The public’s appetite for beef means most bulls don’t get to see their second birthday.
Angus the bull, though, lived a charmed life.
He formed a special bond with his owner Russ Bush, of Glen Oak in Dungog Shire.
Russ’s wife Jenny said the pair “seemed to click”.
“Russ could walk up to him and put his arms around his neck, give him a kiss, pat him and rub him.”
It was an unlikely friendship between man and beast.
“Every time he heard him coming down on the bike, he’d walk down to the gate and get a pat,” Jenny said.
“Russ couldn’t bear to send him off to be killed.
“He said ‘he’s my pet and he’s staying here and that was that’.”
After a long life of 15 years, Angus had to be put down after suffering from arthritis.
“We laid him to rest where he used to sit,” Jenny said.
Angus would sit in the corner of a paddock, next to the main road between Clarence Town and Seaham.
He became known as the “sitting bull”.
“He’d be just sitting there enjoying the scenery,” Jenny said.
“He was a gentle animal.”
A sitting bull was not completely unheard of, but was quite rare.
His uniqueness made people stop and photograph him. Clarence Town Post Office sold postcards of him.
He had a lot of fans.
“A lady would stop on the way to work, well dressed with high heels, skirt and blouse,” Jenny said.
“She’d pull up, totter across the road and give him a piece of bread.”
He became a landmark.
“Everyone knew where the sitting bull was,” Clarence Town’s Taneal Anderson said.
When giving their location, people would say things like “I’m about 2 kilometres past the sitting bull”.
Friends would arrive from out of town and say “we’ve just seen the funniest thing – there’s a bull sitting up in the paddock like a dog”.
On one occasion, Angus broke out of his paddock and strolled onto the main road.
“Russ went over with a biscuit of hay,” Jenny said.
“Angus saw Russ coming, so he ambled over.”
He went for the hay and pushed a bit too hard, causing Russ to stumble and fall on the road.
Cars pulled up, fearing Russ would be killed.
“Russ was calling out ‘no, he just wants his hay’.
“Russ was lying on the road with a biscuit of hay on his chest and the bull was standing there eating it.”
Heckle and Jeckle
Topics wrote recently of our belief that stand-up comedy was an under-appreciated artform.
When we think of stand-up comedians, it brings a smile to our face.
Hecklers also come to mind. We wonder whether hecklers were an early version of internet trolls.
Minmi’s Bob Skelton, a bush poet and author, can relate to stand-up comedians getting a hard time from the audience.
“Bush poets are stand-up performers – sometimes it might be humorous, other times it is serious,” Bob said.
Bob often performs for charities. He also does gigs at nursing homes and aged-care establishments.
“They are the ones that test your mettle,” he said.
A recent gig “took the wind outta my sails”.
He was in the middle of reciting Clancy of the Overflow.
“A dear little old lady stood up, glared at me and shouted ‘oh for Christ’s sake shut up will ya’.”
On another occasion, he was close to finishing a poem when a bloke “came right up to me and said ‘what the hell are you on about’.”
He recalled a time when a lady in the audience exclaimed: “I want to hear Shakespeare if you don’t mind, please.”
Ouch! That’s tough.
Bob tries to stay positive.
“I always tell fellow performers if they can carry on under those circumstances, then they can perform anywhere,” he said.
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