Learning to drive

So this is my brother. As you can see he looks to be about five years old and he’s driving the tractor while my father has a smoke and throws some feed out the back.

You really do have a different childhood when you grow up on a farm. My husband was showing me this little plastic toy yesterday and asked me if I played with one when I was a kid and I told him that I didn’t have time to play with stupid plastic toys when I was a kid because after looking at all these old photos I can see we were all obviously too busy working out on the farm.

We all learnt to drive at an early age but my father didn’t have a lot of patience or very good driver training skills. I don’t remember learning to drive a car so maybe it was particularly traumatising but the day he taught me how to drive a tractor I was on it with him and then he just jumped off and told me to drive it.

The day he taught me to ride a motorbike I was out with him doing some cattle work and they started running in the wrong drection and he yelled at me to run back and get the motorbike and I yelled at him that I didn’t know how to ride a motorbike and he yelled back at me that it was ABOUT FUCKING TIME I LEARNT HOW TO THEN.

So I ran back to the bike crying and managed to start it and ride it back to him and we sorted out the cattle and then rode home. When we got home I got off the back and he said that now he could give me a proper lesson and I yelled back at him that it was A BIT FUCKING LATE NOW and stormed off and he stood there chuckling.

He was a very difficult man sometimes.

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12 thoughts on “Learning to drive

  1. This is pretty much all health and safety violations now. Small child operating heavy machinery, man smoking while touching flammable hay and being near petrol/diesel tank. I wonder how many people didn’t survive?

    • Lots of potential for accidents on farms no matter how careful you are. I only remember a couple of really serious ones though – two involving tractors and a boy in my class had his arm caught in some sort of machinery and broke it terribly in several place oh and there was a girl on the bus who fell out of the back of a ute and had a fence post give her a very nasty wound right where her bum meets the thigh. She was lucky because that could have been really bad.

    • You know you just reminded me of something – once when I was out with my father we saw this two headed calf and it was running towards us (not fast obviously) but your freaky twins made me think of it.( Lol – in case anyone else is reading this they’re not her freaky twins by birth. Because that would be rude calling someones kids freaks).

  2. Both of my parents grew up on farms and say they learned to drive when they were 12-13 years old, on Grandpa’s old flivver with the flywheel stick shift, or on a tractor. I can understand why: back in those days, they didn’t have school buses in the country and it was up to the family to get the kids to school. Sending an older child to pick up the other children during harvest or other busy times would have been practical, if not always safe. (My father says, “Who would we hit on a road out in the middle of nowhere? You might drive into a ditch or a tree, but the car was safer than a horse.”)

    I would never let my father teach me how to ride a motorbike. All he would do is scream at me and call me “Clumsy” and worst. I know your father was a more patient, kind man, but those old farmers don’t finesse their words!

    • Lol, well it’s nice of you to say so but I don’t think my father will be remembered for his patience.
      We used to drrive out on the main road as well (but it was really quiet) and Dad ussed to say if we saw the police coming to pull up on the side of the road, get in the passenger seat and say we were waiting for our father who had gone out in the paddock. I used to imagine them looking out over these miles of flat red dirt and him obviously not being anywhere in sight. I only ever once had an ambulance go past me, god knows where it was heading but it scared the crap out of me.

  3. I don’t think dad ever swore like that at me …. 🙂
    Econo-boy was asking if I wanted to drive his car while I was there as he’ll still be away – but then he had second thoughts and said “oh, it’s a stick shift so you might not be able to manage”… I was quick to inform him that I’d learnt on a truck when I was about 5 or 6 and where I had to stand up to get the clutch all the way in. At that age you can stand comfortably between the seat and the wheel – basically had to stand to see over the wheel anyway!

    • Lol, it was like the time(s) he yelled at Simon. He yelled at Daz the first time he met him as well.

      Today Lizzie was saying that she wanted to learn to drive a manual and I said I could teach her and she was surprised as well – she said she thought I was a girly auto driver – thank you very much I said, I learnt to drive on a column – tsk, she didn’t even know what three on the tree meant.

  4. LOL I remember my brother putting me on one of our tractors and saying, “drive it out to the barn”. I was probably 10. I still remember yelling at him…..WAIT, which pedal is the brake??? How do I stop it??? Farming must be the same round the world. Just tear into it….there is too much to accomplish to worry with the *small stuff* like driving lessons!

  5. This one really had me laughing. It’s one of those memories that were so upsetting at the time, when you are a kid, but now as an adult, you can look back and smile. As always, I’m enjoying your posts/photos. Glad you are doing well.

    • Oh yes, you can imagine how much I hated him at that moment. One of his most annoying qualities was being able to be furious and yelling one minute and then happy and over it the next so he’d think it was funny and ready to be friends again while I was still in my most cranky zone.

      Lots more photos to come!

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