Camped at New Norfolk recently, I was surrounded by backpacking cherrypickers in their tents and whizbangs (Kombi-type vehicles with very noisy sliding doors). They’d be off early each morning and arrive back exhausted about mid- to late-afternoon.

An hour or two of online activity, a quick meal, and off to bed they’d go. The few I managed to speak to said it was all worth it. On a very good day the hard labour netted them $2-300. Enough to build the nest egg for the next travel adventure.

Among them were Adrien and Veronique, a young couple from Paris who had been following the fruit picking trail for some months.

Adrien had some unusual tattoos with a whimsical and creative literary bent.

Below the oak tree on his left arm was the first chapter of Cul de Sac by Douglas Kennedy which took five hours of inking.

When not travelling Adrien and his cohorts have a rather interesting band — Dinosaurus Volcanosaurus Dawgs — and together they create a bit of online mayhem.

Veronique is a direct descendant of King Behanzin of Benin. The Wikipedia entry is worth reading as the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) was the last African outpost to fall to colonialism.

It was also home to the Dahomey Amazons or Mino who were a Fon all-female military regiment. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia.

Talking with her it is hard to believe that her ancestors were rather fond of beheading opponents.

[Headhunter image courtesy Wikipedia]

Fly-tying is a skill not mastered by many. It takes countless hours of observation, concentration, and deft manipulation of fur, feather and cotton, not to mention supple fingers and keen eyesight to achieve the tiny works of art.

This small sample below also highlights the variation in size, colour and detail.