse and told her it was none of her business. She was alarmed at the thought he would never allow her to wear rubber thongs because they had made in Japan stamped on them. She never understood why he hated Japanese however; it was his problem, not hers.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:56 pm

'The Drover' - Page 51:

‘What happened after you got back to the bunker?’ Harry asked.
‘The line was re-connected and communication fixed. The fight went on but we were forced to withdraw to Singapore Island. Many lives were lost - a new unit called ‘G Troop’ was formed’.
‘Weren’t you scared?’
‘Bloody oath, we were all terrified and thought we were going to die.’
‘Don’t worry I’d be the same – you’re a bloody hero, Ted. Did you know?’
‘No, I’m not a hero; those people who fought and were killed are the heroes, those ones who fought and fell back to Singapore Harbour. We fought like this for about a fortnight and on the 14th February we surrendered.’
‘That must have been a tough thing to do.’
‘I thought we could have fought on but the top brass told us to put our guns down on the ground and raise our arms. It was strange, in the distance we heard noises – it sounded like army tanks and over the horizon we saw hundreds of Japanese riding bicycles without tyres – the sound from the steel rim of the bicycles on the road sounded as if army tanks were coming.’
‘You must have been shattered.’
‘We’d been fighting for over a fortnight and losing the battle, then the water supply was cut off to one million Singapore civilians. They were being massacred by the intense bombardment of bombs – death was everywhere.’
Harry couldn’t believe anything of this magnitude could exist among human beings. In his minds eye he saw people dead, others fleeing from the enemy and proud to know men like Ted who fought brave to fight the enemy - had to surrender.
‘I can’t imagine how you put your rifles down and surrendered.’ Harry questioned.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:56 pm

'The Drover' - Page 52:

‘We were losing men and the people of Singapore were being killed – it was a massacre – we had to do something; surrender was the only option.’ Ted admitted sadly.
Harry couldn’t think of anymore to ask Ted, his mind filled with horror when he visioned death, war and thought how lucky he was to be a drover, ‘we better get back to the job at hand – are you okay?’ Harry asked.
‘Yeah, I’ll be okay – I’ve never told anyone about this before and it sort of shakes me up a bit with the memory of it. I don’t know how we survived but not all of us got through.’
Both men looked at each other in wonderment, Harry thinking how in hell anyone survived and his job as a drover was an easy one compared to fighting in a war.
Ted became solemn, thinking about his mates he buried and left behind. It was a time in his life he wished to block out but talking to Harry released ghosts from the past. It was good to face those ghosts head on and talk to someone about what happened to bring them out into the open.
‘Okay you two back on the job.’ Rose sang out in a bid to tell Harry and her Pa there was work to do and another couple of miles to go for the day. It was day two and another twenty-eight days before they reached their destination.

Droving sheep is looking at the arse-end of a sheep most of the day; there wasn’t much else to do but dream of what may be, possibly enjoying a swim in the afternoon or late evening in the river. Rose thought of these things and fishing, she loved fishing since her first time when she caught a yellow belly. It was the first fish she had caught in her life.
Henry had the camp established by late afternoon when the mob arrived to be locked away for the night.

One day melted into the next and each day Ted shared his story with Harry, ‘after we surrendered we marched 20 miles to Changi Prison, men cried with disappointment. I drank half a bottle of wine and went to sleep. In the early part the Japanese were decent blokes, we had plenty of food and wine.’
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