Thursday 4 June 2020


Tim employs a few of us more mature folk all year round on his 12 hectare kiwifruit orchard.  He never consciously chose us as staff- we just arrived as chattels from another orchard that his father owned several years ago.

When he first inherited us, Tim looked a tad unsure but, if he found our team rather unsettling as a potential work-force, he was too polite to say so and gave us the benefit of the doubt.  Would we prove to be fit and capable or a set of decrepit old dead-beats that, if we died on the job, he would have to cremate in the fire-pit behind Block 9?

But despite our wrinkles, bad shoulders, sore necks, bung knees and selective memories, we reckon  our approval ratings have soared off the Richter scale.

Apart from our beautiful personalities, we work with such dedication and gusto you'd swear all 5 of us were half our combined age of 327 years. In my own uninformed opinion, our work ethic is unsurpassed and each of us astonish Tim each and every day with our talents and skills.

It may seem a bit like we are blowing our own trumpets but I ask you this. If we don't, who will?

At our age, we are sometimes to be found at doctor surgeries or x-ray clinics instead of at the orchard. Spike, especially, has injured almost every part of his anatomy and one time even got whisked off the property in a helicopter when his thumb was severed from the rest of him. During the whole flight he was praying like crazy that some clever surgeon could re-attach it to his hand, not because he still wanted to be able to prune kiwifruit but so he could play his guitar.  Poor priorities in my opinion.

Our team follows Tim's instructions with the utmost care and accuracy except for the occasional blip like when I demolished an entire kiwifruit plant with my chainsaw.

As recorded in my last blog I felt it really important to confess the magnitude of my blip, my appalling blunder, to our boss, Tim.

On the other hand, I was kind of hoping not to see Tim that same day so I had more time to mentally recover but Spike and I were zooming around on the buggy when around the corner, who is driving along the track, but the very man himself.  He pulled over for a chat and we small-talked about copper spray and how we need rain and Donald Trump while the whole time I am plucking up my courage...

"Tim", I blurted from buggy through his ute-window, "I have something terrible to confess..."

I think he thought I was about to announce that I had, all by myself, pulled off a bank robbery or sneezed Covid-19 all over his grandmother.

"Tim, I am so sorry but I destroyed a plant"

Tim laughed. "How do you mean? Cut off the wrong bit?"

Spike ever so helpfully interjected at this point, "Um, she destroyed the entire plant complete with canopy cover. All gone, Tim. Gone!"

It took a few seconds for this news to register but, even when it did, Tim remained calm.

"And what did you learn from that mistake, Bernadette?"

"Oh, I learned such a lot, Tim. Like never to do that again"

"Well, then", Tim grinned, "These things happen. I have way bigger things to worry about"

I thought to myself how anything he worries about has to be bigger than the stump my chainsaw left behind but thought this was no time to be humorous.

"Bernadette, if you learned from your mistake, then it's all good".

"Thank you for being so understanding, Tim", I said with huge relief.

Apart from learning to always check and double-check before using a chainsaw, what is the best thing I learned today? That Tim is a very good person. He is kind and calm. He expects good work and will tell off a worker when necessary but puts people before profit and admits to his own mistakes.


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