A new workshop means it’s time for retirement for some, Charlotte Rietveld writes.

Blow me down with a bloomin’ feather. You’d think 2020 had prepped us for unforeseen events, but once again I have been dumbfounded. The Boss has uttered two most terrifying words.

Until this day I would have sworn the most petrifying duo would be “You’re fired”.

While I suspect I have been shortlisted for that one several times over the years, fortunately that particular instruction had already been issued to another orange-headed human.

Instead my father had conjured a far more blood-curdling combo. “I’m retiring,” he said. In the most nonchalant of tones. Completely ignoring my wide-eyed, slack-jawed expression of sheer panic.

Now you may think me naïve, what with The Boss recently turning 70, that such a statement is so alarming. But let me remind you of this ol’ Gold-Carder’s mindset.

He is quite possibly the founding father of the ‘if you want a job done properly, do it yourself’ mantra (which I politely decline to take personally), easily works a 70-hour week and hasn’t let up for the past five decades.

Equally you may think me decidedly odd, what with most farming lads and lasses offering up their first born for a crack at the rural reins.

While there are indeed times I could offer the first born, the reins have never been my aspiration. I’m like the scrum coach, the back-bencher, the middle-manager; happy to call the occasional shot, only too happy to take the salary, but the ultimate buck-stopping responsibility is to be avoided for as long as possible. Why be the teacher when you can be the class clown?

And now, blow me down, the end is nigh. Admittedly not for another 18 months, but after a fleeting 13-year apprenticeship, it feels all too soon.

Don’t let the near-middle-aged figure of 38 years confuse you, I’m barely finished mopping up the mashed banana of the maternity sabbatical. Heaven forbid, I’m still so befuddled I regularly put Anlamb in my coffee and fortify the pet lambs with Karicare Gold.

But my not-fit-for-duty protestations didn’t wash. “How ‘bout another year or two?” was met with a deadpan “Nope”.

In desperation I reached for the nuclear weapons. “Well, I’ll… I’ll… I’ll ditch the Corries for composites!” but even this inflammatory treason failed. “Very well” was all I got, as The Boss relaxedly strode towards the refurbished workshop. It was then that the penny (or the lack of future pennies) dropped. The Boss finally had his own workshop.

Thinking it would clear out the woolshed, I had foolishly endorsed this endeavour, not knowing it would signal the end of the golden weather.

What Iron Disease sufferer would want to dag and draft sheep when there were Projects of National inSignificance to delight in. Who’d want to hazard a guess at fickle weather, volatile markets and ever-increasing regulation when restoration is on offer.

In hindsight, unbeknownst to me The Chief Inspector had already sensed this shifting of affection. Not two days prior to The Announcement, her husband The Boss had been pruning some driveway trees near his beloved workshop.

Despite a tour group due, he’d foolishly left the pruned branches in full view, inciting the fury of the aptly named Chief Inspector. But drag them to the green waste depot she did not. No indeed, she knows how to make a statement. Said branches were instead indelicately manoeuvred to the centre of the cherished workshop hoist.

Some would call this spiteful. Other, wise, weather-beaten souls would know to simply call it marriage. Either way, she had sensed what I had not. Despite no intention to change house, farm or wife, The Boss has found a new love.