Memoirs - It Won’t Hurt …

Published 2022-03-11

This post is not about my time in IT. In fact, it is much earlier when I was in my early teens.

I wanted to include it because it clearly shows how daft I can be, and in this instance, definitely should have known better!

It’s Christmas day, early morning at some ungodly hour, and my father has coerced me into helping him to check the livestock for the morning. Being brought-up on a farm certainly had its pleasures, but “early raises” weren’t the case.

On this particular morning some livestock was being fed on kale, a field of kale to be precise that was delineated by an electric fence. Every few days it was necessary to move the fence to reveal a strip of new food the cattle could gorge themselves on.

The moisture in morning air made the every few-seconds pulse of the electric fence clearly audible.

Crack …. pop …. sizzle ….

It felt almost alive!

It wasn’t necessary to move the fence this time, but we needed to go into the enclosure to check everything was OK.

The fence was a single-stranded fence that one could either go underneath or over the top.

My father went first going underneath (being shorter than me, he could). I elected to go over the top, which meant I would have to touch the fence (push it down slightly) to facilitate this manoeuvre.

Hesitating, the sound of the fence made me think. I don’t why - I’d done this many times before without issues.

“It won’t hurt, you have rubber wellies on”, my father said.

I paused and thought, yeah OK, he’s right, and my father wouldn’t lie to me, would he?

Two mistakes there already!

So I proceeded to negotiate the fence and received this almighty kick it knocked me to the ground.

My father burst out laughing. I’d never seen him laugh so much!! It certainly made his day I think.

Looking back at it now, I can smile, and laugh even. It was a funny moment in my life.

But seriously, just how stupid could I be?

Later my father confided in me that he never thought I would believe him.

What I should have done (and many times at that) is time my contact between the pulses and not hang about. Speed and precision was the key in this instance.

Two things I didn’t have that morning.

To a certain extent it was a good life learning event.

I have always been in favour of children being able to learn things for themselves. To me, a farm is a perfect place to grow-up. There are so many things to do, see and explore. Above all learn about nature and life. Fantastic times.

Sadly, these days, children often can’t experience things because of safety concerns. I’m glad I grew up in more innocent times, when it was perfectly safe for adults (even children) to be alone, possibly out late at night, to do things, sometimes crazy, crazy things at that!

Hell, it was even safe to leave things unlocked. Couldn’t do that now, unfortunately.

I have so many great memories!

The moral of the story?

  1. Be careful with electric fences (it goes without saying kiddies!!)
  2. Don’t blindly trust anyone (even your parents), check things out for yourself.
  3. If you are going to do something, do it. Don’t dither!

The second point is poignant in this day and age because of the stupidity of people on the Internet.

Fake news (God, I hate that expression) is everywhere, wilfully aided-and-abetted by, well, you know who!

Take the time to double-check things.