Fowl Andrew was an early member of the Ferals, but lost contact for a while because of various matters that concern no-one else. He got his name because he often carried a couple of Road Island Red chooks in the back of his B Model Ford ute. Anyhow, after several years, he contacted us again to suggest a run.
Lovely we thought, and agreed. The Lupino was a definate goer, Simon TASL would go, but his Bentley was poorly, so he'd go with the Lupino in the Huddo Ladies Lounge, Deaf John was a goer in the A7 Pram, as was the Mauler and Nursie Lee, who'd meet us at Rushworth in the Dodge. The rest were pikers, and should be ashamed of themselves! Piker Andy of Yandoit deserves special mention here, because, as usual, he said he would, then piked out, and it pissed down rain: The Apostle of Wetness strikes again!
As is often the case, the adversity was the making of the run. We had a great time playing in puddles, because that country is irrigated, and therefore fucking flat! Have not had such wet, slippery, pleasurable, back-end shimmying of an attractive nature since I was a randy uni student in the 60's, and that had nothing to do with cars. But I digress.
At Rushworth we met up with the Fowl One (right) and his main squeeze, Barb, and, Bill, his reputed father, and Victoria his Mum, who'd come up from some godforsaken island in Bass Strait, in a Dodge. They'd also dragged along an ageing pensioner and his trophy wife, Jan, in their modern 4WD. (We don't usually allow that sort of car along , but it was not our gig, so we turned
the other cheek, besides, Jan was a darling, and would have been eligible for membership on her blood-alcohol reading alone).
After Rushworth, we cruised along till we hit "Feral farm" where a stop was mandated.
The pic on left shows the remnant ruins of a member of the Queensland White Shoe Brigade, Simon TASL. As he refuses to even own a computer, one can chuck mulloch at him with relative impunity. Yandoit says I should be nice to him, but fuck'im, a Bentley Owner, no matter how down at heel, is fair game from this bird of prey, besides, I reckon his lapdog, Cooper, has more visciousness in him than his owner!
On the right is Deaf John, who, despite a couple of false starts, is turning into the Feral Fellini, which considering that his visual impairment is only exceeded by the aural one, is a minor miracle. Click HERE to see his splendid footage, including his plummet into the Lake Eppalock canyon.
Fowl Andrew had found some really nice roads for us, a lot of which, as mentioned earlier, were flooded. Still pics really don't do justice to the ride, so check out Deaf John's video.
We called in to the Tooleen Pub for a late lunch, and, after that, the weather picked up considerably, and we cruised along to our camp on the very place on the Campaspe where, less than a year earlier, the Lupino came to grief, and had to be towed out by the Mauler's Dodge. Click HERE to see that vid.
The Lupino was keen to attempt the crossing again, but had starter problems, which meant hand cranking the 4.8 litre from there on. (The Ladies Lounge has very good compression, and though it starts quickly, it is very hard work).
The Mauler, to rub salt into the exposed Lupino wound, did a series of crossings, one of which resulted in a stick puncturing the Dodge radiator. Hubris! Happens every time.
The next morning saw several sore heads doing repair work.
The Mauler was forced to abandon the Dodge at a mate's place, and continue in Bill's Dodge, which necessitated a fair bit of re-organisation in order to accommodate Mauler, Nursie and beer supply, but all rose to the occassion.
It was then decided to attempt a crossing of Lake Eppalock.
The lake has been dry for a long time because of the climate change drought, so we thought we'd just take the short-cut, like we do at Lake Cairn Curran to get to Robb's Ruin. We were pondering this, after we'd reached the lake bed, when some trail bikers came along. "No, mate, there's a great bloody canyon just over there, you won't get over it."
Well... some things are just meant to excite certain members of the Ferals, and if there's a bridge, or in this case, a canyon, Deaf John will be the first to try it out. I reckon a battalion of Deaf Johns would have reversed the result at Gallipoli.
Anyhow, he just decided to try it.
The gulch was about 20 feet deep, but very steep on both sides. A bit of water at the bottom, but it was the sides that proved the problem. He didn't wait for anyone, but just did it, which was a bummer because none of us had any cameras ready to film it. Not deterred, John filmed the first part himself, and the marooning.
He dropped down the cliff-side, and, still filming and driving one-handed, almost made it up the other. He had another go and made it, but realised that the way back on that part was impossible because the cliff was just too steep.
50 yards down was another crossing. Steep down.... big puddle at the bottom.... steepish, but very rough rise back out. Not bothering to do a real recce, DJ just gunned the Pram and plunged down the cliff and ended in the puddle, where he stalled. He then, in true gonzo-docco style, filmed his predicament, and removed his pants. He waded ashore to consult.
The collective lengths of rope could not reach him, so he had to be manually pulled out of the puddle. This was easy because the Pram weighs fuck-all. We reckon we could have lifted him all the way to the top, but we had the pensioner with his modern 4WD, so we used him. Hoicked him out like a cork from a bottle.
All in all, a great gutsy effort from DJ. Even the trail bikers were stopped in their tracks to witness this marvellous example of quixotic folly. We all salute you DJ!
We then went on to visit a mate of Fowl Andrews, Graeme "The Ferret".
The Ferret has about 450 acres of prime river bottom land to farm sheep, and an enormous yard filled with rust. He's a bachellor: "I've paid for this farm three times over: two droughts and one divorse."
He collects tractors and other large heaps of rust. In one enormous shed, occupying just a corner, we counted 15 fully restored tractors of all sizes, all with brand new, never seen a road, tyres. This was just a miniscule example of what The Ferret has.
Let it be said here that, despite owning a Grey Fergie, this writer finds all of this crap about as appealing as a centrefold of Bronwyn Bishop. (Get that image out of your mind!) But The Ferret was interesting.
A very astute collector, with an eye to the tax man. Illiterate, according to The Fowl One, but canny. The 15 tractors in the one corner of one shed would have to conservatively be valued at $500,000, and there were other sheds.
Of the exposed junk, in the house paddock, was a particularly nice Diamond T tip truck that took the Mauler's fancy. He reckons a ripper camper could be made of it where you could be tipped out into your strategically positioned strides and boots, in the morning by a flick of a switch. The Fowl One, being a mechanic, had the bloody thing turning over after 15 minutes and reckons it's a goer.
But two things etched their images into the writer's mind. One was the three tanks.
Here we have evidence that learning is cummulative.
The young impulsive Ferret painted "deisil" on the first tank, which is not a bad effort. He obviously went to the same school of relative spelling as some members of the Ferals.
Then some smartarse said "Ferret, you've got it wrong, mate, it should be "i" before "e" except after "c"." So Ferret painted his second tank "Diesil". Logical enough.
The same smartarse, who was probably driving the tanker then pointed out the fact that it should be "el". The Ferret obliged.
The people who were correct in regards to the spelling could have been bought and sold a hundred times over by the Ferret, who may not have the spelling skills, but knows the value of stuff.
I also find it fantastically reassuring about human nature that he did not think it worth the trouble to correct his earlier attempts. True blue.
On the left, outside of the Ferret's dairy, is his recent bottle dump.
The Ferals, being interested in archeology, plumbed the depths of this dump and discovered that the Ferret's favourite tipple was "Blonde".
Blonde as a tipple has not been in existance for very long, so it means that the Ferret has a very active social life, with friends who share the same tastes, or, he has shares in the product, or, he really, really, really likes it, and is dedicated to plumbing the depths of its appeal. We reckon he really likes it, and there's nothing wrong with that as far as we are concerned. Good onya Ferret.