Friday, November 18, 2011

Dowerin Field Day Equals Unexpected Fun!

Quite a few months ago now, my non farming background husband decided that he would like to attend the Dowerin Field Day in the small wheatbelt town of Dowerin a couple of hours north east of Perth.  He decided it would be a fun and exciting thing to do after hearing my father, a retired farmer speak about it and reading about it in the local newspaper.  I shrugged my shoulders and was like, "what the hell for, do you plan on buying a great big boom spray, harvester or plough?"

Look I mock, but previous experience tells me that unless you have a passion for farming equipment that generally goes hand in hand with owning a farm - the Dowerin Field Day is not going to be a big highlight on your social calendar.  I do have to point out that the last time I visited the Dowerin Field Day I was fifteen years old.  I probably only went to hang out with my boyfriend, so we could pash in the backseat of his family's car... but that is another story!

In passing I mentioned to a friend, who also does not come from a farming background that I was thinking about going to the Dowerin Field Day.  She got really excited and wished she could go too.  I actually began to wonder what drugs these people were taking to make them so keen to attend a gargantuan show of machinery might, which held absolutely no relevance to their current lives whatsoever.  Further along in the conversation my friend mentioned there was live music - yeah that’s great if you want to listen to some mediocre country music.  "It'll be fun for your kids" - she hit the nail on the head... some things you don't do for your own benefit (quite a lot if you are a mum actually), but my two year old son, Sabin who is an obsessed transport devotee would LOVE it.  I wasn't so sure about my daughter, Chynna - there wasn't going to be any of her favourite things, like dolls, sparkles or bubbles, but she had the day off anyway.  And I can tell you now.... I astound myself with how wrong I can be!

On the morning of the said event, my father, my husband, my two kiddies and I got in the car and commenced our almost two hour journey to Dowerin.  I was seated between the two kids car seats - booooo, because I had the smallest bum - as if that’s any consolation!  The trip, surprisingly was pleasant enough.  There was no crying, no stopping and not much whinging.  But there were plenty of green pastures interspersed with the most gorgeous yellow canola crops of all time.  They were just a sight delight against a clear blue sky.  We also spotted many baa’s, some moo's and a lot of brum brums.

Finally we arrived and were directed to park in a huge paddock, already chock-a-block full of utes and cars.  By this stage, none of us minded the walk to the gate... we had two hours of being couped up in the car.  I had a feeling my dad was pleased to be getting back to his roots and was secretly singing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" on the inside.  I also think he was excited to be taking his youngest grandson to see trucks and lots of them!  The sky was blue and the air was fresh, so I really didn't have much to complain about.

We made it in the gate and I seriously thought my son's head was going to spin right off - trucks, tractors, bikes, ride on lawn mowers and BIG STUFF everywhere!  It is such a massive show that we didn't really know where to start.  Funnily enough, but rather astutely, we decided on the toilets by the gates!  Our second stop and the first of many where we lifted the kids onto the machinery, was some old tractors and old bulldozers.  My dad used to have a bulldozer and it probably the most entertaining piece of machinery he had when I was growing up.

Time and time again we stopped and put my son into a tractor or truck.  On one occasion there was a display of a variety of orange machinery.  Sabin yet again insisted on sitting in one of the tractors and a salesman came over and chatted with us.  When he walked away, I presumed he doubted we were keen to buy a $30 000 Kubota tractor for my two year old to play with!   He returned with some gifts for the kids - pens with radios in them (which we could never get to work)!  We managed to get the two year old future truck driver out of the tractor, only for him to escape the grip of my father’s hand and get into a small runabout number, one truck over from the one he was just in.  Finally I had to drag him out and he howled like his throat had been cut.  What was I to do?  I just smiled through gritted teeth at anyone who cared to stare and think I was depriving my son of some tractor action, which couldn't have been further from the truth.

 Chynna up to this point seemed to be enjoying herself... just!  However she nearly wet her pants when she saw two big imposing Clydesdale horses standing to attention in front of their cart.  I was very pleased when the drivers waivered the fee for my son, otherwise I would have been up for thirty dollars.  Off we went on a leisurely ride around the show.  Chynna loved it!  She was even more impressed when the drivers revealed they had a cute Boarder Collie pup sitting in the front with them.  No one ever says no to my daughter’s beautiful face, so she got to have a proper cuddle and play with the pup when the ride ended.  I should have charged the other passengers who were more entertained by my kids’ antics than the ride itself... I would have easily have made my money back!

Next stop was lunch, we jostled a bit to get a table, but it was well worth it just to sit down.  I had spied an Indian stand near the Clydesdales therefore I had a chick pea curry and rice and I bought enough naans for everyone.  Everyone else had hot chips and hamburgers. While we were eating I caught a glimpse of a quite notorious West Australian politician - the chair sniffer himself and lad about town, Troy Buswell.  He and his cronies ended up sitting at the table next to us quite by default.  The woman that was sitting at the table waiting for her friend was asked by two nicely dressed men if they could sit at the table as well.  She agreed.  Buswell arrived on the scene and the woman looking a little overwhelmed, had no choice but to engage in conversation.  Perhaps she enjoyed it and maybe I am transacting my own perception onto the situation, but I would have been none too impressed at sitting with a man, known for showboating like a juvenile delinquent!  Although I will admit, he's more handsome than the telly affords him (but he's no George Clooney!)

After lunch we headed towards the Ram Pavilion.  It's kind of embarrassing to admit but I was totally enamoured by the rams.  What on earth for, I hear you lament.  Rams on my farm weren't an animal you could get up close and personal with, but these rams were shed housed, convivial and fully prepared to engage in a bit of heavy patting.  I was smitten as you can tell by the photos!  I was also the passive (well almost) recipient of some Farmer Wants A Wife hoopla.  I just smiled over the farmers shoulder at my husband who refused to enter the shed.  The bubble quickly burst when I was flanked by my eager daughter.  Mr husband smirked and shook his head - I bet he sent her to spoil my fun. We almost left with a Maremma sheepdog.  I wasn't sure whose sheep it would guard, but I guess guarding my chooks or kids (for that matter) wouldn't have been out of the question.

Last but not least... well actually it was least, we entered the Lifestyle Tent.  We were all knackered, so browsing all the aisles was just out of the question.  We did sample some local gourmet food and wine and were suitably impressed. If there is a next time... my plan would be to start in the Lifestyle Tent.

On the way out, we had one more stop at the animal circusy/farm bus.  Chynna got her fill of animal patting in for the day and Sabin just followed his sister’s lead.

 We walked out to the car, hopped in and headed back to the big smoke.  My plan of attack was to fall asleep immediately... it was luckily for me that it was my kids plan as well.

A great time was had... and I will eat my earlier words and recommend it as a fun family outing for all and sundry.  Definitely do some research and planning though.  Thanks Dowerin!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bloody Telstra Issues

Oh my goodness - how long has it been?  Well I kind of have a good excuse.  Do you want to hear it?  No, it's not the of the common dog ate my homework garden variety. Here it is anyways.... 

My internet connection went down, down, down a couple of weeks ago.  I was pretty pissed I can inform you.  Especially because on the morning it disappeared, at the top of my street, there was a Telstra van and a man up to his elbows fiddling about in a manhole.  I had the kids in the car and I was running late for school, otherwise I would have stopped, rolled down my window and yelled, "Hey, what are you doing... am I going to have my internet when I get home?" 

When I got home, of course, I had NO internet - arhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  I had to go out again, but when I returned, my husband asked me if I saw the Telstra man at the front of our house fumbling about in the manhole? Geez louise... no, but if I had of I would have been out there and asking the f**ker where my internet was! 

Thus after reporting my lack of internet to my IP and running through all the stupid checks they make you do of your own equipment, they agreed that it was probably the Telstra man who had caused the issue.  BUT -  just in case, they needed to send out one of their own technicians to review, otherwise I could be billed by Telstra if they came out and found the complication was my fault (for causing a nuisance I presume).  The problem with this is they can not give you a specific appointment time or even narrow it down to morning or afternoon - the best you can get is that they will be there on a specific day between eight and four - however they can give you a "courtesy" call half and hour before they will be in attendance!  This is all well and good if you are not in the middle of a swimming lesson or further than half an hour from home... therefore my time without internet dragged on another couple of days until I could be at my service providers beck and call!

Oh and would you believe it... they found the broadband service to my house fell short about 600 metres, which is about where I saw the naughty Telstra man with his grubby little hands in the manhole on the way to school. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr bloody grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! 

The next step was my IP logging a fault with Telstra and that is where a lot of time was eaten up, waiting for Telstra to get off their bums and fix the problem.  Of course because I am not a Telstra customer they are in no hurry to do anything! 

While I was waiting, not so patiently, I telephoned my IP to check on Telstra's progress.  I had a nice chat and discovered that some rogue Telstra technicians, do not check to see if a line is unused before assigning it a new home.  There is one MAJOR failing with this, besides being lazy and ignorant... broadband does not have a dial tone and sounds like an unused line and this explains why at least once or twice a year my internet connection goes missing in action! 

I should bill Telstra for the nuisance they have caused me.  What I do know is next time I see a Telstra technician working in my area I will be stopping, questioning him and getting his name! Far out.... and now that I have written this saga down I will definitely be phoning the Ombudsman for advice before approaching Telstra regarding this whole cock-up.