November 11, 2010

My Driving Skills Or Lack Thereof.

I woke up this morning and made an impulsive decision to do a day-trip to the city.  I needed to do some errands and buy some desperately needed work clothes for my day job.  The Farmer had the day off so I utilised him to babysit Farmgirl.  After I had popped Farmboy on the schoolbus I headed down the highway with a jaunty wave and didn't look back.

I really enjoy a decent trip in the car when I am entirely on my own.  Mainly because it is something that happens so rarely these days.  I listen to the ABC (more about my obsession with ABC Radio another day) and the kilometres seem to pass quickly.

 I was thinking today about driving in general.  I will be honest when I say that I am not a mechanical person and my spatial awareness has not always been spot on.  This is a nice way to say that I wasn't a very good driver early in my driving career.  Particularly of heavy machinery.  Now there are some farmer's wives out there that are brilliant at driving trucks, tractors and the like.  I would really hate anyone to think I am like that. I'm not.

In the first year I was on the farm The Farmer tried to teach me to drive various bits of farm equipment.  Within fairly quick succession I drove the Header into a ditch, my own car into a tree and would have hit the side of the shearing shed with our old Dodge truck if The Farmer hadn't interceded in the nick of time.  Interceded is a nice way of saying wrenching the steering wheel to one side whilst yelling words that sound like truck but start with a different letter.

Anyway the upshot of all this is that The Farmer then gave up.  He bought me a large 4WD with lots of airbags and an industrial strength bull/roo bar thingy.  Since then my own car, or a farm ute, is all I have been allowed to drive.  I am at peace with this decision - I never really saw myself as a hard core trucker type girl anyway.  I have gained lots of experience of gravel tracks and general 4WD type skills.  My approach to boggy ground is to check I am in 4WD and go through at 15km/h and to never, ever stop.  This has stood me in good stead over the years.  It helps to have The Farmchildren in the back yelling

"Go Mummy, go Mummy, Don't stop."

I have taught them to do that in boggy situations in case I get to a critical moment, panic and forget my plan.

Here are some photos of the sort of gear I am not allowed to drive.

Self Propelled Sprayer, Bogged (Not My Fault)

Tractor  and Hay Baler (Not Bogged)

The other area in which I have struggled is that of the motorbike.  I don't have the natural balance or nerve to ride a two wheeler.  I do love our four wheeler motorbikes though.  They are great fun. I have the dubious honour of being one of the few people on The Farm who has fallen off one.  I fell off the back one day and landed flat on my back in a muddy, smelly bog.  Fortunately for me it was a squishy, muddy, smelly bog and I did not hurt myself.  I managed to leave a very impressive person shaped indentation in the mud.  I was literally two tone when I got up.  The whole back of my body was brown and muddy and then there was a discrete line down my sides where the mud stopped.  I swear you could hear a sucking, squelching noise when The Farmer pulled me up.  He was obviously very fearful for my welfare.  I am sure his hysterical laughter was a manifestation of his huge shock and concern.

Today I had a nice easy trip to the city in my own car.  We are close enough to the city that a day trip is possible, but it is a fairly long day.  The shopping gods were definitely smiling on me as I came home with everything I needed.  Yay.


Not A Ballerina said...

LOL not only did you have a good shopping day but you've also given me a lovely laugh at the end of a long day - thank you!!

This Mid 30s Life said...

Don't worry, some of us were just NOT meant to drive such things. I grew up on a farm too, and would drive tractors etc (NEVER the header!!), but even after doing full days on the tractor, there always came a time when I'd completely forget what to do.

My very patient father just could not get over I could drive a tractor every day for a week, then go 2 days without and forget anything I knew about tractors. It is just not in my makeup.

Fussy Eater's Mum said...

I always chuckle at the pre-engaged girls who try to impress the farmer into thinking they are a good prospect by offering to drive the chaser bin at harvest or hitch a ride on the header. Not worth the humiliation if you do reverse the header into a field bin and simply cuts into more important activities like shopping, manicures and chats with girlfriends.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I LOVE this! I would have an absolute panic attack if I had to go anywhere near that heavy machinery let alone do something useful with it. And I love your 'bog plan'. Is actually good advice for life - drop back a gear and keep on going!

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

Anonymous said...

I grew up on a farm, and my 2 big brothers and dad were mad on motorbikes. Biggest bro tried to teach me to drive the pee wee 50. I drove it into the side of the chook pen. Needless to say, I am happy now in my Subaru Forester.
Loved this post. Especially the farm children cheering you on. :)

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

We are heading for life in the country. I enjoyed this post immensely.
I am ok on a motorbike (with semi automatic gears) but I am not game to drive the tractors either ...doubt hubby will even attempt to teach me.
I can barely drive a manual car...
Yay for being close enough to the city shops.
In the bog my hub goes flat out , weaving and ducking trees & all (I shout my eyes & pray).

Jodie Ansted said...

I have to say, I love a good road trip. Which, I guess, is a little different to running an errand type trip, but I get where you're coming from! Some time to yourself to think. ;)