"Yes! Yes! It's a FUUUULLL PUUUULLL!" said the announcer with orgiastic fervour.
No, it's not the Annual Conference of The Friends of Onan, though I must say, at least one of the spectators there would have qualified as a delegate, it was indeed the Bullarto Tractor Pull, and as such the fervour was well placed.
After the usual excuses from the Wannabe Ferals, like "I gotta associate wif da toffs at Flip Island", and "I'll be there mate, in the T Model, true dinks!", or, "My SS is too busy in Geelong.", the Yandoit and the Lupino headed to Bullarto to meet up with Da Mauler.
The trip over on dirt roads was uneventful through the Wombat Forest, except for the minor fact that we lost each other, but hey, shit happens. Found some nice new dirt roads in the process.
Bullarto. What a place! I think it's Aboridigine for "Bucolic Sheep Rooters". There do seem to be a lot of sheep droppings around, and I thought I came across something that looked alot like a petrified gumboot, though it could just as likely have been an old cow pat.
I arrived a tad before the Grand Parade. And what a sight. Under the dappled shade was assembled the full complement of the Daylesford & District Pipe Band, and hangers on. And might I say they looked a treat kitted out in their frocks, and huffing, and groaning, and squawking, and wheezing for all they were worth,..all eight of them. They marched manfully along the allotted 100 yards, though by the end, I must say, some were looking decidedly shagged.
Met up with some old friends. Frank N Stein, was there, but had made the cardinal mistake of imagining that a 17 year old daughter would enjoy, not only a family outing, but also one to Bullarto. She was last heard to say, through clenched teeth, "They auta rename dis joint Boganville!"
Also met up with the Gaudi of Guildford who complained bitterly, and long, about the outrageous increases in the price of stick books, and how the new prices of admission to the ConFest at Daylesford are just a rip-off. "Ya used to be able to go there and see as much tit as ya wanted to, for next ta nuffin. Now it costs $70!" Ah, inflation hits all of us, and that little scrotum Howard has a lot to answer for, according to the Gaudi, and he may have a point there. Ho,ho.
But to the matters at hand, to whit: The Tractor Tuggers. To those not up to speed (unfortunate term) with the modus operandi of Tractor Tugging, a little explanation.
You take incredibly skilled and motivated drivers,(aka Old Farmers) and place them into specially designed and tuned machinery,(aka Old Tractors) and they drag a heavy object, (the Tuggee) as far as the Tractor will go, before it stops, or 100 yards, which ever comes first.
The Tuggee, an ingenious device, designed by a Mr. Heath Robinson, in the last century, works in the following way.
A truck chassis, with diff, has a sled at the front end. A 1000gal water tank is mounted on rails on the chassis. Above the tank is a calibrated bar indicating the position of the tank. As the Tuggee moves
forward the diff actuates a worm gear to move the tank further forward, thus putting more weight on the sled, rather than on the back wheels. The total amount of weight possible over the sled is determined by how much water is in the tank, and its position. A "Full Pull" is when the tank has moved directly over the sled. When the tractor stops, or lifts its front wheels, the pull is ended. The Tuggee jockey then releases a leaver, which uncouples the Tuggee from the Tractor, and simultaneously slides the tank back to its starting position. A second tractor then hauls it back to the start. All of this happens at a pace that would make your common, or garden variety, snails seem reckless speedsters, and that is probably why the Yandoit is so immoderately fond of the event. I liked it for totally different reasons.
If the Centaur is the embodiment of the perfect horseman, then what can you say about the competitors at Bullarto? Such concentration, such perfect blending of man and machine, (though to be fair, both had seen better days). It was very zen. 500HP Tai Chi, only slower.
And the Tractors? Straight off the farm, or from the shed. None of this double-V-eight turbocharged hot-rod shit. Nah,
the blokes are real and so is their stuff. I mean, where else can you go to see Hanomags and Lanz Bulldogs strut their stuff?
One of the crowd favourites was this little jewel. The owner told me it used to be a bugger to get to go, until he got hold of another maggie, which made it not only reliable, but totally boring. So he decided to fix it. He has bolted on a little tank with a tap, and a small pipe to the exhaust manifold. He fills the tank with baby-oil, and when things get too quiet, he just dribbles a bit of oil in, with the results you can see. I reckon we could all use such a system on our cars. Even the local copper was seen to be driving this little gem around.
The very same copper was later seen being shorn in a demonstration of ancient sheering equipment.
One of my personal favourite exhibits there, was the American Road Machinery Company, rock crushing machine, belt driven, from a strategic distance away, by the Scobie Bros of Dean's
steam traction engine.
Small, and medium sized, children would chuck large bits of bluestone into the unguarded, hopper-less top of the machine, and, to be fair, a reasonable percentage of the said rock would come out of the bottom. Another, smaller percentage, would come out of the top. This rewarded the fleet of foot, and was obviously a Darwinian training tool.
The safe distance was obviously the distance to the traction engine, because not a single rock landed on it.
But the star of the whole shebang was the P.A. System. What a jewel! Brought in especially from far distant Ballarat, it must have done a little bean-fed sojorne to hippy Daylesford because it was decidedly flatulent, and obstreperous to boot.
The commentary went a little like this:
"fartfartfartfart And, now we see George fartfartfartpotato farmer of Dean in hisfartfartfartBulldog. George is pulling well, past the fiftyfartfartfartfartfartup to the eighty now, and slowing a bit, butfartfartfartstrong. Ninety now! fartfartfartfive! And yes! FUUUULLLL PUUUULLL!!!fartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfart Patrons are reminded fartfartfartfartplease support thefartfartLions Club offartfartfartwho are providing the fartfartfartand afternoon teas.fartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfartfart
Indeed, there's something here for everyone, and we'll be back next year.