My name is Andrew Scot and me and my girlfriend, Vivien Leigh, is doing this article on things that begin with the letter W. We had arrived at a woolshed that was about half an hours drive from the town of Wanganui.
Vivien was an Afrikaner woman with wavy red hair tied in a pony tail and freckles all over her face. She wore a black top with silver flowers and a red flower at the bottom, jeans and white sneakers. She was medium built.
We met up with a shearer named Tony and a wool handler named Lisa. It was shearing season and Tony invited me up onto the stage to learn how to shear a sheep. He told me to go into the pen and grab one of the sheep. As I recall, from my years growing up on my parents' farm, that sheep are really strong. I picked up one of the sheep, dragged it out of the pen and onto the stage.
"OK," said Tony "Start from behind the neck and work your way down".
I started out on the neck and cut the wool towards the side, making my way carefully towards the back of the sheep. The sheep struggled to get away but I held her down. As I cut through the sheep's wool the shearer made a deep buzzing sound. Sometimes the electric shearers would overheat. Tony got the oil and squirted it over the blades. As the wool came off the blade Lisa collected the wool and popped it on the table to sort out.
While I was shearing the sheep Lisa and Vivien sorted through the wool, making sure to take out the dirty bits that stuck to the wool like shit and dirt. She grabbed the dirty bits out of the wool and threw them in a pile.
I gave out a large whoop as I had shorn my first sheep.
"How does it feel shearing a sheep?" asked Tony.
"It feels great!" I replied.
"I'll do the rest of the sheep," said Tony "You go down and help the girls out. I am much faster at the shearing".
I did as I was told. I jumped off the stage and wandered over to the sorting table.
"The bag is almost full, Andrew" said Lisa "Would you like to climb on top and help stomp the wool down?"
I climbed on top of the wool and trodden the wool down to make more room. I've seen people do it before and so knew what I was doing. After I jumped down Lisa winded down the clamp so that the lid was held firmly on the wool bale. Vivien sewed the lid to the bale and stamped it.
After we had finished shearing the sheep we loaded the wool onto the back of the land rover. The wool bales were heavy and I felt exhausted afterwards. We took the wool down to the wool processing plant which was in the industrial section of Wanganui. After we unloaded the wool from the land rover we weighed the wool and the process worker paid the farmer in the order of $1,543.33.
We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
* * *
The next place we met was at Bunning's Warehouse where we met some store workers.
"Hi, I'm David, you must be Andrew and Vivien" he said as we shook hands.
"Come right this way".
We walked into the warehouse where David gave us a set of instructions. He introduced me to a general labourer named Scot who took me round the back towards some crates. He opened up the crates to expose some products that were packed in card board boxes. They placed the ramp against the crate and I and Scot started picking up the products and placing them on the pallets. These products were heavy and I was struggling to lift them. The boxes contained outdoor furniture which had not been assembled. Once the pallets were stacked with cartons to about eight cartons high David came out with his forklift, lifted up the pallets of furniture and took them into the warehouse.
Meanwhile Vivien was inside the warehouse learning how to shrink wrap the pallets of various products. She had to attach the shrink wrap to the bottom pallet. The two pallet loads had been stacked on top of the other. She pressed the green button and made sure the shrink wrap wound round the bottom. The machine moved the shrink wrap towards the top so that the two pallet loads would be shrink wrapped together. Then the shrink wrap was taken down again. Vivien ripped off the shrink wrap and placed a sticker on the pallet. Sarah came and took the pallet loads away with the forklift.
Later David showed me how to operate the forklift and use it to carry the products to the correct places by pressing certain levers. One lever made the fork go up and down, the second tilted the fork and the third controlled the width of the forks. I zoomed around in the forklift, stacking the products on the shelves.
* * *
The next day we took our car to VTNZ which stands for Vehicle Testing New Zealand. This is where we get our warrants of fitness done for those of you not familiar with New Zealand. A warrant of fitness is a certificate stuck on the windscreens of vehicles in New Zealand to show that it is road worthy.
We parked the car, leaving the key in the ignition, and walked into the building. We went up to the reception and I asked "Can I have a warrant of fitness?"
"Yeah, sure. That would be fifty dollars thanks".
I paid the fifty dollars and she handed me the warrant of fitness sheet which they use to check the vehicle's road worthiness. I went and placed the sheet in the car. We sat down and read the women's' weekly while we waited for my car to be checked.
We discussed Kim Kardasian's divorce after a few months, how Michael Jackson's doctor was sentenced to four years and had his medical licence taken off, about how Bruno Mars is such a good singer.
After a while they called my name and I came out to see if my vehicle had passed the inspection.
"Looks like one of your tyres is worn," said the Warrant of Fitness inspector "you need to replace that tyre immediately".
"OK. Thank you" I said.
"Thanks" said Vivien.
We hopped into my car and drove off to the tyre store. You are legally required to get a warrant of fitness test once every six months in New Zealand and once you fail the warrant then you have to get it retested within 28 days or end up paying for the warrant again.
* * *
Me and Vivien arrived at the woods an hours drive from Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. It was a romantic day with a few clouds in the sky. We walked through the woods. My arm was around Vivien's waist. Vivien looked up at the trees.
"Look, pigeons" said Vivien.
The trees were mainly conifers and willows surrounded by various weeds. We spotted some wolves running through the woods.
"You know that wolves hunt in packs, honey" I said.
"Yes. Wolves are great hunters. They're such beautiful creatures".
Me and Vivien kissed each other on the lips. Her lips were wet. There was a wood pecker pecking for worms and larvae in the wood. Various wasps were buzzing around. Vivien spotted a wasp nest in the tree above us. We stepped over a log and walked past a rock. We saw a couple of warthogs drinking from the wetlands and a weasel crawling onto the bank with a fish in its teeth.
"When I was growing up in South Africa," said Vivien "I saw wildebeests drinking from a water hole in a reserve. They're so massive".
"Let's go through the wetlands".
We waded into the wetlands, the water coming up to our knees. It was mainly the willows that grew in the wetlands, their leaves drooping over the water. I could feel the mud beneath our feet. A few wood peckers, pigeons and sparrows flew through the trees above us and I saw a water snake swimming through the water at some stage. There were wasps buzzing around. Once we waded through the wetlands we came across a water hole with a waterfall behind it.
"Oh, look at the waterfall," said Vivien "And the walrus".
The walruses were sitting next to the water hole looking at the waterfall. I recall that walrus came from the Norwegian words for water horse. God knows why.
* * *
The other day Brent took us on a tour of the wind farm about an hours drive from Wellington City, capital of New Zealand. We both looked up at the turbines spinning above us and as the turbines spun in the wind I could here the frump frump.
"The windmills are about 70 metres tall and can generate about 20 gigawatts each," said Brent "Meaning they can generate a thousand gigawatts a year". The windmills were massive. The wind making the blades spin. "The blades can generate electricity even if they spin in the opposite direction. If the wind gets too strong the blades just shuts down. That's so the engine doesn't get damaged".
* * *
Later on Vivien walked along the Auckland waterfront with Tracy, Wendy and Petra and discussed anything that bothers them.
"My boyfriend can be very frustrating sometimes," said Vivien "Like I have to get him to help with the dishes. We argue all the time".
"My boyfriend sits around the house all day watching TV while I do all the chores" said Tracy.
"You shouldn't let him get away with it," said Wendy "I would get him to get off his arse".
"Andrew's extremely quiet," said Vivien "But we've been doing all this exciting stuff ever since he started writing his alphabet column".
"What letter is he up to?" asked Petra.
"Can't you guess? W. Hence us and the waterfront".
"Wow. Look at all the whales" said Petra.
It was then that the women saw three humpback whales swimming in the Waitemata Harbour. They walked towards the end of Princess Wharf.
"They're so beautiful" said Wendy.
One of the whales dived into the water, making a big splash as its tail disappeared into the water. The second one jumped out of the water and made a wonderful splash.
* * *
While Vivien was out enjoying the time with her friends a waiter by the name of Ken showed me how to do some waiting at an Auckland restaurant. I followed him out of the kitchen and into the dining room. He gave me a note pad and said "Here, write down whatever the customers order".
I nodded. We walked up to one of the tables and he said "What would you like?".
One ordered the lasagne, the second one ordered the bolognaise and the third ordered a lobster. We went back to the kitchen and placed the order in the peg above the head chefs station. The chef grabbed the ticket.
"Here, take this soup, chicken curry and T bone steak to that table over there" said Ken pointing towards the table. "I'll take these dishes to that table over there".
I did as I was told and carried the dishes towards the table by balancing them on each hand.
"Who ordered the soup?" I said. A young lady put up her hand. "The chicken curry". A middle-aged woman raised her hand. "And the T bone steak must be for you, sir" I said as I handed it to what was obviously the father. They dug into their meals.
As I was carrying the empty tray back to the kitchen Ken walked up to me and said "Go and clear that table over there please".
I went and picked up the dirty plates and wine glasses off the table and put them on the tray. I wiped the table with the cloth. Then I carried the tray of dirty dishes back to the kitchen.
During the day I would get customers complaining about the quality of the food even though there was nothing wrong with the food. I got angry with one of the customers once but Ken said I must control my anger as the customer is always right. I continued doing the job and at the end of the day I was exhausted.
* * *
The next place we went to was the New Lynn Community Gym in Auckland where I had a go at weight lifting.
"You must be Andrew Scot" said the weight lifter wearing the dark blue leotard and white sneakers.
"Yes, I am".
"I'm Tom, I'm going to show you how to weight lift". He took me towards a dumb bell. "Here we see a ten kilogram weight. First you rub your hands with chalk to get a firm grip". He handed me the bowl of chalk and I rubbed my hands with it. "Bend your knees with your legs spaced out. If you don't bend your knees when lifting the dumb bell you will hurt your back. Grab the dumb bell with your hands spaced evenly apart to even the load". I squatted down and grabbed the dumb bell. Tom put my hands the other way so that they faced outwards. "Now lift the dumb bell towards the chest and slowly climb to your feet". I lifted it as he directed and got up on my feet. The dumb bell felt quiet heavy but wasn't hard. "Now push the weights above your head". I took a deep breath and lifted the weights right above my head. Then I dropped the weight to the floor. The weight bounced a few times and I was ecstatic.
"Woohooo" I went.
"Now see if you can lift twenty kilos".
I did just that. I bent my knees with my legs apart and grabbed the 20 K dumb bell. As I lifted it to my chest I could feel the weight. I slowly struggled to climb to my feet, my arms were shaking. I finally lifted the weight over my head. My breathing got harder and my whole body shook. I dropped the weight and was pleased.
Then Tom got me to lift the 30 kilo weight . I bent my knees grabbing the weight as before. Then with all my strength I found it really hard to lift the weight. I climbed to my feet. It was really heavy, my arms were hurting as I lifted the weight above my head before dropping it.
I tried 40 Ks. It was really hard. I could only lift the 40 K weight 4 cms above the ground. But I couldn't lift it towards my chest.
"Man, your weak," said Tom. The other weight lifters laughed at me. "I can easily lift a hundred K's".
* * *
In the next room Damian was teaching Vivien how to wrestle. This was the task I set for her.
"They call me Wildfire" he said "Because it's my stage name. So you watch the wrestling?" Vivien nodded. "Try the choke hold on me".
Vivien placed her arm around his neck and choked it so hard he was struggling to breath. You could see his face going blue.
"You choking me," said Damian "Too tight".
"Sorry". Vivien loosened her grip. It took a while for Damian to catch his breath again.
"Now throw me towards the ropes and close line me". Vivien did as she was told. She threw Damian towards the ropes and, when he bounced off them, Vivien stuck out her arm and close lined him. Damian fell on his back.
"Now jump off that post over there. I stand here. You drag me to the ground".
Vivien climbed onto the post and jumped off. She managed to throw him to the ground. Vivien jumped off the ropes again and elbowed him in the neck. Then as Damian went to power drive her he instructed her to hold onto to his legs so she could control the fall. Damian fell to his knees and managed not to hit Vivien's head on the ground.
* * *
I played a spot of water polo at the Glen Eden Aquatic Centre. My guide was Felicity and she instructed me how to play the game. I was dressed in my togs and I climbed into the water. The water was up to my chest.
Jessica served the ball which veered to the left, Felicity spiked it back over, and Tom swam to the centre to intercept the ball. He set up the ball and spiked it over the net. I swam to the middle, hit the ball. The opposing team lost.
Peter served the ball again. I spiked it over the net. Sharon struck the ball and it hit the net. Two nil. At the end of the game my team one 5-2. Jessica congratulated me.
"You're a good player," she said "You should join the water polo team".
Water polo was originally played by people on barrels using the paddles to hit the ball, just like original polo.
* * *
I then met Vivien at St Pauls Church in the city centre to attend a wedding that I found out about through the priest.
"This is father Patrick" I said to Vivien "He'll be conducting the wedding today".
"Nice to meet you" said Vivien as she and Patrick shook hands.
"Welcome, my dear. Feel free to come in. You'll be sitting on the brides side on the left".
We walked up the middle of the aisle and sat right at the front of the church. We introduced ourselves to the bride's parents. The groom and his best men were at the front of the church as they waited for the bride to arrive. Everybody piled into the church and about half an hour later the church was fall.
"The groom's name is Tim," I whispered to Vivien "The bride is Melissa".
When the bride finally entered the church the song Here Comes The Bride was being played on the organ. The bride slowly traversed down the middle of the aisle with her bride's maids following her. She was smiling through her veil. Her skin glowing radiantly. She walked up the steps and stood next to the groom, the bride's maids standing next to her.
"We are here today," announced Patrick "To witness the union of Melissa Stokes and Tim Nelson on this holy day. May god bless you on this special day. Weddings are very special you know. It is the union of two hearts when two worlds join together as one". Patrick talked about how important weddings were and how marriage is sacred. "Tim Nelson. Do you marry Melissa Stokes to be your wedded wife. Through sickness and health. As long as you both shall live".
"I do". Tim placed the wedding ring on Melissa's finger.
"And do you, Melissa Stokes, take Tim to be your lawful husband. To marry through sickness and health, rich and poor, as long as you both shall live".
"You are now husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride".
The congregation applauded as Tim and Melissa wrapped their arms around each other and kissed each other on the lips. The congregation stood up as the bride and groom walked back down the aisle towards the door. Melissa was grinning cheerfully and Tim had a smuck grin on his face. We followed them out off the church.
They took wedding photos of the bride and groom; the bride, groom, best men and bride's maids; the bride and groom with their parents; bride and groom with extended family; and bride and groom with me and Vivien. I was so happy and Vivien was glowing.
The bride and groom climbed into the limo which had just married painted on the back. We waved good bye as they left. Then they took photos of Me and Vivien with their families; their siblings; and me and Vivien alone.
* * *
After the wedding ceremony we attended the wedding reception which happened to be at one of the function rooms at Sky City. The dining room was full and we all went up to the buffet table and dished up our dinner. For dinner I had ham, pork, peas, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, salad dressing and mustard because I like mustard.
We saw the bride and groom at the head table and so we went and had our dinner next to the bride because she was a newly wed wife.
"So," Vivien asked Melissa "How did you two meet?"
"Well," she replied "We met at Auckland University library and we were doing our genetics assignments. So we got talking and it started off there. It's not easy being in a relationship but, man, it's worth it. Relationships are a lot of work".
"Yeah, I agree. Like when Andrew doesn't ring to pick me up".
"And my husband sometimes forgets to take out the rubbish. But he's a romantic guy and sometimes he'd take me to the beach to go for a swim or to an expensive restaurant. What I love about him is that he's a descent, caring human being. And he's funny and entertaining".
The brides father clinked the side of the wine glass with a fork.
"May I have your attention please. The groom will now give a speech".
"As soon as I set eyes on her," said Tim "I knew she would be the one for me. She is so kind, intelligent. I like the way she smiles and the way she laughs. To my lovely wife, Melissa".
"To Melissa" we chorused.
After they had given their long speeches the bride and groom cut the wedding cake together, the groom's hand over the bride's. It was romantic and Melissa rubbed the cake on Tim's face and Tim paid in kind. We all laughed. It was hilarious.
The bride's father invited us to have pudding. For pudding I had wedding cake, ice cream, jelly and fruit salad. While we had pudding I investigated a woman who witnessed a women's brutal murder at a young age. Her name … Jessica.
"Hi," I said "So, Jessica, tell me what happened".
"Well I was looking out the window of my bedroom upstairs when I saw my next door neighbour chase his wife out the back door with his shot gun. He aimed the shot gun, cocked the gun and shot her three times in the back of the head. After that he dragged her into the house".
"And how did that make you feel?"
"I was devastated. My heart was pounding. I was so terrified. I picked up the phone and rang the police. Told them what happened".
"What happened next?"
"The police stormed into his house with their guns out. They called in the armed defenders squad to shoot him and, once he was down, they stormed into his house and found her body".
"Well, Jessica. Thank you for your time".
Me and Vivien went and sat at another table where we introduced ourselves to a witch named Lisa and Damian who was a wizard. Lisa showed us this amazing trick in which she caused a spoon to levitate above the table just by waving her hand above it. She has telekinetic powers.
Damian showed us this magic trick in which he produced a flame in the palm of his hand. It was awesome and we both clapped. He had practiced witchcraft from a magic spell book.
After watching them perform their magnificent magic me and Vivien got up and danced on the floor. We danced to the song Beautiful Machine by Shihad which is an awesome band. I like their guitar music. You should check them out sometime. As we danced to their music we placed our arms around each others shoulders.
"When are we going to get out of this universe and back to our own universe, panda?" asked Vivien.
"I don't know, honey. Let's enjoy this while we can. OK?"
Vivien nodded and we kissed each other passionately on the lips. Waiting to see where we would end up next.