Thrills and Spills
There is a running joke in our family that every 99 steps that I take, I trip up (funny for some perhaps). So every time I catch my heal on a floor board, twist my ankle on a rock, go off the edge of the concrete path onto the sand and stumble, my beloved mumbles under his breath “99”. The fact is that I do trip up quite a bit. I’m not really sure why, perhaps it is my love of heals , even on work boots, or weak ankles or a balance issue but I am definitely more than a little accident prone. Living on any property with hidden rocks, holes, drop off points, bits of unseen fencing wire, rough and tumble modes of transport, weeds that lasso you like ropes, and all manner of trip and fall hazards means that I come undone quite often. Here are just a couple of examples…
When we bought the house Benny was soooo excited because it came with his very own ride on mower with trailer and two acres of potential grass to mow. After much use and abuse the poor MTD, broke some whiz bang component that was going to be horrendously expensive to fix. So the decision was made to purchase a new, second hand Husquvana ride on because they are big and orange and a lot more manly don’t you know! As Lawson had become quite a hit at school with all his mates because he would tow them around in the trailer for hours on end when they came to visit, we didn’t dispose of the old mower but just removed the scary blades and voila it became a useful transportation vehicle. I have myself used it on many occasions to move mulch and dirt and tools from one spot to the next and sometimes had fun being towed around in the back of the trailer too, until one day…
Benny and I usually walk the property at the end of every weekend and take a look at whatever we have achieved or talk about things that we would like to do in the future. For some reason this one Saturday afternoon I met Benny on the MTD and he offered me a lift. It is noteworthy to point out that some visiting kids had been playing on the vehicle most of the day without incident. I hopped in and he took me for a spin around the Secret Garden and then proceeded up the hill towards the top house pad. About one metre from the top something happened that seemed to play out in slow slow motion. The seven centimetre long pin that held the trailer to the tractor came out and let go! Seems the jiggling over rocks, the angle of the slope and my weight put the centre of gravity to the back creating enough angle, just enough that the pin fell out!
I screamed nay shrieked as the trailer with me in it began to roll (slowly at first) backwards down the shale and gravel covered hill. I can tell you I have had all sorts of nightmares about what could have happened if I had stayed put and it had picked up speed. But I didn’t, I jumped out while it was moving which once more changed the centre of gravity tipping me out. I fell, rolled and slid on the gravel on my forearm and thigh finally stopping on top of a sharp rock, and to add insult to injury the trailer rolled and tipped straight on top of my head! Now I don’t know how kids do it, fall down, get straight back up again, no tears. Not me thats for sure.
Meanwhile Benny was oblivious to a point until he heard the scream. He parked the vehicle and came down to inspect the damage. One thing that Benny has on his side is his extreme calm under emergency situations. He assessed that I hadn’t broken anything although it felt like it to me, and told me to just sit there until I was ready and then he would help me to get up. I was soooo sore and sorry for myself. I’m sure adults aren’t meant to fall out of trailers, heck they probably aren’t meant to be in them in the first place!
So I have some scars to add to my collection and for a while it was a recurring nightmare, and quite frankly I have not been in the trailer since. The lost connecting pin has now been replaced by a pair of pliers, the handle of which is much longer than the pin. Still not sure it complies with any OH&S regulations, but it has been holding things together just fine now for over a year.
I’m sure that Lawson has had many more lessons on how to use the machinery around the place than I have. Just recently h
owever I found out for myself one important rule with the ride on mower. While I was coming down the steep section of the second driveway collecting the branches that Benny had cut with his chainsaw and piling them into the MTD’s trailer I decided to just put it into neutral and roll forward just a tad. Big mistake, HUGE, the vehicle has no control in neutral, no brakes even! As I careered down the hill picking up speed and screaming “HELP!” like anybody could do a thing, I took a corner way too fast and headed to the water tank on the flat hoping that I could just jump off it if I couldn’t get the thing to stop. All of a sudden though my reasoning kicked in, I turned the key and put it in gear (which nearly bucked me off the thing) and I had control again, just seconds away from crashing into the trunk of a huge tree.
One evening in front of some guests I stepped off the deck, my hands full of plates and cups, straight into a hole dug out by the chickens, twisting my ankle and falling in a heap. Not graceful at all, I lay there swearing and cursing the chickens and the pain and the fact that I was going to have to spend weeks with it taped up and loads of money in physio to get it to work not as well as it had in the past. And this would be weak ankle number two after breaking a minor bone in the other ankle in a similar stair incident two years prior.
There have been many other minor incidents at the farm and now that I think of it, all through my life, so many it seems that I am starting to think that maybe I should take a new nickname from the piece of machinery that has been the cause of so many of my thrills and spills- “MTD”, which I have since been informed stands for Made To Destruct! Guess I am!