During my time working on Mataranka Station there were many pheasants that inhabited the trees around my house. Sometimes they'd lose a feather and I would pick it up and keep it. After adopting Diamond, I kept a round, plastic trough for water in my horse yards and one day one of those pheasants came to an untimely end when it drowned trying to drink out of the trough. I was sad about the death of the pheasant, don't get me wrong, but when its feathers started to drop off its decomposing body I saw it as an excellent opportunity to gain yet more feathers for my collection and then decided to give all those feathers a purpose. Over a year and a half later, that idea became a reality.
Permission for the day off for the Saturday rather than the Sunday was a welcome one. After knock off me and my Canadian workmate headed back to Providence to start planning for the following day. When I got in the shower I cranked up the chainsaw and shaved my hairy man-legs ready for K-Town so everyone could see how pasty they were.
After loading Damians beloved petrol-guzzler-on-four-wheels in the morning with what was needed for the day we headed off to town. First stop: Pick up my precious, dearest Bruiser the Cruiser who had needed his alternator/regulator replaced by the auto-electrician so I didn't cook another battery. So glad to be back behind the wheel of the old boy again. After sorting a bit of other stuff out we hit the shops. We picked up insulators for the fencing we are doing, jumper leads and a tow strap from a auto shop where I also got to catch up with a friend who had followed me into the store, heel inserts for some shoes and after over an hour of umming and ahhing Nicky finally decided to buy a pair of boots (ones that actually fit her).
After popping into the markets for a mango smoothie, ice cream and sushi we headed off down to Chardon Street to start getting ready for one of Katherines biggest social events of the year.
We dropped the roller door on the storage unit for privacy as we donned our outfits for the day. Using the dirty mirrors of the Holden and the Cruiser we painted our faces with foundation, mascara and eye-liner that kept melting. I kept asking Nicky if my eyes looked like those of a transvestite or goth which she eventually got sick of being asked. But soon we were set to go.
We walked through the shopping centre, me with my shoes in hand already due to them being too big (story of my life), dressed to the nines, all for a couple of bottles of water.
We found a park at the showgrounds and the final element to my outfit went on. The crowning glory. The fascinator! In all its sticky-taped pride I slid the head band onto my head and off we set... with me carrying my shoes. The night before was spent painstakingly sticking on the pheasant feathers onto a flimsy headband with sticky-tape to create my cranial masterpiece.
Every male of cattle station relation thought it fit to tell me I have an endangered species on my head. I had no idea they were protected but if the Grim Reaper came for the bird then his physical body, found by me, was up for grabs. Amongst the informative jibes regarding a threatened avian taped to a hair accessory, I copped a bit of "Oh, look. It's Pocohontas" just to mix it up a little.
As per every year, the Buntine Pavillion was chockers. So many people and so many of them I knew and was eager to catch up with. In my head while conversing with a friend I ran through them all "I'll catch up with him, then her, then her if she sticks around..." I'm quite hoping that there was no one I missed out on chatting to. Nicky and I enjoyed laughing to ourselves at the girls whose buttocks hung out below their skirts and dresses giving the blokes an eyefull they liked and the more conservative girls an eyefull they didn't.
But as the day wore on we had to give in to the fact that we still had to drive two cars home that night, one of which was towing a horse float, so we could go back to work the following morning. After leaving the races (of which we only actually noticed one race) we went back to the storage unit to get all our gear organised and pick up the float. By 8pm we were sneaking out of Katherine with the hopes that I won't get pulled up by the cops for being a little naughty.
By the time we reached Willeroo, Nicky was knackered. So after a small stalling incident we pushed the little Holden Rodeo up to the front gate, unloaded a few important things out of it (ie: Damian's beer), put the keys under the seat cover and in true Tigger-style, locked it up and continued on our way home. It was at least an hour down the road before Nicky realised we left all the fuel in the back and it wasn't till I got to bed at 11:45pm that I realised I had locked the keys in the car.
It was a long, jam-packed day. The socialising got me pumped and the driving made me exhausted but it was definately not a day wasted.