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Pat Ritter. Books

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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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