It's cold and wet in the garden city - so a fire is handy.
I phoned the usual mob and asked for a delivery of wood. It was arranged for Saturday morning. The man called early today and asked if I'd mind if he put it off until tomorrow because it was still raining this morning, and he didn't like operating in the rain.
I'm easy going and said "no worries".
An hour later he phoned again and said the rain had eased and he could come this morning. It hadn't on this side of town, but I'm easy going and said "no worries".
He turned up - not the usual bloke, but one much younger and a bit gormless looking. He was driving an Isuzu diesel ute of indeterminate tonnage and quasi-vintage appearance. Previously deliveries had been performed with a Nissan 4WD ute - very handy in Toowoomba with soft soil and steep back yards. The previous sentence describes our place pretty accurately.
I was worried about the possibility of bogging (he had two loads - ours and someone elses) on board. He said (and I quote) -
"She'll be OK - I've driven into steeper yards before - it pulls like a train".
It occurred to me that trains run on rails, not red soil and couch grass, but I'm easy going and said "no worries".
He backed in, scraped the fence on the way, and stopped close enough to where we stack the wood to beging unloading. I helped him.
Then the fun started. When he tried to drive out, the truck simply sat spinning its wheels and turning our backyard into something resembling the Somme.
He kept trying to drive out until I finally stopped being easy going and asked politely for him to stop. He then began to look quite plaintive, and phoned base for help. I only heard his end of the conversation, but I'm pretty sure that the person on the other end was not pleased - nor was he prepared to help.
We have a neighbour across the road, a generous family man who holidays on Fraser Island. He has a Navara 4WD crew cab ute with all the bells and whistles. He offered to help, and carefully reversed the ute into place. He hooked up a chain to the front frame of the truck.
After some carefull manouevring on the part of the neighbour, and some ham-fisted driving on the part of the Woodman, he was free. He clouted the gate on the way out. See the outward bend in the frame? Obviously it was open when he hit it, but the way this character drove, you couldn't assume anything.
He handed me back the cheque for the wood, on account of the damage done to the lawn and gate. I'm easy going, said "no worries", and told him to keep the cheque.
I couldn't abide his doleful look. Maybe he's learned something.
Now I've got to stack a tonne of wet, muddy wood. I'll wait until it stops raining. Nana (visiting at the moment) will have a fire. When you're nudging ninety, you feel the cold a bit, especially when you come from FNQ.*
* Far North Queensland