SEAR­ING SHOCK

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

john. an­der­[email protected] news. com. au RAVENSWOOD lar­rikin Woody Pi­gram was hav­ing some tests done at the Townsville Hospi­tal last week. Noth­ing un­usual about that.

Woody, a Viet­nam vet­eran, has a few is­sues go­ing on that the doc­tors and nurses are help­ing him sort out. He had most of his right leg re­moved in 2013 due to a blocked artery. He lost a leg, but he’s never lost his sense of hu­mour.

He was in the hospi­tal’s PET scan fa­cil­ity last week when one of the nurses went look­ing for his thongs ( note: I said “thongs”, not thong). He only needs one, but the nurse wasn’t aware he only had one leg.

She was down on her hands and knees look­ing un­der Woody’s gur­ney for what she thought were two miss­ing thongs. Af­ter a few sec­onds she flung one hand hold­ing a sin- IN ES­TAB­LISH­ING their Nat­u­ral Evo­lu­tion Foods Rob and Krista Watkins have walked the mine­fields of bu­reau­cratic red tape, cyn­i­cism from de­trac­tors and worst of all, the big­gest mon­ster of the lot, self- doubt. There were times when they asked them­selves what the heck they were do­ing. But, they never thought they’d have to face up to a bush­fire. Sum­mer cy­clones are al­ways a threat. They are al­ways on the mind of trop­i­cal coast hor­ti­cul­tur­ists dur­ing sum­mer, but a bush­fire? You just don’t hear about ba­nana plan­ta­tions be­ing con­sumed by fire. Rob and Krista lost their 5000 lady fin­ger trees at Walka­min on the Ather­ton Table­land last week to a bush­fire. These are the trees they rely on for the fruit that makes their highly val­ued flour. The trees they lost were planted in 2015. They might never have thought their trees, which are 90 per cent water, could burn. What hap­pened was when the fire in­vaded the plan­ta­tion the water or sap boiled and the trees ex­ploded. Rob and Krista over­came the h hur­dles and built what is now the amaz­ingly suc­cess­ful Nat­u­ral Evo­lu­tion Foods busi­ness, built ini­tially on green l lady fin­ger ba­nanas. I It has ex­panded and has now achieved in­ter­na­tional fame. When I spoke to K Krista this week she was philo­soph­i­cal. They are al­ready re­group­ing and r re­build­ing. One fire can’t keep a good team down. gle thong tri­umphantly in the air and shouted, “I found one, but I can’t see the other one”. This trig­gered laugh­ter from the PET scan op­er­a­tor who was in on the joke. It wasn’t un­til the nurse looked up and saw that Woody was short of a leg that she re­alised there was no se­cond Chi­nese rid­ing boot.

There was laugh­ter all around. Woody, by the way, is a huge fan of ev­ery­one at Townsville Hospi­tal.

Woody is still the caretaker, self- ap­pointed David At­ten­bor­ough and re­la­tion­ship coun­sel­lor at the Ravenswood Show­ground Camp­ing Park ( all ad­vice is free). Drop in and say “howyagoin­woody­mate­wan­taVB”? Ask him to tell you a joke. You’ll be sorry, but the pain is worth it be­cause no­body in the his­tory of hu­mankind has ever had a worse reper­toire of jokes than Woody. I’m sure he will take that as a com­pli­ment.

DEV­AS­TA­TION: The burnt ba­nana trees on Rob and Krista Watkins Table­land plan­ta­tion and ( in­set) Rob plant­ing the young lady fin­ger ba­nana trees in 2015.

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