Do all roads lead to Rome?

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 31-Aug-2017


AS I left it last week, Molly the red tractor was axle deep in the mud.

Of course I could not just leave her there, so the plot started to remove her from the bog, and a bog it was.

Of course the beaut ute was out of the question, as was the neighbour’s tractor, so I took a leaf out of the book of the ancient Roman guide to infrastructure.

The Romans were very good at roadbuilding, and that’s what was needed. It didn’t need to be the whole paddock, just a stretch to lift Molly clear until she could get some traction.

Thankfully my brother is visiting, and he spent a couple of days with the quad bike and a small trailer hauling rocks from various places.

He dug out ahead of the back wheels and started laying the rocks to form the first layer of the road.

I lifted the front end up using Molly’s bucket and we all joined in to fill the muddy chasm with some solid grounding.

We pulled kilograms of mud from the tracks of the wheels, and soon I decided it was time for the off.

Molly kicked into life immediately, no problem with starting the engine. I lowered the front wheels onto the rocks and they sank slightly, but seemed to hold Molly’s weight.

It was a nervous time. I engaged a forward gear, four-wheel-drive and diff lock and gently pressed the accelerator. Molly rocked in the mud and then started to pull clear.

The long-suffering Mrs Kendall was yelling something I thought was “No, no” but there was no way I was stopping.

Mrs K kept yelling and I kept driving, now well clear of the bog and heading for dry land.

I finally realised Mrs K was yelling “Go, go” so it’s lucky I hadn’t stopped. Why she felt the need to yell the obvious baffles me, but it’s something I am used to.

I was really in too low a gear, but was not game to shift in case I stalled and sunk again, so I went away at high revs and a lowish speed.

Suddenly I noticed that strange smell of burning, was it mud on the engine, was the screaming gear box overheating, I didn’t know, I just kept driving.

As I approached the safety of the gate and a metal road I slowed down a bit and thought something was not quite right.

It was then I noticed I had left the handbrake on.

But Molly had managed despite my mistake, and after a hosedown was back in the shed.

 – Steve Kendall


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