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the commodore and his orchard

Albert is known as The Commodore around here. This is folklore. The Commodore. He owns a property called Happy Hollows.

The Commodore has a fifteen tree orchard on his acres – mostly mandarins, oranges, pecans and grapefruit. These trees are not quite set out in orderly rows because of The Commodore’s lifelong hobby. He likes a drink, so they meander, have done for nearly 40 years. He managed to plant the orchard up back in 1973 and the fifteen trees that survive grow so much fruit now that their branches touch the ground.

Growing fruit trees requires that you must visit them at various times during the seasons to (1) invigorate their growth, (2) cut back and dispose of dead branches and (3) harvest the ripe fruit. No problem here for every other orchardist in the country, their stuff grows in sober rows – up one row and down the other – unimaginative arable land management.

Growing fruit also means that a man has to spend a fair part of the day in and amongst his trees during the year doing this and that, and The Commodore has gradually evolved a particular plan of land management for his peculiar tree layout. This plan assists him in his daily forages and is helpful when he occasionally loses momentum and becomes disorientated in the midst of his labour. Those of us who like a little drink {or whatever} will recognise this predicament and of course the immediate remedy for us is to take a quick snort and carry on. That’s why towns have hotels and homes have refrigerators.

Not so the orchardist – until The Commodore arrived with his plan. Albert, for whom a nip is never enough.

Each of his trees has its designated drink lodged either into a branch hollow or suspended by string from a steady limb. For easy reach. The Commodore has 15 trees and each one of them holds only one bottle – Happy Hollows indeed. The Commodore is a man of sincere habits.

Three weeks ago his neighbour Clyne had the roofers in to replace some old iron on his house. Uproarious fellows these lads, great jokers to a man and one of them spotted The Commodore taking his usual tour of the orchard, saw him stopping at the Coopers Pale Ale pecan, and a little later at the Hahn Super Lite mandarin. Some of the bottles were strategically placed and required little effort to reach, others required The Commodore stand in his tractor and grope into the hollow. He had two open boxes in the trailer attached to his tractor, one for the empties and one for the re-stock. That and fifteen kilos of the local fertiliser.

They watched him for three days, saw that he always took the same route, noted that he drank in the same order – the three of them standing on Clyne’s roof looking down from the ridge at the old man as he weaved around his orchard. Fully pissed. Away on it. Clyne was of the opinion that the old man started charging up well before breakfast, liked to start the day as he intended to finish it.

– so the roofers came back that night and changed everything. They lengthened the short strings and cut short the long, they switched the pecan beer for the mandarin stout – they filled some tree hollows with fruit and drank the beer that was there. The longer the night grew the more creative they became.

Trusted sources has it that there were twenty-five people on Clyne’s roof the next day – all of them waiting for The Commodore to start his rounds – and the roar of laughter that erupted from them when he fell off his tractor trying to grasp what should have been a Tooheys New on a short string but was in fact a partly decomposed rabbit tied to an occy strap echoed far across the valley.

Then there was the baby black snake in the VB longneck. The Coopers pale Ale packed solid with builders bog.

This is Eureka folklore, or so I’m told.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Haha … Gold, PB. Gold.

    April 28, 2012
  2. required reading #

    LOL’d all the way through the second half. Thank you.

    April 28, 2012
  3. Ben #

    Good form Peter.

    April 30, 2012
  4. glad you blokes liked it .. there are some characters up here

    April 30, 2012
  5. sjh #


    April 30, 2012
  6. Jim Porter #

    Hey Pete
    very funny and beautifully written gonna read it to the kids, might put them off drinking.

    May 1, 2012
    • The real character is the guy who told me the story .. he does the pencil sketch, I do the paintup. The bloke’s uproarious.

      May 1, 2012

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