It was one of those rare Saturdays of endless possibility and it stretched out before me as I visualised what could be achieved when there were no children at home, no work urgently needing attention in my off-farm job and the garden was in reasonable order. A day when there was potential to create order and efficiency in at least one little corner of my universe – and the music room beckoned! The local furniture store was holding their annual stock clearance, and advertised prominently was just the shot – a tall corner TV unit (the music room doubles as the ABC/SBS viewing room for refugees of the footy season) - it also had heaps of storage space for the burgeoning sheet music library.
Not quite what the beloved had in mind on this child free day of promise – but he grudgingly agreed to come to town and check the dimensions of said cabinet and arrange purchase. All completed way too quickly and easily, except for the issue of delivery. The sale day had clearly been a huge success, and delivery of the cabinet was apparently simply not possible before the middle of the week, ‘’unless of course you are able to transport yourself’’ according to the weary salesman. This was obviously necessary if I was to achieve the days scheduled outcome, so we headed home to get the trusty ute, some blankets for protective wrapping and ropes to secure the load. By this stage its 11.30 am and time is of the essence. No such things as all day trading on the weekends out bush.
Perhaps it was the my years of girl guiding that instilled a 'be prepared' approach, versus the beloveds 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mantra - but our polar opposite attitude to planning often leads to enlightening conversations - a euphemism coined by my father for heated debate! I headed to the house to retrieve some old blankets, while the master heads to the machinery shed to bring up the ute. I’m at the back gate in a flash, only to hear the expletives fly and the crash of metal as the ute door slams shut; and I remember the battery had been dodgy for weeks now and was again refusing to turn the motor. He stomps across the yard, heading for Big Red – that lumbering metal goddess of might and power, with her swivel seat, surround sound system, air-conditioning and awesome headlights – whose siren call means this farmer can (and does) work around the clock.
She roars into life, and charges toward the shed where the jump leads are gainfully employed and the ute splutters and smokes, but manages to tick over. And then, ever so gracefully, Big Red does a reverse pirouette at break neck speed – but the forks on the front-end loader are at half-mast – and there are two new holes in the machinery shed wall. By now the operators face is matching the tractor, and he heaves the steering wheel for one final spin – this time dislodging the 44 of diesel from its cradle. I watch helpless and amused as the barrel bounces its way full tilt towards the dairy, the hose wildly disgorging its contents like a beheaded cobra on speed. Big Red, operator now fully enraged charges towards the escaped barrel and just manages to scoop it up with the forks of the tractor before calamity strikes.
And I stand there, protective blankets in hand, laughing fit to burst.
This is not an appropriate response.
The operator is not amused.
"And what is so f*******g funny?" he roars - and I try to explain that "you had to see this all from where I’m standing", between the tears and the laughter.
But no, apparently it is my entire fault! I am firmly reprimanded. "If you weren't always in such a f******g hurry, none of this would have happened!"
Pot - Kettle - Black!!!
There were lots of retorts available – I could have suggested responsive maintenance, taking due care, operating machinery safely - but sometimes you've just got to let it go through to the keeper and move on!