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Mike's Australia

19 Angus
In my last story I told you about Angus who went bull chasing with his dad .
You'll probably have guessed that he didn't grow into the sort of adult who
wears a business suit and sits behind a desk. Angus grew into the tough,
leathery sort of bushman that I describe in my novels. Some people accuse me
of exaggerating. Let me assure you I do not.
In so far as Angus received an early c hildhood education, he got it from the School
of the Air and private tuition from his mother. His younger brothers were scholastically
inclined. Angus was not. So, when his maternal grandfather put up money for him to
attend an expensive boarding school, Angus was not enthusiastic.
It was the prestigious sort of school that his mother had attended in England . She
came from an upper-crust family and had taken off for Australia as a pioneer
backpacker. Her parents were impressed when she told them that s he had met a
yachtsman called Luke who owned a colossal grazing property in the Gulf of
She recalls their shocked expressions when they met her future husband . With his
sun-beaten features Luke looked more like a labourer than a gentleman and he spoke
with a heavy Australian accent they could hardly understand . In short, Luke wasn't the
sort of chap they wanted as a son-in-law.
Grandfather was keen to claim Angus for the upper classes and the young fellow,
now twelve, arrived at his new school suitably attired. Things went badly from the
start. Angus regarded his new mates as toffy nosed. At least, that was the expression
his mother used when describing her son's disdain for his peers. I suspect Angus
used stronger language.
He was particularly miffed because the toffy-nosed kids wouldn't believe the stories
he told about life back on the farm. They accused him of lying. Fists flew and the staff
had to intervene. Angus didn't fight by the rules and invariably won.
He lasted a few years i n his new environment before returning to the bush. By then
he'd got all he wanted from school. His marks in English literature were abysmal but
he excelled in a certain sort of mathematics. Put a dollar sign in front of the numbers
and Angus would talk about interest rates, inflation, leverage, earnings and the other
financial tools needed to run a business.
He's now in his forties but looks older. The dry air and harsh rays of the tropical sun
have aged his skin. His cattle property is near Luke's and he runs it in conjunction with
a tourist venture that he set up for fishermen visiting the region to catch barramundi.
20 Long Meadow