Mick's Acres of Woes
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“Wish it would rain like this back home sometimes” says Mick. His thoughts were miles away as he cleaned his SLR. He'd stripped the weapon down and there were bits and pieces scattered all over his bunk mattress. As he was wiping off the excess oil I asked him if it was a bit dry on his farm? “Yeah can be in summer, even the birds lie low during the day as it gets too hot to fly I guess. The place can be pretty as a picture after a drop of rain but it’s dry as a bone just now and as brown as you could imagine.”

I said, “If it rained like it does here in Vietnam Mick, you’d have to put up with the leaches, mozzies, scorpions, green snakes and all the other little nasties.” “Yeah, I don’t mind a bit of liquid sunshine like we get here around 4 o’clock some days” says Mick, “but this wet here can be a bit of a bugger. The worst part is all that red mud ... bloke can’t even walk in the stuff. Sticks to ya boots like glue.”

Mick was now reassembling his weapon and I noticed it had been a while since he’d said anything. “I’d like to see those few hundred acres you have back home one day Mick.” "Funny you should say that” he says. “I was only thinking about the fun I had with a few of the 1st tour guys on the place, when you came into the tent.”

“I nearly sold it a couple of years back” says Mick. “Why?” I asked. “I thought you loved the place” Yeah I do, but it hasn’t been without it’s problems.”

“It all started back in ’66 when I got home from the first tour of duty with 5RAR in Vietnam. I bought the farm as soon as I got home, had to borrow a few thousand quid from the bank. They registered a mortgage which was fair enough I suppose. I only had the place for a few months when the damn Govt. brought in this ridiculous Dollars and Cents system. I reckon the banks took advantage of everyone’s confusion. The next thing I know, they doubled my mortgage, and then wanted twice as much in monthly payments”.

“Of course the Government got in on this caper too, not only did they reduce the size of my property down to less than half, in something called hectares, the bloody local council had the audacity to double the rates. I was going to get about 500 head of sheep to make a few quid each year, as my neighbour used to cut about ten pound of wool from each sheep, now he reckons it’s less than half in 'kilosomething'. Even the price of grog and smokes went up and according to the Missus, it was the same with groceries.”

“My Army pay didn’t seem to go up by very much but I sure as hell noticed a couple of fines in my pay book were double the older ones. To make matters worse on the farm, I haven’t had a decent drop of rain since they started measuring it in those new fangled 'milles-something' or whatever they call them.”

“I reckoned, as I wasn’t getting anywhere, maybe even going backwards, I decided to sell up. I contacted the local Agent who came out for a look and now, you wouldn’t want to know, he tells me I’m too flaming far out of town.”

“So, I guess I’m keeping it mate, and you’re welcome to come and have a look, even stay on for a bit if you like. Just wait till we get some liquid sunshine first though. I might even change the 15 km sign post back to 9 mile to increase it’s value.”

“It used to be good old Pounds, Shillings, and Pence and a bloke knew where he stood, now these damn Dollars and other things. Bloody hell mate, I give up, lets go down to ‘The Hop Inn’ and buy a beer with our MPC.”

 

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