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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)

The Fence-popper

The Fence-popper.

And, skipping lightly from horses to horse-radishes and suchlike subsidiaries of the soil, we meet the agricultural adviser or fence-popper who bobs up when you are trying to convince the wife that you are gardening.

Like an ostrich you bury your head in the hole you have dug for the dahlias; it is useless; he recognises you by the patch on your pants. Vain it is to pretend that you are so intent on tracking a caterpillar to its furry fastness in the heart of a cabbage that you do not see him. Even if you lie in the geraniums making noises like a wound-up wireworm or a woolly aphis which has come unravelled, he spots you.

Advice has been accumulating in him all night; the pressure on his dome is tremendous. He must rid himself of it, or take it himself—and no itinerant adviser has ever been known to take his own advice; the recoil would kill him. His wife, of page 61 course, never listens to him; she lost faith in him the day after she took his advice and married him. And so he must go forth to tell somebody how to do something.

“Planting dahlias?” he says.

You make a noise like a broken-winded sheep and try to sit on the tubers. No good!

“ But, my dear fellow,” he bleats, more in pain than in anger, “you are not going to put them in like that?”

You were, but now you know that you are not. Instead, you plant them, as directed, with their eyes turned in and their whiskers on their chests—and twelve months later you dig ‘them up to see why they didn't grow.