Fine Thing, This Education By Chris Leckonby

I’ve always been addicted to learning. My mother told me nobody knows everything. I determined to be a world first.

In sewing class I had to insert a sleeve into a dress. I sewed it into the side opening intended for a zip. My husband says he threw my needles away because they had holes in them.

In cookery class I joined the queue for sugar…for cheese scones. When the teacher was making egg custard, I advised her publicly that she’d forgotten the custard powder. (You don’t have custard powder in egg custard. Really?)

Some wags in the Young Farmers Club dared me to have a go at sheep shearing. The instructor advised me to pick a fat one. I chose the largest ram, and brimming with unwarranted confidence, inadvertently clipped his nether regions. He took extreme exception to this, and galloped around the arena as I clung desperately to the remains of his fleece. I did, however, win the girls’ ploughing match - being the only entrant.

I learnt to drive during my Young Farmer years, practising in open paddocks where there was nothing to hit. On Test day I scored a very dour examiner. Come the Emergency Stop test, a box of apples on the back seat rolled all over the floor as I hit the brakes. The examiner stopped just before he hit the windscreen. I passed. He couldn’t risk having me again.

Mothercraft came next. What do you do with a newborn baby? I could put a nappy on a doll, but the real thing arrived untrained. The first time took twenty minute (I got quicker).

And that kid undermined my efforts at horticulture, feeding my tomatoes to the sheep.

Omniscience still eludes me, but the quest if fun!


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Raised in UK, married farmer, emigrated to Australia with family, now grown up, became science teacher, now writing again and travelling lots in retirement. The whole story takes 150,000 words!

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