Much like the mysteries of royal life, farming has a dark side of its own, writes Charlotte Rietveld.
Leaving the farm is quite possibly most farmers’ worst fear, though there are many among us who occasionally entertain such fantasies. One of these is my dear mother, The Chief Inspector. While she’s hardly trending with Royal Princess Meghan and her Hollywood A-listers, it seems she has long understood the potential need to escape to the unknown.
Much like the mysteries of royal life, it is well understood that farming has a dark side of its own. An unidentified, unquantifiable chasm known as the Black Hole of Farming. Many will be familiar with the Black Hole of Farming – it’s that indecipherable abyss that vapourises the healthy budget result that ought to be sitting in the bank account. It has an insatiable appetite for cash surpluses, perennially finding a new reason to sink yet more funds back into the Black Hole, never to be seen again.
Much like the royals’ loose-lipped butlers and ‘trusted confidants’, the Black Hole of Farming has its own truth-alluding tattletale. Brave souls willing to investigate will discover the Black Hole’s main inhabitant and number one partner in crime; the Depreciation Schedule. This is quite simply the black box of the Black Hole. Look closely here and odds are you’ll find a concise record of most if not all cash vapourisation.
But the laws of physics and finance are surely much the same, all must balance. Take another look into that Black Hole and glinting from the shadows you’ll find many a farming lady’s secret delight – The Runaway Fund. Seldom discussed and never disclosed, The Runaway Fund is directly proportionate to the size, scale and secrecy of the Depreciation Schedule. So often misinterpreted amongst the clutter of a mechanical mind, the deathly stare emitted during discussions of buying yet more vehicles and machinery is in fact the mental tallying of The Runaway Fund, a most soothing exercise.
Here at Middle Rock, the Black Hole exists in peace on a don’t-ask-don’t-tell basis. That is, until the new accountant arrived last week and a meteor threatened the end of civilisation. Rightly needing to ascertain the nature of the business, said accountant was graciously enquiring after expenditure that was clearly destined for the depreciation schedule.
The static was palpable as the Chief Inspector sensed collusion, but somehow The Boss managed to cough and morse-code-mumble his way through capital expenditure explanations. No longer teetering at the edge of the Black Hole, we all sat back in immense relief. That was, until questioning turned to the farm’s tourism operations.
As the main source of Runaway Fund income, a collective gasp occurred. The conversation had returned to taboo, diving headfirst into the Black Hole. With the interrogatory shoe finally on the other foot, forced into territory that the rest of us had never dared venture, The Chief Inspector was positively regal; she smiled sweetly and said absolutely nothing.
Finally the penny dropped as the accountant realised he had unknowingly stepped into matrimonial abyss. Wisely suggesting he would contact The Chief Inspector at a later date, we immediately relaxed knowing we’d narrowly avoided one giant, unadvisable leap for womankind.
With crises averted, equilibrium has returned to Middle Rock’s Black Hole of Farming. Unlike Meghan, matrimonial peace has reigned with the Runaway Fund remaining untouched. That is, until the next proposed addition to the depreciation schedule. Long live The Chief Inspector.