17/7/89

CHRIS AND SANDY ARE GONE, YAY!!⁰

We spent the morning lazing around upstairs then packed up a bit of stuff and walked up to Paradise Park Zoo. We got in free because yesterday (Sunday) I had shorn their three sheep for them. The head zookeeper, Stephen “Frog” French, had picked us up in his little yellow van with three motley looking sheep crammed in the back, and we had driven to a farm over at Cuffley where there was a shearing plant (actually only an overhead dagging plant¹ but in surprisingly good order and sharp!)

They were easy shearing and it was good to do a bit after nearly a year away from a farm and Frog said we would come up to the zoo and look around for nought².

We spent 2 hours there looking at the animals with Frog telling us about them.  They have lions, camels, highland cattle, goats, donkeys, coati mundi, mountain lion, sheep, reindeer, Vietnamese pigs, a llama & other bits and pieces, all in spacious and we’ll set out cages.

After we left there we walked down to Hoddesdon through the back roads in the woods. We spent an hour and a half in the pub then Linda went to Family Planning for a new supply of pills and some advice on the effects of antibiotics on it. We had tea at Maggie’s Bar and got a taxi home.

⁰They moved on to manage another pub…and good riddance: they were lazy, good-for-nothings.

¹A dagging plant is a machine for removing dirty wool from a sheep’s rear. It consists of a suspended electric motor driving a hand-piece.

² Pronounced “nowt” and meaning “nothing.”

11/7/89

Because we had such a slack day yesterday we decided to go for a bike ride.  Linda’s bike had a flat tire so we pushed the bikes down to Broxbourne and got the tires pumped up (some prick had pinched the pump off my bike when I was in Slough last week) then we bought some rolls, pies and drinks and cycled down to the canal. We had lunch and fed a family of ducks then cycled along beside the calm, slow moving water until we came to a paddock of sheep across on the opposite side. They were grazing right to the water’s edge and as we watched them I remembered Grey’s Creek at Grampians¹ where I spent a lot of time sitting on the banks with the dogs beside me watching the sheep and cattle grazing and the deep, calm, clear water of the creek flowing past.

We followed the canal to Cheshunt and went up into the town centre and had a drink at the Rose and Crown then sat in the park and watched stupid poser school boys playing tennis.  After that, and at a loss for something to do, we went to the pictures. We got a bus to Waltham Cross and wandered around while we waited for the cinema to open at 5:40. The movie was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and it was great. Non-stop action, funny, corny and great fun.

After the movie, we bussed back to Cheshunt and had a revolting tea of Super7² burgers then started home. My bike had a flat tire before we got out of Cheshunt so we ended up once again pushing our bikes for two hours to get home!

¹Grampians sheep station, in the South Island High Country, is where I had worked as a shepherd for four years.

² A convenience store chain.

3/7/89

I got up at 3:50 a.m. in order to go to work at Slough.  I biked down to the station and caught the 4:38 train to Liverpool Street.  It is beautiful at that time of day – cool and damp with ground fog hugging the base of the trees and creeping along the waterways.

I got the Circle Line to Paddington and a train out to Slough.  Went to Extra-staff and got sent to a job with a Welsh guy. After 2 hours of waiting in the sun for the truck we were supposed to be unloading to turn up, I rang to find out what the fuck was going on. “Sorry, we sent you to the wrong address.”  We ended up doing one and 1/2 hours work at another building site & the guy paid us 8 hours for it. Not bad. I spent the rest of the day watching TV at Bernie and Sue’s. Spent the night at the Bernie and Sue’s and spent Tuesday working at Fullers Transport opposite the Mars Factory¹, unloading bags of coconut from Sri Lanka and the Philippines and bloody heavy 140 lb sacks of cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast.  Went home in reverse order to the way I got out there.

¹The Mars Confectionery factory. The sacks of cocoa and coconut were being used to make Bounty Bars.

2/7/89

There was a big Gipsy¹ fight in the public bar.

¹Pikies…fucking scum! Thieves, vagabonds, liars, violent con-artists. Not to be confused with the traditional Gypsies of folklore: these people are vermin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikey

The fight erupted over an unpaid debt and involved about twenty males viciously beating each other with fists, bar-stools, bottles and glasses. The fight ended when one of the original two combatants bashed the other with a full bottle of Carlsberg beer, knocking him senseless. By the time the police arrived the bar was empty and we were cleaning up.

There was a big Gipsy fight in the public bar.