How to Catch a Marron, and Other Life Lessons
Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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Where I stayed
I could tell you, however, how to catch a marron! Or, if you happened to be interested, I could tell you how to avoid bogging a truck in a rain-soaked farmer's field while attempting to teach yourself to drive a manual-shift car! Or, even better, I could tell you how to wade the waters of someone else's divorce (by hiding in corners, avoiding human contact, repeat ad nauseam)
Since the Flinders Chase Farm, a hostel/farm on KI, lies on the border of Flinders Chase National Park, I had hoped that it might be nicely located for a prime bit of off-time exploring during my two-week WWOOFing stint. However it borders on an impenetrable bit of scrub, and the farm is fifteen kilometres from the nearest turn on the road, and even that is forty kilometres from anything worth visiting. So my time was taken up with cleaning the hostel, catching marron for the farm, and skulking around to avoid the fractious environment at the main house.
On my fourth day at the place, not having seen much of the Man and Woman who run the place (I won't give their names, as I don't feel that they would want their identities publicly associated with their drama), the Woman knocked on the door of my room and said, in a rather stressed-out way, "I'm going to be going now. The Man will look after you just fine, I'm sure. I just have to get out of this negative environment." Then she took off, leaving me gaping. I had no idea what she was talking about.
The next day I was called up to the main house to speak with The Man (despite this moniker, do not think of him as being particularly imposing, as he is more of a run-down, chain-smoking, softly-spoken fellow).
"Do you think you could clean the hostel by yourself?" he said to me. Cleaning hostels is not hard. It involves changing sheets and sweeping floors.
"Yes," I said
"Good. As you know, we had a divorce here yesterday, and I don't know anything about running the hostel."
Oh, so that's what she'd meant by leaving. She'd left him, and the place, for good. In the end this meant that The Man, in addition to giving me room and board for the time I was there, also gave me some money for the extra duties I took on, so it actually turned out to be good timing, in a way, for me.
Later I heard---from the Man, from his daughter, from his mother---that the Woman had gone a few weeks before to Bali and there become besotted by a Balinese boy twenty years her junior, whom she would now join (and, in the bargain, pay for him to attend university). The Man had accidentally discovered an email from this effusive lover to the Woman and this had caused the fatal rift. This just made me want to run away, or cocoon up in a ball under a bunch of blankets, because there is nothing worse than being stuck in a place where everyone is seething with resentment and a screeching soap opera is publicly taking place.
However, I had my duties! Besides the hostel, I had the aforementioned marron. Marron are a type of freshwater crayfish, in a appearance something like a smaller lobster
Once at the ponds, I'd find the ropes for the nets, previously tied off to convenient twigs or branches, pull 'em in, and empty the marron inside into a bucket. However sometimes the crafty buggers contrived to slide, not into the bucket, but out onto the ground, and then I had to give chase on foot. When you pin 'em from behind with one hand, they kick like crazy, so you must hold them down solidly until they realize that this kicking motion (which is how they would normally swim) is not taking them anywhere, and then they go quiet and docile and can be easily lifted, hands safely out of reach of the pinchers, into the bucket. Then you put dog food (yeah---I know) into a little net inside the trap, and throw it back out into the pond.
That, in the very remote case that you ever need to know, is how you catch marron. On the last day I only caught two and in pity for them and their kind, I threw them back into the pond. Sort of a thank-you to the dozens of others that I had trapped and sent to the dinner table.