Fricking birds. They are scratching in my balcony plants again. This stopped during the summer but in winter they're like "Maybe now there will be worms in these pots!" *GRR* I think I might have to purchase some chicken wire. *mutter*
One of the things we wanted to do on our holiday was to practice our lock picking. For this, Dr Wheel purchased two padlocks from the $2 shop. And because great minds think alike, I also purchased two locks, from Bunnings - a Lockwood and a Master. Therefore we had two cheap crappy ones and two from the cheaper end of quality. Thus ensued much twiddling and picking. So far, the only one that has succumbed is the Master, which I managed to open in less than two minutes. I was able to repeat this several times, then went through a phase of not being able to do it, but now we can both pop it open without really thinking about it. It was far too easy - we are raw beginners and I reckon you really could pick this lock with a hair clip. So don't buy those ones.
However, the others are still firmly locked, despite our face-pulling and insertion of various gadgetry. I did manage to pick the lock on the cottage we were staying in, but I don't think that says anything about my skill (more about the quality of the lock) and it caused a moment where we thought we'd broken it so I didn't try that again. *cough*
Meanwhile, the Wairarapa, as some of you know, is my old stomping ground, and on the way out to Riversdale you pass through a locality called Blairlogie. There's a station at Blairlogie called Okar, which looked like this in 1895:
There's where I experienced my first elation/disappointment cycle in my shepherding career. Elation because I went there as a rousie with the local shearing gang and managed to impress the manager enough that he called me back to do some casual shepherding work over the next couple of months. My dogs were just starting to run right and I was handy with a handpiece, thorough, responsible and available. Sadly, it turned out after several months of me blissfully chasing sheep around his farm, docking lambs and generally making myself useful that 'available' was the operative word from his perspective and it wasn't the kind of available that I was. He asked me out for dinner. I went, because I had never been asked out for dinner before, but I wasn't interested in him as anything other than an employer and someone I got on all right with at work. After that became clear he didn't put any more work my way.
He didn't try anything. He wasn't obnoxious about it and he didn't badmouth me around the district. He just stopped calling me with work. I doubt it was anything vindictive - the guy was kind of quiet and shy and I suspect having revealed his interest and been rebuffed, he was embarrassed to spend any more time alone with me. I can't hold that against him. However, I learned something from that experience about being a shepherd and female at the same time. It means that you can't leave gender out of the equation. You are working mostly with men, and the single ones will see you as a potential something other than worker. The majority of them are looking for a partner, and a handy woman such as myself, I guess could look pretty attractive to such a man. For me, it meant that I had to ensure nobody got any ideas at all about me. Mostly this meant either talking about my partner a lot or only working for married men. Luckily for me, by the time the Okar arrangement fell over I had plenty of other work - but it was a disappointment to find out this person I respected was into me for reasons other than those I thought.
These are not things a male shepherd would have to deal with. It was a sucky lesson to learn and it made things harder for a while. Now, whenever I pass Okar I think about that, and it's a bittersweet memory that leaves me feeling very strange. And very glad that I didn't go down the path that so many people recommended to a girl who wanted her own farm - "Oh, just marry a farmer!"
Fuck you, traditional gender roles. Fuck you right in the ear.
I also found out that driving irritates my OOS. For those who are new, I have OOS in my neck and I've been seeing OsteoDude for a couple of months and now most of my days are pain-free. But there's something about the way the headrest in the car makes me hold my head that sparked it off again, and I'm back to sleeping on my right side again. OOS sucks. It's not like an injury that gets steadily better, it comes and goes and while it is slowly improving, it only takes a couple of hours of Wrong Movement and I'm in pain for another few days. Stupid OOS. OOS, you are worse than those damn birds.
This is cool. A chance to solve a 20-year-old mystery that includes cryptography, coding and William Gibson. Neat!