Topic: The Jewellers Shop

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A story by Lial Bredin

The Jewellers Shop

 The local press described the incident as 'A Bull in a Jewellers shop'.  The animal was an inquisitive steer.  A very different animal.

 It was during the school holidays.  Malcolm decided to ride his bicycle down into the suburb of Fitzroy to buy himself an ice cream slice.  He didn’t do very much droving these days.  Philip was away working on a big farm down the Coast.  Most of the adult drovers were back from the war.  Dick only used to ask Malcolm and his dog Bruce to help shift weaners.  It would have caused strife if Dick had continued moving cull cows to the works with unpaid schoolboy labor.

 As Malcolm rode into the main street he saw a small mob of steers in front of him.  They appeared to be on the way to the Waiwakaio sale yards.  There were about ten animals and the drover was having trouble.  They were not grouping into a mob.  Individual animals were playing up.  Probably a mob made up of odds and sods from the Inglewood sale.  Malcolm was on his bike.  He didn’t have his dog or even a whip with him.  He thought that he should give the drover a hand.

 The drover recognised Malcolm as a fellow drover.  "If you could keep them off the footpath it would be a great help".

 Malcolm saw this was an immediate problem.  One steer was already looking at the deep gutter and getting ready to jump the footpath.  Malcolm pedaled over to the gutter.  He dropped his bike and jumped to get ahead of the steer.  The steer beat him on to the footpath.  Malcolm tried to walk quickly alongside the steer to guide him away from the shops.  Before he could get alongside the steer it had noticed an open door and walked inside.  It was the door into the local jewellers shop.

 Malcolm followed quickly.  It was important to take things quietly and gently walk the steer out of the shop.  The shop was set out with a glassed in display stand in the centre.  Small tables with choice items were alongside the wall.  The steer took an inquisitive sniff as he passed some of the tables. He didn’t touch anything.  A table was knocked over as he turned around by the cash desk at the bottom.  Malcolm kept the steer moving.  He heard the table fall over but there was no sound of anything breaking.  A quiet tap on its rump and the steer walked out of the shop.  Malcolm gave a loud yell, which frightened the steer into jumping back on the road.  Malcolm grabbed his bicycle and continued down the footpath.

 There was no more trouble until the mob was near to the pub at the corner.  A door was open here as well.  It was more important to stop the mob turning into the side road.  Once again Malcolm jumped off his bike and dropped it into the gutter. He ran into the centre of the road.  He waved his hands in the air.  The steers turned back.  One straggler had an eye on the pub door.  Luckily the publican appeared in the doorway.  He had heard the disturbance up the street.  He had an antique beer bung stopper in his hand.  He waved the bung stopper at the approaching steer.  His stopper was no longer used on kegs but it was enough of a weapon to frighten away a nosey steer.  The steer had all ready walked over Malcolm's bike once, climbing up to the pub.  Now as it turned around it walked over the bike again.  Malcolm picked up the remains of his bicycle.  It could be pushed but it needed repairs before it could be ridden.

 He helped the drover chase his steers on to the bridge.  Picking up the bike he started pushing it home.

 But he did stop to buy his ice cream slice.


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