We'd received an invitation! Fuck me! Usually any approach from "the outside world" would be viewed with deep suspicion, but this came from locals we knew. In fact they were a bunch of characters that we'd sorta helped to form their own club.
Oz's mob were The Internationals, and, insomniacs who seem to devour this tripe we dish up, may recall that Oz was the bloke in the blue Inter Truck who took part in The Splash, ( See Old Crap 2011). Where the others, The Eldorados, came from we dunno, but they seemed good blokes, albeit a little weird. I mean, keeping cars ultra clean and polished, and avoiding dirt roads like the plague seems a tad anal for the Ferals, but, each to their own, whatever rings your bell.
The run was to be a Poker Run, that is, everybody puts in some dough, is issued a card at the start, then visits 4 pubs, at each of which a new card is selected, and the best hand, at the end wins.
We determined that: a) we would be in it, and , b) we would win it, by any means.
The start was to be at Kinga's Shed. When asked where that was, there was some confusion, but this was cleared up when they said: "Just drive along till you see Brian Sheldon's old water truck." This cleared it up , as Old Brian, who had recently carked it from suspected
Brown Bottle Fever, as well as being a local identity, was my next door neighbour, so I knew what to look for.
Kinga's Shed was a good one, full of stuff that Kinga had collected over the years, and nicely organised. Most was good stuff, though the collection of Victa lawnmowers did not do much for me. I suppose its because I've avoided the bastards for much of my life.
While we were standing on the road, having a beer, the sound of an engine under great strain was heard, and over the crest of the hill, in a cloud of steam, came Stuey, Beth and a couple of large dishlickers in the Ex-Brickie Dodge.
The Dodge had been suffering from Terminal Radiator Malfunction Syndrome, and rather than miss the run, Stuey had found a modern radiator off a wreck at the back, and bunged it on. This was only marginally successful, but it at least shows true Feral Grit.
Yandoit arrived in the Crossley, with the remodelled body. He had spent considerable time and effort in converting the body to a four seater so as to fit his kids in on runs. Unfortunately his kids are nearing teenagerhood and prefer computer games to driving about with a bunch of old farts, who stand about gassing on and drinking beer. I can see their point.
The other boys had some nice cars, the best of which we thought was the nice A Model Upholsterer's Ute, on the title page. A bit like Arfer's Ute, but with more paint. We're not too enamoured of the hotrod, but there were a few that we liked. Colins V8 Ford impressed with its brute force, and we quite liked the Single Spinner.
The Brickie showed up in the Nash with The Hobbit and The Bruce, and two girls he called The Wallflowers: Holly Hobbit and Victoria Regis. The girls piled into the Huddo, and we were off.
Whilst most of the mob went directly to the Pub at Newstead, a matter of 10 minutes drive, we headed down a parrallel dirt road, a little slower, but so much more satisfying.
At the Newstead Pub we met up with Robbo with his newest acquisition, a 1930's Chev Ute (the exact year escapes me, but I think 1935).
A card, a beer or two, then off to The Duck at Campbelltown. Unfortunately there is really only one way there, and it is tarmac all the way. When there, Stuey entertained us with his wind-up gramaphone from the back of the ute.
The next stop was to be the Hepburn Springs Pub, and we thought we'd take the short-cut along some dirt. All went well till we hit the Kooroocheang Cemetary where we waited till Stuey and the steaming Dodge arrived.
A lovely place, and I must admit we spent a little time here before setting off again.
Yandoit was insistant that he knew the way to go, and saying, "Follow me!" he shot off down the sealed road. This is where things started to go a little awry.
There is firstly the philosophical question of whether the deeply anarchistic nature of the Ferals sits comfortably with the notion of following anyone who claims to know where they are going. History, both natural and political, is replete with instances of this leading to tears: lemmings, the Little Froggie Corporal, the Little Kraut Korporal, and the Yankee Army in the last 60 years or so, are cases in point.
But it was not just this. The Yandoit speared off down a made road, when right next to us, running down the side of the cemetery, was a perfectly good dirt road which was pointing in the general direction of where we knew we wanted to go. It was really a no-contest; we went down the dirt road.
We saw some splendid country, places where the hand of civilised man had rarely set foot, and we had plently of time to appreciate it too, because Stuey's Dodge was overheating and vapourising the fuel every few miles or so. So we had to stop and drink in the atmosphere, and anything else going, while we waited.
When we arrived at the pub we were an hour and a half late, and one of our number had run out of fuel, because we'd travelled quite a distance. But we just piled him and his dog into the Huddo and completed the journey.
Some mocked us when we arrived. Were we worried by this? Notajot.
On Feral runs, as in life, it's never the destination, it's the journey. In life, we all know where we're going to end up, and though the Kooroocheang Boneyard is very pretty, I'd not be in a rush to get there.
In our case, we had plenty of beer, good company, some very nice tracks which we would be very hard pressed to find again because we had no idea where exactly we were, and the weather was good. What more could you ask for?
After that, we headed off to the final pub, the Guildford.
We decided, given the lateness of the hour, that we would not take any shortcuts, but go via the boring tarmac route. Remember, this was a poker run, which we were going to win, and so we did not risk getting there late and losing the prize.
Because of the number of entrants, two packs of cards were used, so there could be two possible winners.
Of our number, The Bruce, a.k.a Helen The Hupp, had potentially the best hand, so she set off to "trade and persuade". The Bruce is related to Robert The Bruce, a scottish gentleman who, in a long battle with the Poms, "persuaded" large numbers of heavily fortified castles to fall down. His persuasive gene was definately dominant, and we see a lot of that in our Bruce.
To cut to the chase, The Bruce ended up with a Royal flush in hearts, the best possible hand. Unfortunately some other young joker also got it, so the prize had to be shared. Fortunately though, the venue was crowded and the light still good, or the young lad might have tripped and stumbled over a claymore, and lost one of his cards, amongst other things, which would have been a shame.
All in all it was a good frolic, and Oz and the boys vow that it will become an annual event. We can't disagree with that .
Ironically, we were invited back to Guildford the very next weekend to take part in The Parade, as part of their Banjo Festival!
A parade in Guildford! It's a Pub on a crossroad with fuck-all else there, except a football oval diagonally opposite, and a shop and a hall on the other diagonals. But a parade it was to be, and the sweetener?............ reserved parking in front of the pub. Who could resist.
We arrived to find the joint swarming with banjo players. Let me just digress a little. Guildford is just downhill a little from Daylesford and Trentham which have a bit of an Ozark quality about them, and families have been known to get very close. Nothing over the mark, mind you! Would not want to traduce the good folks, just kissin' kin.
Anyhow, we were directed down the side road to the other side of the oval, where we found our friends from the Ferals all gathered. We were the parade.
Gathered there were a mob of people dressed as marching band members and clowns, or just themselves, which in the case of characters like Tex is an overlapping catagorisation. That's him on the unicycle prior to his fall. And there was the camel.
Organising this bunch of misfits was Beth, she of the Steaming Dodge. Armed with a megaphone, she pushed and prodded the anarchic masses into some semblance of order. With more than just a hint of the dominatrix, she got the whole shebang moving on it's long 500 yard journey.
Let me, again, just digress here a little, in order that the narrative catches up with the photos.
This is a true story. Though this club does not abide god-botherers, in fact they and tee-totallers are specifically excluded, they, godbotherers, are nonetheless of interest in an anthropological sense; weird bastards.
According to history, when Muhammad the Arab started doing his thing, and like Robert The Bruce, "persuaded" heavily fortified castles to fall down, he, not unexpectedly, became a celebrity and had a whole bunch of hangers on and camp
followers badgering him for favours and attention.
As this clacque got bigger, problems occurred. As I have banged on in other parts of this web : once a club gets too big it changes its nature and factions develop, and so it was with Muhammad.
In fact, not only were there factions which were large, but they were arguing about where to put the Clubrooms! It was either in Mecca or in Medina, and they wanted an answer NOW!
Poor old Muhammad, fucked by his own success, surrounded by bearded blokes with sharp scimitars yelling, " Mecca Magic!" or "Medina Suprema!" So what does he do? To make a decision would,
in the best case scenario, be to lose half of his army, that's on the entirely optimistic supposition that the other half would bugger off quietly.
So he leads his entire army to the road between Mecca and Medina, at the midway point.
Some would say, unkindly, that he was probably stalling for time, so that the mental pictures would catch up with the narrative he had not yet worked out. Others would say he knew exactly what he was doing; the long journey had tired the hot-heads out a bit, camels were getting a bit stroppy.
So at exactly the halfway mark between the two cities, he stops, and positions his camel, apparently called Clyde, across the road, and says to his followers, "I will not decide, I'll leave it to Clyde, Peace Be With Him."
"Righto!" they all say, and wait.
Clyde, after a long trudge has a bit of a kip. After an hour or so, with an early morning fart and burp he awakes to notice that a particularly enticing bit of forage is within ambling distance to his left, and, feeling no particular restraints, decides to mosey over to it. No sooner has he moved than all hell breaks loose, for that bit of forage was on the Mecca side. He never did get to eat it. Bastards!
Muhammad declared that God, in the shape of Clyde the Camel had decided the Holiest of Holy be in Mecca, thus avoiding all responsibility. So when the Muhammadins kneel down, five times in a day, to pray in the direction of Mecca, they do so as a direct result of a decision made by a camel. Wierd, but not as wierd an idea as Virgin Birth, parting the Red Sea or a cosmic Tooth Fairy called God.
Muhammad did make it up to camels, however, because he declared in the Quran : "Anas said, "Some people of 'Ukl or 'Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine)." I reckon he had it in for the Medinas.
The whole point of this yarn is that the camel used in the parade was modelled on poor Clyde, and he valiantly lead us to the Mecca of the Pub where much camel's piss awaited us.
Once the arduous journey was over and the cars were parked opposite the pub, we, the drivers retired to the pub's verandah. The band, clowns, dogs and the camel formed themselves into a phalanx, and, blowing kazoo trumpets and banging on drums marched around the pub a couple of times. It was a wondrous sight to behold, and apparently signified some ritualistic cleasing ceremony. It certainly had a purgative effect, and could not possibly have been mistaken for music.
We hung around the verandah of the pub, having a few convivials, and listening to bluegrass being played by impromptu groups of players that formed, played, broke up, and reformed with different people. It was all very wonderful in the warm spring sunshine.
I, unfortunately, could not stay the night and eventually had to head home, despite having to endure heaps of stick from a Hobbit in his cups.
The Brickie decided to come back to Newstead too, to pick up his large touring bus to camp over.
He said: "I reckon we aught to go the back way."
"The back way? There is no back way. There's only one road that gets there."
"Oh yes there is, just follow me."
I did, and indeed there was.
Today I took these photos of one of the most unbelievable men on this earth Tony Christanson, now aged 50 years old Married with children . As a kid he was struck by a train, severing off both legs at the pelvis.
Very briefly; Tony had his own Sign Writing Business. Seen him scale up scaffolding, just using his arms.
Now I gotta get this right. This is only what I know there is no doubt lots, lots more.
Black Dan in Judo....Surf life saver,,,Aeroplane licence,, Helicoptor licence Done Jet Boat racing,,,,Has his own altered racer for Drags,,,Sprint car racing ,,,Off Road Racing,,,Adapted his altered (Lengthened, wheels etc) and Raced it at Bonneville 09nearly 200mph. Going back later , gotta set a record,,,,.. Climbed (Mount Kilimanjaro)I think. Skuba diver instructor,,, Gets towed behind his own boat on a Skiff board Travels the world giving speeches on how to get on with life. But please take the time to look at his web site.it covers more than I knew. www.tony christiansen.co.nz or www.tonychristiansen.com I'm sure if you want to share this , it would be appriceated by your fans. So i was pretty pleased for Tony to drive the T to day. Tony thought it was a magic machine that suited him, hand throttle ,pedals worked with a short piece of tube,easy,Tony thought Henry Ford was looking after every body.
An amazing man
If you think that life has dealt you a poor hand, then read this email I got from a Kiwi punter, and stop moanin' and bitchin'