The vineyard’s progress had stalled, so Matt had fewer things to do on the weekend. After nearly 12 months in the country, Bec decided now was an opportune time to test his real rural mettle.
Bec: Which famous bushman are you most like, and why?
Matt: Well to start, the word is bushie. You’re obviously not from here.
Bec: Would you like to have a beer with Duncan?
Matt: Been too busy mustering for that. It’s tough out here.
Bec: What have you been mustering?
Matt: Livestock mostly.
Matt: Three chickens, one miniature fox terrier and some worms.
Bec: Just how “tough out here” is it?
Matt: Put it this way, Duncan was a sheila when I first met him.
Bec: What speeds have you reached on the ride on mower?
Matt: I think you mean ‘lawn tractor’.
Bec: How calloused are your hands, from all of your livin’ and a workin’ on the land?
Matt: Bushies like me don’t worry about that sort of stuff.
Bec: Didn’t I see a jar of moisturiser on your shelf in the bathroom the other day?
Matt: That would have been deep heat cream, for my eyes. I use that as training for staring into the sun, which I have to do a lot while looking for lost cattle.
Bec: How many wild beasts have you tamed?
Matt: Wild beasts are for shootin’, tannin’ and possibly eatin’. They ain’t for tamin’.
Bec: How many brown snakes have you wrestled with your bare hands, ensuring they came off second best?
Bec: How is that possible?
Matt: I wrestled the third one so hard it snapped in half, upon whence the front end bit me and the back end crawled away while I sucked the poison out. Once that poison is inside you, you have to suck it out immediately. The nearest hospital is a day’s ride away. You can’t take any chances out here.
Bec: A day’s ride on what?
Matt: Ride on mower.
Bec: Do you mean lawn tractor?
Bec: What do you think of ‘city slickers’?
Matt: They come out here in their fancy Rav4s, thinking they can go ‘off-road’ because they’ve parked on a lawn at a street party…
Bec: How fast can you crack a whip?
Matt: When I crack a whip, it’s not the whip you hear; it’s the sonic boom.
Bec: You know a whip crack IS a sonic boom?
Matt: When I do it, yes.
Bec: No, when anyone does it. That’s what the crack is. It’s the tip of the whip breaking the speed of sound.
Bec: It is.
Matt: Well, when I crack a whip it breaks the speed of sound, AND the speed of light. So you can’t even see it. Did you see that? I just cracked a whip and you didn’t see it.
Bec: I didn’t see anything. Nor did I hear anything.
Bec: Did the gene test end up proving your “irrefutable claim” that you are “related to RM”?
Matt: You don’t need science to prove obvious fact.
Bec: What did the test say?
Matt: I can see the fence needs immediate repair. Hooroo.