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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Romance / General
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Ben Dixon
  • Series Number:4
  • Pages:120
  • eBook ISBN:9781483530864

Ben Dixon and The Long Paddock

by R L Humphries

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Cattleman and journalist Ben Dixon has gone west, leaving behind his cattle property Dixon Hill at Monaldo, in Queensland, Australia,and his difficult wife,Milly. She's been convinced she's pregnant, even though Ben and her doctor tell her, that, at 49. there's little chance of that and it's just her time of life. On learning that Ben's correct she turns on him savagely and Ben wearily sets out for his beloved Western Queensland to call on people he wrote about years before in an award- winning newspaper series, and to distribute some of his and Milly's considerable wealth among landholders doing it tough. He's well-received wherever he goes and finds plenty of people needing help. But word gets out and people start to pursue him for a hand-out. Ben tires of eluding them and joins a drover,Oscar Brown, and his wife Belle, to go on a cattle drive down the Long Paddock, a Government stock route which is used to walk cattle and sheep to railpoints and to other properties.He had promised Milly a 25th anniversary reavowal in a Melbourne church with pealing bells and men in morning suits but had told her to call it off, as he departed. But on the peaceful cattle drive he realises that Milly's problems were not of her making and he begins to think of her more and more, and decides he'll try to make it to the reavowal ceremony after all, if it's still on. Milly meanwhile is broken-hearted at his departure and realises that she'd behaved pretty badly. She hasn't called off the ceremony and with 15-year-old daughter Mim sets out to find Ben and persuade him to the reavowal. They track him through one friend of Ben's after another and find that he's worshipped in the West. They have a couple of threatening moments but protect themselves with gun and knife, developing a reputation as they pass through, getting closer to Ben. They catch up with Ben on his cattle drive and Ben and Milly are re-united. Milly joins the drive but getting to the ceremony presents many problems....
Cattleman and journalist Ben Dixon decides to head West to meet some old friends and to distribute some of his and his wife Milly's considerable wealth to landholders who are doing it tough. Milly has been behaving badly, thinking she's pregnant although her doctor warns her that at 49 it's a symptom of her time of life. When he proves to be correct, Milly, now out of control, turns on Ben. He'd promised her a 25th anniversary reavowal ceremony in Melbourne but, on departure from their property at Monaldo in Queensland, tells her to call it off. He enjoys his beloved West and finds plenty of people and small towns to help with cash grants along the way, and enjoys meeting people he wrote about in an award-winning newspaper series, a few years before. But he's being chased by people who've heard of the grants and want hand-outs. Tiring of the chase, Ben joins a cattle drive along the Long Paddock, a government stock route used for moving cattle and sheep around the West. In the peace of the drive Ben begins to think of Milly and their life together. He realises that her behaviour was because of her state of mind and decides to try to have the ceremony reinstated. Back home Milly understand how and why she's behaved so badly and, with 15-year-old daughter Mim sets out to try to find Ben, get him to love her again, and persuade him to the ceremony. They are greeted affectionately by Ben's friends as they track them through the country and people help them in their search for him. They are threatened at times but protect themselves with knife and gun, developing a reputation in the West, which Milly hopes Ben never hears of. They are led to the hopping off point for the cattle drive so Milly drives to the first rest stop on the drive and awaits Ben. The drive has problems so they send Mim home and to Melbourne, Ben takes over as Boss Drover and Milly as cookie, the drover's cook. She has to leave the drive early to head for Melbourne and it's going to be a close thing for Ben. He encounters all sort of problems and despairs that his attempts to be with Milly might fail...
About the author
R L Humphries lives in Queensland Australia, on the coast, not far from his childhood home and where he undertook his training as a daily newspaper reporter. He eventually moved to Brisbane and worked on Queensland's biggest morning daily and then moved to New Guinea where he was a reporter for Radio Australia and the Australian national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Commission.He covered stories such as the search for the son of the then New York Governor, Nelson Rockefeller, and the attempted Indonesian invasion of Dutch West Papua. He was brought back to Brisbane to prepare to go to Singapore but left the A.B.C after a dispute and joined the Queensland Government, at first working for ministers and then as an administrator.He retired to the coast and now fishes and writes books.