Sunday, August 22, 2010


Blogger had a crash last night and I wasn't prepared to say out of bed for it to come back up -
People herd cows down the roads here. It's that sort of place. They close gates onto the road to stop them losing cows into other farms and people's gardens. That makes sense. However a gate which is always left open being suddenly closed... is a bit of a shock - especially when it is a rusty brown gate in heavy mottled shadows. Back where I come from I was raised to the idea that you always left gates as you found them. If they were open, they were open for a reason, and if they closed they were closed for a reason. Like telling your neighbours if you putting a fire in, it was politeness mixed with wisdom and made for good neighbours. Heh, I wonder if I would come across as too damned strife-causing by half if I put 'a please OPEN the gate' sign on it? (which is a lot politer than I felt about it after nearly hitting it. I'm not the first or the closest - the gate is seriously bowed from the outside.) The gate merely leads onto our driveway - 100 metres of fenced track, leading to another gate - keeping the dogs close to the house and far from the road and passing cars or cows. A pain in the butt if you're herding cows and they wander in there, but not a problem to us. It's open for a good reason. Grumble. Okay so it's been a lousy day's writing and I'm grumpy.

I made 'simnel buns' dough in the in the bread maker, and baked them in a hurry before going into town. No sausage sizzles Ian. A good day for the local shops though. When I came back I needed to put on pizza dough as we'd promised our landlord a pizza... only no paddle in the bread-maker (the last time we ended up searching the tip for our bag, to the paddle discover it home). The paddle was obviously in a bun. Ten fat buns prepared against visitors, lunch or freezing for a busy day. Delicate probing with a skewer followed along with much muttering.
And no paddle.
It was in the sink, inside a cup-measure.

Anyway, it's a bit late to send out on the highways and byways but after all that panic, our pizza guest didn't show. Ah well, I dare say we'll worry it down. We had a some Anzac buicuit sampling visitors earlier :-) I spared them the holey buns.

I got my list of panels for Aussiecon. Let's see, I requested to be on with four people. Three are on panels I offered to be on, which are not full. The fourth is not listed at all. The Baen slideshow (as I think the token local - albeit new local - I want to be there) is at the same time as my reading. One of my four panels is after we have left. Oh well. Onward. I am sure I'll meet interesting people and have a good con, despite these little things.


  1. A lock and chain maybe?
    They'd have to cut it to close it if'n you locked it open, and it is a rather unsubtle way of saying "Leave it the Hell Open!"

  2. Hi Dave

    Another option for the gate is a big stake driven into the ground blocking closing it.

    About Aussiecon 4. I just saw the program , it's available at According to it you are on Thursday at 1700, Sunday at 1000, Sunday at 1600, and Monday at 1400 (when I'll be gone too).

    Baen Slideshow is on Friday at 1300.

  3. Hiya Dave

    Gates on farms hohum. Run a restaurant in the sticks with signs all over the place asking guests to please close the gates and then watch what happens. You put a big red letter sign on the one side of the gate saying ‘PUSH’ and on the other side saying ‘PULL’ and shake your head in amazement when they try to push when it says pull. In your heart you know they went to a school where basic literacy was the goal.

    Best of all is the occasional snow fall when half of Durban treks up to play in the snow in a transformed Midlands. Farmers get a tad uptight that gates are left open while people settle down for a noisy and messy picnic on their land and then get abusive when it is suggested that the land they are bespoiling doesn’t actually belong to the state while the farmer rushes around gathering up his live stock that have joined in the fun and sauntered off for the day.

    We had a major snow fall a couple of years ago and on the Sunday the tourists came flooding in. We had noisy groups turning up at our restaurant which has a large sign at the road end of the driveway that states quite clearly ‘Bookings Only’. One group of yobs even abused me noisily because I wouldn’t seat them. “But everyone else has run out of food you have to feed us, you have space on the deck”, they shouted whilst I patiently explained our seating policy. Finally, after trying to be polite, I had to resort to “please listen very carefully, next time you trek out for the day without booking for lunch, bring a sandwich and a flask of coffee. We own the place and we make the rules, not you”. Flurry of righteous indignation followed by “well we’ll never come here again”. The “yippee” was out of my mouth before I could suppress it.

  4. JP Kalishek - well, yes, except that would stop someone who needed to close it for a reason from closing it. And that would be inconsiderate - which kind of puts me on the same level as the inconsiderate oik who closes it for his benefit and then couldn't be bothered to come back to open it. Which really fails at what makes a country district work. It's probably just one bloke who should pack his things and move to the big city where neighbours are people you don't know or care about, or someone who just hasn't thought, or is too lazy to do the right thing.

  5. Tan - for all I know 10 perfectly reasonable well mannered folk who open a gate after they've herded their cows down the road would be affected by my being inconsiderate of their need, because of thoitless oik. I honestly am very happy for them to close it. Just leave it the way they found it, when they have finished. This happens about once a month - which just often enough for us to forget that someone does this. I've lived in farming districts before - mostly people are considerate, but there are always a few cowboys who consider themselves too important to have common courtesey apply to them. shrug. It bites them in the end.

    Worldcon - my reading is scheduled for Friday 13.00.

  6. Tantalus - people who don't farm (or run a restautrant) often lack the intellect or empathy to put themselves in the person they're impinging on's boat. I think the gates thing bugs me because there is at least one person who either just doesn't think beyond their convenience - or feels that you don't matter. In cities that's sort of understandable - they don't know you. Like your objectionable visitors they've never met you and are unlikely to do so again. Why should they care (well they should, but still. You're outside their monkeysphere - a fascinating concept). This almost has to be someone who does know we live there, and who has met us. Or will.

  7. One thought -- I've run into a few people who had been raised to a different "default" and thought they were helping me. Could it be that whoever it is thinks the gate really should be shut normally, and that you just forgot? So they shut it for you? In which case a "Please leave open, we prefer it that way" sign would be perfectly reasonable?

    Hum -- reminds of the old gate that had a tire hanging on a chain nearby. I finally realized that when you closed it, you pulled the tire up on the chain and could latch the gate closed. But if you just unlatched it, the tire pulled the chain down -- and swung the gate open. Kind of a farmer's automatic gate.

  8. I'm a farmer's daughter, and not leaving a gate as you found it is indeed a grave sin.

    Dave, re the reading, as we share the same hour in the same room, you can choose which half of the hour, then spend the other half at the Baen meet? After all, I doubt we both want to give a reading at the same

  9. Maybe this is a stupid question, but how do you know the person responsible intentionally left the gate shut when done vs having led his herd past just not having doubled back to re-open the gate yet?

  10. Ah, danneely, you have hit the nail on the head, it could be! One time, I found the gate closed, muttered a bit, and opened as I went out, only to come back about an hour later to find it closed again. The poor guy had obviously closed it, but not passed with his cows/sheep yet, and had to close it again. I did feel bad, for a moment or so!

  11. Danneely - that might happen occassionally - but this happens every 3 weeks-6 weeks or so at very erratic times. Too implausible that every time - when there are no moving animals to be seen for a half a kilometer either way, is just busy every time. So even if on one occassion he hadn't finished, his normal pattern isn't coming back to open it again. If he was sticking with 'leave it as you found it', we would be too.

  12. Glenda, that's very kind. I have asked them to change it, but who knows. We must meet up and chat. We can talk at the same time instead of reading at the same time.

  13. Oh, the power of this blog is a marvelous thing. Today I went out, and for the first time ever I could see the marks that someone had dragged the gate closed, and then opened it again!! Thank you to whoever it was, I really appreciated it!