Ever tried to plough a swamp? Maybe calm a heifer down by mesmerising it? It’s just another typical day for dairy farmer Mark and his good friend Gus Tomlins. Gus and Mark are characters best known from the Gus and Me tales depicted on New Zealand radio in the 1950s. Mark and Gus is an anthology of Frank S. Anthony’s original short stories which were published in 1923-24 in the New Zealand Herald, Christchurch Weekly and Auckland Weekly News.
In Some Pioneering, Mark gives us a glimpse of his gullibility and love of the land. This trend continues in My New Heifer, where the heifer manages to outsmart most of the farmers. Mark finds himself walking home dressed in a “ballet girl” costume in Helping Out Gus and Mark and Gus’s entrepreneurial skills are severely tested in Wood Splitting with Gus.
You will laugh out loud at some of the situations in which hot-headed Gus and gullible Mark find themselves. Told through the stoic and thoroughly Kiwi voice of Mark, the reader can envision the surrounding land, animals and locals which lead the two friends on a lively set of misadventures through 1920s rural New Zealand.