Emu Picture 6

We had a customer come and tell us a great story about what happened to him while drinking some of our Sparkling Shiraz. With his permission, we have posted it below for your entertainment.

 

Sparkling Shiraz and the Amorous Emu by Richard Lilly

The following is a true tale from March 2014. I was due in Adelaide for a geology conference and had flown in from Mount Isa (NW Queensland) a couple of days early to have a look around this beautiful corner of South Australia (that my family and I now call home).
I hired a car and made a bee-line to Bleasdale; I had been a fan of the Potts family wines for several years after first trying The Broadside and then being bowled over by the Second Innings Malbec. I had a friendly chat with Di and tasted a few choice vintages. I hadn’t planned where I’d be staying that night and while we were chatting Di was helpful enough to recommend the Cape Jervis Station. After stocking up with a couple of bottles I said cheerio and that I’d pop in the next time I was passing. I made a quick phone call to arrange a room and leisurely made my way to Cape Jervis via Strathalbyn.
The pleasant afternoon turned into a beautiful evening, and after checking into my Shearers Quarters for the night I asked the station owners if they’d mind if I went for a stroll through the paddock to watch the sunset from up on the hill. They said that would be fine and to follow the fence-line. I packed a few provisions (namely my half-bottle of Bleasdale’s Sparkling Shiraz and a carefully wrapped glass) and strolled a kilometre or so through the short grass as the sun made its way towards the horizon. At the top of the rise I found a great spot to watch the sun set over the ocean (you don’t see too many of those in the outback!). I set myself up leaning against an old fence post in the middle of the paddock, popped the Shiraz and sat back to enjoy natures show.

Emu Picture 1

Figure 1, The sunset was shaping up well.

My reflective revelry was disturbed a few minutes later by some gentle padding-noises coming from close-by. I turned to see old-mate emu 30 metres or so behind me. I said ‘G’Day’, and first suspected that he was also out to enjoy the sunset. He wandered around a bit and I was able to get a couple of nice photos. It was around this time, while I was drinking my fine sparkling wine, that old-mate emu started to wander a bit closer. A lot of my work as an exploration geologist is conducted out bush and I have a healthy respect for Australian wildlife. So when old-mate started to get within 10 metres I was understandably attentive to my situation to ensure I wasn’t offending him; I remained seated, still and quiet, leaning against my post. He advanced slowly, almost tip-toeing, so I guessed he might be a hand-reared (poddy) emu and may be after some food handouts. I always carry an emergency muesli bar, so reached inside my bag, grabbed it out and broke off a couple of chunks and tossed them towards old-mate, who by now was only about 5 metres away. Old-mate wasn’t interested in food and barely reacted as the quality grains landed at his knobbly feet.

Emu Picture 2

Figure 2, Old-mate was padding around ‘he must be looking for food’ I thought ….

Emu Picture 3

Figure 3, obligatory ‘Emu in the paddock at sunset’ photo. In retrospect, the puffed-out chest feathers should have started the alarm-bells ringing.

Emu Picture 4

Figure 4, old-mate kept getting closer… by this point I was starting to get a little bit nervous

By this point my heart-rate was speeding up and I didn’t fancy finding out how powerful his kick could be. I checked whether a quick exit could be made, but alas, I was a good 15m from the nearest gate (although I did assess which route I’d run if I got a chance). I then checked the status of my Shiraz (naturally), drained my glass (there is no way I was going to waste such fine liquor) and replaced everything in my bag so that a quick exit was available to me if the chance arose. Turning back, I found that by this point old-mate had continued his shuffled advance and was actually within touching distance; I was sitting down and he was towering a good 2m above me.
Then the strangest thing happened. He just sat down. Slowly, silently, and in a very controlled manner; almost in slow-motion. I was previously aware that emu’s knees bend the opposite way to humans, but I never thought I’d get to see them close enough to hear the skin wrinkle! I could smell his waxy-feathers and he was making a strange thumping sound every few seconds. It sounded a bit like something was thudding into his breastbone; a bit like a hollow-thud coming from the chest. It was quite an unexpected and slightly un-nerving noise to accompany a rather surreal situation.
Obviously at this point I was equal parts confused, wary and amused (with a little adrenalin-fuelled excitement thrown in for good measure). Old-mate then started to shuffle around in front of me. It was only then that the penny dropped. Old mate wasn’t after a chat or a feed; he was after a shag! He continued to shuffle intently forwards and I instinctively stuck out my right foot to stem his advance; this was only a first date after all! I started laughing and shouting at him to bugger off! With one hand I fumbled my camera out of my bag and tried to take a few pictures. They were almost all blurry because I was laughing so much at the situation that I found myself in, and all the while old-mate was trying to progress our relationship!

Emu Picture 5

Figure 5, Old-mate was nothing if not persistent; my right-foot kept him at bay for what seemed like a couple of minutes.

In between belly laughs I gave him a bit of a flat-footed kick to indicate that, while I like the birds, I’m not the kind of fella to mate on a first date. However, old-mate was quite insistent, so I shouted ‘I don’t want to see an emu’s c$#k today!’ That didn’t make much of a difference either, so I gave him a firmer, not-so-friendly (but not damaging) kick to the chest. He got the message at that point, stood up and backed away a few metres and turned around. The mood was broken, so I grabbed my bag and legged-it up-and-over the fence in a flash.
My emu close-encounter over, I took another couple of sunset photos as old-mate looked pensively out to sea, probably musing over the rejection and what could have been. I retreated down an adjoining fence-line and, when back in the safety of my room, took solace (and calmed the nerves) with a few medicinal glasses of Generations Malbec. Old-mate and I have never spoken again, but we are still friends on Facebook :).

Emu Picture 6

Figure 6, with my escape complete; I watched on as old-mate looked thoughtfully out to sea contemplating what could have been. We still keep in touch, but have agreed to stay ‘just friends’.

Published On

March 2, 2016