Archive for the ‘tractor’ Tag

Cows n’ shit   2 comments

We had to give up trying to chase her back into the stables everynight when she statred out smarting us..and out running us..Funny little piggy

Being a member of WWOOF Italia (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming) allows me access to farms throughout the country in need of assistance and so while in La Spezia I take the time to contact one in Modena, near Bologna where I will work with cattle.


After some quick goodbyes and a mad sprint for the bus I make it to the train station where my slowly improving language skills help me board the right train. Once bitten, twice shy and all that. –Once got on the wrong train in Scotland and went 200 miles the wrong way-.


We’re not half an hour into our journey before an almighty bang sounds from the front. Our train seems to lift slightly for a second while shaking violently from side to side and as I look through the window I see stones spray from beneath my carriage.


My first thought was that we were coming off the tracks and “Fuck, I never got to finish my book”! Maybe a fallen tree or a damaged rail, but after coming to a stop I then see the driver along with a hoard of official looking people out surveying the damage and checking the wheels under my coach until finally, after an hour a conclusion is reached that our train is indeed fucked.


As we make a very slow retreat back to our nearest platform to catch a different train, I spy the culprit, a big fucking goat. It really is a big goat. From its head to its tail lie a distance of about a kilometre!

Train vs goat


Like always my train of thought is directed from within my pants. I convince myself that this is where it’s going to happen. Yes Andy, you will arrive here and the farmer will greet you with open arms. “Well hello there, you’ve made it just in time. I have many daughters needing serviced and milked, one hundred cows to be eaten and a fountain of beer waiting just for you”!


What I do find is a Mother/Son family farm with about twenty cows, bulls, calves, five goats, horses, ducks, peacocks, turkeys a chicken and one potbellied pig called Maylina. No daughters but an endless supply of wine and probably the best food I’ve ever had in my life.


My first day on the farm and I’m being led around by an 84 year old woman helping to change beds, fold sheets and prepare rooms for guests arriving as this small farm also doubles up as a restaurant and bed n’ breakfast. The raw meat I ate last-night is doing some serious damage to my stomach today but with no way of explaining this I decide to suffer in silence while tucking in beds, mopping floors and trying not to shit myself.


While she leaves the room for a moment I seize this opportunity and fly towards the on suite making it just in time. Our special guests are expected any minute now and if this old lady catches me stinking up their toilet or whole house for that matter, I’m in no doubt that she’ll beat the crap right out me however, that might not be such a bad thing right now.


I don’t even bother opening a window because I’ll just forget to close it and an open toilet window would just make it more obvious that someone’s done a big jobbie. My hopes are on the idea that year’s spent living on a cow farm has made her indifferent to such smells. Maybe she’ll like it? I’m in the clear but never straying far from a toilet for the next few days until my system can handle such fine, fresh, raw Italian produce, but oh what a pickle if that toilet hadn’t flushed!


An Italian/French friend I’ve met here who is also volunteering leaves to go home now and it’s my turn to work in the stables feeding cows and clearing shit. I enjoy this job a lot and you get used to the smell pretty quickly. I do come under fire occasionally from a stubborn goat who doesn’t give a fuck and a bull that sends out one shattering kick right on my balls. I’m not a man who’d normally condone violence to animals but I will make an exception in this occasion. It does cheer me up no end though to watch our biggest bull slip, fall and land on top of the farm hand. Maybe I deserve to be kicked in the balls?


On numerous occasions I’m treated to the sight of the farmers Mum stomping after the goats armed with a pitchfork shouting “DIE, DIE”! I would later learn that ‘dai’ actually means come on in Italian and she doesn’t really hate those goats quite as much as I thought.

You’d expect to see a pigeon..maybe a blackbird perched on your windowsill..


What little I can understand from her is that if I keep feeding the cows they will explode. Cool! Her son Stefano does one mean impression of a cow and what facial expressions to look for when they want fed. Trouble is they always look like that unless they’re still eating. Or exploding.


After slamming my ankle in the van door one day as we set off to pick up about a year’s supply of wine, I can’t help but feel a little stupid and confused as to how I managed to do that. It really hurts like a bitch. Then Azis, the Afghan farm hand realises while taking a tight bend that his doors still wide open. I’ve never seen anyone do that before and from the reaction on his face from watching his bosses’ door almost get ripped from its hinges, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s a sneaky little pooh in his pants right now!


I’m taken to Bologna to work in a market during the night selling hot food to hot students and other farmers. It would seem that Bologna is where it’s all at in terms of tasty Italian women and I’m liking this city immensely. There’s definitely something about Bologna, a certain charm and appeal. Or maybe it’s the fact that the only bit of affection I’ve received so far is being licked half to death by calves.


. . .


Looking back I can recall one time around the age of fourteen, maybe fifteen when myself and a group of friends ‘borrowed’ a car and took it for a little spin in an empty car park close to where we lived. It was a hatchback and being the last to enter an already packed vehicle, I took up position in the back with just enough room to kneel down.  My driving friend would later claim that the steering wheel locked and there was nothing he could do, but after hitting that embankment, launching into the air before coming down hard on the nose and finally slamming back down to earth on all four wheels sending me through that family car like a fucking pinball. It’s fair to say I was somewhat shaken.


Nothing compared to the terror I now face sitting uncomfortably once again but now behind the single seat of a large, suspension-less tractor with no rear window to lean against as we cut a passage through impossibly steep slopes in the hills of Modena, Monteombraro.

When Death comes to town she’ll be riding one of these!



Clinging on for dear life to the handles of a sunroof with my heart in my mouth as we bulldoze through deep scrub that offers no clues to what degree of shit we’re running into and Stefano doesn’t give a rats ass. Maybe Bolognas last football defeat was the just too much and he’s given up on life altogether choosing now to be buried in a heap of petrol, metal and burning rubber, but I don’t want to die just yet. As nice as this place is I’ve still got a book to write and things I’d like to do!


My knuckles are white from gripping so hard and I’m shitting bricks. As he smashes through yet more small trees in search of the other tractor he fucked up around here I perch on my feet and ready myself to jump out the gaping hole behind me as we start to climb an even worse slope. Not a chance in Hell if I jump from here, which is exactly where I’ll go now that I look down 800 meters to the rock filled bottom. So I take my chances with this big, blue contraption of Death as suicide by way of being shat from the backend of a tractor isn’t quite my style.


We level out and come to a clearing where lies the remains of the last tractor to come here and I shift my aching ass from that cabin just grateful to be alive and not imbedded between ground and tractor. We take the long, safe route home and it’s about thirty minutes quicker than the shortcut!

“Moo”! You took the words right out of my mouth


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Posted November 27, 2012 by andysalwaysright in Uncategorized

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Italy.. The hippie hippie shake   4 comments

A part of me had hoped I was heading for some kind of brainwashing sex cult (can you guess which part?), but instead I find myself entering a religious community run by monks and nuns in the hills of Varese Ligure near the sleepy town Cembrano –North West Italy- the day after Bosnia.

I accept an invitation to meditate with what seems like about fifty hippies but now I can’t remember if they said half an hour or half a day. My shorts are still wet from washing in the river and as I sit in my puddle watching the silence of meditation turn into some kind of Buddhist chant, I quietly reflect on how fucking weird this is.

Maybe I’m just tired but this grumpy old dick sharing my rooms pissing me off already. Maybe it’s the voice of God whispering in my ear that knocking out an old hippy in a religious community on my first night might just be a new low. We’ll just see how this goes.

Weapon of choice..Get those pesky heathens!

After last meditation no one is allowed to talk until after first meditation the next day. As much as I respect peoples beliefs and all.. I just don’t get it. Reflect on what? How bad the world is? Clear your mind, why? I personally enjoy thinking stuff and right now I’m thinking Get A Grip. When I first heard we would meditate four times a day I thought someone said masterb… Never mind.

A few real hotties around here including one Costa Rican girl from San Isidro (my home for ten months) who says she might have been in the bull festival at the same time as me. What are the chances of that? As I work alongside her, my Turkish mate Timone and one crackingly gorgeous blond girl, I pick up on only two things as they converse in Italian. The words Horney and Doggy style! What am I missing here? And from the mouths of hippies too.



Hippies don’t have sex. They smear their bodily fluids onto trees which they rub against through pours on their skin for other hippies to follow suit and immaculately impregnate. –If my use of English seems bad here it’s because you can go fuck yourself-. This is where the terms ‘tree hugger’ and my personal favourite ‘hippy wankstain’ derive.


The mating calls of kumbaya and hallelujah can be heard for miles and if witnessed will commonly be accompanied by bongo drums and flower decorated acoustic guitars. In comparison, one of my guitars reads ‘I used to fuck people like you in prison’ there for making me not a hippie wankstain. 


This noise alerts fellow ‘singing benders’ to their whereabouts so they may discuss flower power and saving stupid dolphins. All hippies are A-sexual allowing them to spread like a fucking virus and thus also being the reason why they all act like a bunch of girls.


Not everyone’s a hippy though and I spend most of my time splashing around in one of two lagoons nearby with some cool guys listening to Lordi and Metallica after yet another scorching day building a large fence to keep the heathens out. Or maybe just the wild boars.

We’re approached by one gun totting Forest Police officer pissed with us for chopping down a tree without permission. Head monk to the rescue and as we listen to the increasingly loud exchange of rants and yells, we wait for either a gunshot or a bolt of lightning but, alas, nothing. Maybe it’s God again coming down and this time telling that big, bad policeman to go away.

. . .

Sitting on the backend of a tractor with my feet up hitching a ride along with Pasqualino in the shit-scooper (?), dreaming away about nothing in particular, maybe thinking of beer and nuns when suddenly the leaver holding us to the tractor gives way and we’re thrown down hard on our asses into the middle of the road. “What the fuck”?! Like something from a comedy movie we remain seated on the road scratching our heads in bemusement wondering what just happened.

This guy Pasqualino is a living legend though. About fifty years old with a vodka roughened cackle of a laugh any and every time someone fucks up. When I burnt my hand, when we fell out of a moving tractor and when Walter smacked his shin with a sledge hammer he damned well nearly shit himself laughing. And so it felt only appropriate to laugh my ass off when he electrocuted himself and when my shit directions led our crappy car into a ditch and then just about being rolled upside down when our favourite tractor came to toe us.

. . .


As the mayhem of lunch begins to simmer down a little it would appear that it’s now my turn to tell a joke. Someone always stands up to tell a story, joke or even a song where at one point we had a professional opera singer do an impressive Pavarotti number. I try to think of a nice,  friendly one that can appeal to everyone, but they want it now and can’t wait a moment longer.. and so..

It was the cleanest one I could think of. The other involved a bus full of nuns dying in a bus accident, but I guess that might not seem appropriate with such company. Instead I dish out a joke involving Protestant’s shitting in Catholic shoes and Catholics pissing in Protestants Bovril (beef soup). After the pause where I wait for my joke to finish being translated I find that it’s went down better than I expected but please, please don’t rush me into another!

Just by the doorway a little commotion is being translated to me by one of our nuns and it seems the people from our local village reckon we’re harbouring someone with drug issues. I have no idea why they’re here or what they plan to do about it but as I look around the room I’m quickly drawn to the conclusion that this ‘someone’ could only be me. I’ve been clean for years so fuck you!

Another lunch comes to an end and I find myself boxed in at the dinner table with nowhere to go.

“Why don’t you meditate”?

Why don’t you fuck off?

“You should try it again. We can show you how. It’s so good to clear your mind. And why do you travel so much? What are you running away from”?

Don’t give me that shit. You live on a fucking religious RETREAT!


You don’t eat meat and I don’t meditate. Difference being that meat is something I can taste, touch, smell, see and even hear while it’s cooking making it an actual physical object. With that in mind I know I could physically shove it down your throat. I should only have to tell you once that I’m not interested in meditation/religion and we can leave it at that otherwise you will wake one God blessed morning with my ‘meat’ slapping between your rosy cheeks!

Lent comes to an end and we venture further up the mountain to feast on pizza and pasta like there’s no tomorrow. Once all the foods demolished they leave the table to form a circle and hold hands.

Oh fuck no.

“What’s going on”?

We’re going to do something the Knights Templar used to do after battle.


Turns out that the Knights Templar were a bunch of raving pussies.

Every country has a history of conflict and heroic warriors such as the Maori, Samurai, Zulu or Spartans but none of them pranced around hand in hand curtseying one another like a bunch of singing benders did they? No, they did not.

I can just see it now after a successful night op in Afghanistan from which the SAS have taken out their target and returned to camp unscathed and unmoved from the recent assault unleashed upon what was once a formidable enemy compound. “Right lads. Before we break up lets form a circle, hold hands and prance about like a squad of daisy queens”!

Finally I manage to escape and get some time to myself in La Spezia, the nearest city to the farm we’re in. A day to spend drinking beer, eating meat, using internet and drooling over the many Italian hotties during this fine summer’s day. I miss my last bus home unfortunately and send an email letting my favourite nun know roughly where I am and what’s happening. Her reply reads; Can you not phone us and come back tonight? A group of us are going out tonight.

To do what? Hold hands, sing and eat fucking rabbit food. I think I’ll pass. In fact, I think I’ll get a nice hotel room for the night and meditate. I’m going to meditate so long and so hard that parts of my being might actually fall off and I’m going to think of you while I’m doing it. Oh shit. I mean masterb..

La Spezia.. Beer,sun,women,hamburgers,people playing chess..What more do you need?

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