I’m originally from Cheekpoint, Co Waterford, but I’ve settled closer to Dunmore East with my husband Crispin who owns Roche Mini-Digger service.

I’m a complete country girl; I couldn’t survive in a city or a town. I love the green fields, the mucky boots, the smell of silage, the whole lot.

Christmas this year will be different to previous years. Little baby Alexandra Roche arrived this spring. She’s nine and a half months; she is crawling at the minute so I need eyes in the back of my head. She smiles at everybody and anything, her smile would break the toughest person down.

Planning came through for us this summer too.

We bought a site outside Dunmore East village. Once the days get brighter, we’ll move onto the site in a mobile home. We’ll do a lot of the work ourselves. It’s very exciting and daunting at the same time. I know what my garden will look like, I know what the grounds in general will look like but do I know what the inside of the house will be?

Outback cattle station

December 2015, we were working in the outback on a cattle station outside Adelaide. There were a few thousand head of cattle. We mustered the cattle, did mechanical work, fencing and general maintenance.

After that, we travelled south and worked with an agricultural contractor. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day we were flat out mowing, baling and hauling big square bales. I was raking the grass into rows for baling. After getting caught out in the middle of nowhere one night I had to call my husband to help me when a bearing went. After that I never got on board without making sure my toolbox was at my feet!

One time, I dropped a pliers and a brown snake was slithering around at my feet. That gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about it! But that was life over there. I never jumped down off the tractor without checking the ground was clear, because a brown snake can be fatal.

Now I draw silage when I’m needed. In the early days of my pregnancy with Alex there was a long draw from Creadan Head back to Dunmore East and they needed as many people as possible.

I had wicked all-day sickness and I couldn’t let on what was wrong. It must’ve been the hottest few days of the year too but sure lookit we did it, I managed and we had right craic, which distracted me from the sickness.

Waterford Airport

After school, Waterford airport were employing so I went in as a fire fighter/security. At the airport I was dealing with all the aircraft landing and taking off, baggage handling and general airport maintenance. Once a week or once a month the alarm would go off for a practice drill. We were kept on our toes, we never knew what was going to happen until we clocked off.

I class myself as a good driver, I like machinery, I like trucks so off I went and I got the articulated licence in the first go. The rigid wasn’t on the first go, I’ll admit to that!

Lttle Island

I thought I better put this licence to good use so a Cork company based in Little Island gave me a start. I rang a couple of other businesses but they weren’t keen on taking me on; a female, with no experience but in fairness to them they gave me a chance.

I was hauling from Dublin overnight, landing at Holyhead close to midnight, then it was foot to the floor all the way, passing Liverpool into Warrington and then straight down the M6 to Coventry and Heathrow.

I’d pull up after I did my last drop and have some food, pull the curtains and get some sleep. There was a nice little fridge in the truck and I’d make sure it was working so I used to bring some salmon or a steak and my gas ring and fry that off and bring some salad and cous cous in a lunch box. I was used to that from Australia, plus I wanted to eat well because I was playing camogie with my local club Gailltir and wing back with Waterford and I wanted to do my best at training every week.

We can’t be as spontaneous as we used to be now that Alex is part of the action. Alex has to row in with us a little bit because there will be plenty of times as she gets older we’ll be spending more time on the road for her going back and forth to her activities.

These days, we might visit daddy on one of his jobs. If he needs a break I’ll jump on the digger and do half an hour while Alex is snoozing. If something needs to be repaired I’ll pull it up and Alex can learn all about the different size spanners.

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