“It’s a blimmin disaster,” said Grandpa as he looked dejectedly over his vegetable garden.
I had come to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s run down farm during the Summer holidays, at a time when the district was in the midst of a record-breaking drought. The old corrugated rain water tank was barely sufficient to supply the house, certainly there was no water left over to be wasted on lawns or gardens. All he had was a few straggly vegetables that had prematurely gone to seed due to the warm, dry weather.
Then Grandpa took me out to the wheat field and showed me his crop.
“It’s a blimmin disaster,” he said again, and it truly was. A severely stunted crop with probably not even enough grain to pay for the fuel in the combine harvester.
Next Grandpa showed me the dried up dam that normally supplied drinking water for the livestock.
“Why is the tractor sitting in the dam Grandpa?”
He replied, “One of the horses was searching for water when it got stuck in the mud and I had to pull it out with the old John Deere. Got the horse out eventually but burnt the clutch out on the tractor and I just can’t afford to get it fixed. It’s a blimmin disaster.”
I tried to cheer the old boy up.
“Come on Grandpa,” I said. “It’s not healthy to be negative about everything, you know, surely there must be something good happening around here.”
“Well actually boy, now that you mention it, there is. Come and have a look at my apple tree.”
Grandpa’s apple tree wasn’t overly big, but it was so heavily loaded with fruit, the branches were hanging down like a weeping willow.
“Best crop we’ve ever had on this tree,” he said proudly. “There’s 326 apples, I’ve counted every one of them, several times. They are nearly ripe too so we can start picking them tomorrow. I can’t wait for the stewed apples, some apple crumble and of course I do enjoy a wee drop of cider at bedtime.”
Next morning at the kitchen table I realised that Grandma would never feature on the television programme, Masterchef. Breakfast was a collection of hard, dry lumps with small portions of lukewarm porridge oozing between them. As I was warily picking at my food, I suddenly sat bolt upright in shock when I heard a piercing, anguished scream. Rushing out to the back porch I saw Grandpa standing there clutching the rail and staring traumatised out at the orchard. His pet cow Annabelle was staggering drunkenly around the apple tree in a very bloated condition. A quick stock take revealed one solitary apple clinging precariously to the topmost branch, which would indicate 325 apples inside the Holstein cow.
What happened next defies belief, but it’s absolutely true because I heard and saw it with my very own ears and eyes. A loud rumbling noise came from deep within the cow, then Annabelle let loose a humongous blast of flatulence. This caused a single, undigested apple to fly out her bum and clean bowl Grandpa’s geriatric dog at fifty paces.
Annabelle was obviously suffering considerable discomfort by the way she was twisting and squirming all around the apple tree. Then she let go with an even bigger ripper of a fart, sending an apple straight through the front of the old Chevy pick up truck. A geyser of rusty water spewed from the hole in the truck’s radiator.
It may have been a trick of the light but I’m sure Annabelle squinted her eyes and gritted her teeth as she pushed even harder still. The climax was a series of loud farts like a machine gun and four apples flew out of her rear end going clean through the netting round the chicken run. There was a massive eruption of chickens, feathers and fast flying poultry manure all around the hen house, with at least three of the birds dead.
I looked at Grandpa and put into words what I knew must be going through his mind.
Quietly but firmly I said,
“It’s a blimmin disaster!”