Off In Search of Gold.
Into the Model A me and my two brothers scampered. Eager to make our fortunes in the golden rivers of Reefton. More particularly The Inangahua, it was of to where Rainy Creek entered the Inangahua, it was a bit of a picnic spot so Mum was coming to with some goodies to scoff, and our togs. As a swim was included in our adventurous day, planned ahead. We were indeed a famous five, Mum Dad and the three kids. I was the middle brother. Big brother was the best position in those days, he got all the new clothes. Me I got some new and some big brother hand downs, but poor younger brother well he almost lived in our hand me downs.
Money was quite tight in those days. Mutton was a regular meal. Cheese came in a big round hard circular shape and hung in the Grocery shop. It was bought by the slice, hard as concrete and tasted like crap. Rich people could buy Chesdale, boy that was yum yum. Whenever we could lay our hands on some.
We duly arrived at The Rainy Creek picnic area. out I clambered with my frying pan and garden shovel, right where is the gold. I asked Dad. I was the only one that wanted to get into this gold game right away. The other brothers preferring to have a swim or pester Mum as to what was in the picnic hamper, hoping to score maybe, my slice of chesdale cheese whilst my back was turned.
I don’t think we actually had a gold pan, and even Dad probably had a frying pan. Well Dad says you dig into the gravel and put it into the pan, then swish it around like this and go like this kinda backwards and forwards and eventually all you are left with is gold, if there is any there. Frig that’s sounds pretty easy to me I thought, I will be rich in no time. Chocolate, and chesdale cheese and ice creams for ever, Yay.
After my instructions, right off to dig some gravel. Well I soon learnt digging river boulders and gravel aint no easy task. And after the garden spade bounced off the boulder for the third time
I decided to look for easier ground . Spotting a sand bank, I thought Ha Ha, now that is for me. The spade slid into it. like a hot knife into butter, oh the ease. And in a matter of seconds, my frying pan was full. Off to the rivers edge I scampered, and it was then down onto my haunches and time to start this panning thing. Slosh slosh slosh went the water, round and round, round and round , back and forward, back and forward and out over the lip of the frying pan it did go, carrying the sand with it. The oil/fat slick slowly floated off down river, I think Mum had cleaned the pan out, maybe not. But the slick added to the fun.
Well before I knew it, I had colour showing. And I was only half way through. Frig frig frig, Im gunna be rich I reckoned. It was gold and sparkled in the sun, that was enough for me. On I panned until all I had was gold, lots of gold. It was everywhere. Told you this gold game was easy eh. Over I scampered to Dad, look Dad, look at all my gold. Mica son, only mica, worth nothing. It be fools gold son. That’s why it is called that, it fools the new chums like you. But Dad I aren’t a fool I got a B in arithmetic at school the other day. And Betty Smith in the seat in front of me in class likes me. Its just a matter of keeping trying son Dad said, and the gold will come to you. I notice it didn’t come to him that day either, but thought best not to mention that eh.
One never forgets his first attempt at panning. I was six years of age then.
More to come.
Cheers Trev aka “The Hatter”