By the mid-1970s, all of the small farms near my home had been bought for a housing development. Naturally, all that nearby open space was very tempting to a true off-roader – especially since a combination of Sydney’s wet weather and clayey soils had made off-tarmac driving quite a challenge.
So this particular Saturday I drove down the road, put the ‘Rover into four wheel drive, mounted the kerb and boldly headed cross country. Unfortunately, and unknown to me, sewage pipes had just been laid and the trench had been backfilled level with the surrounding soil. Heavy rain had then turned the backfill into the equivalent of brown soup, so… down I went. Embarrassing to get bogged 200 yards from home.
Luckily, a passing farmer was kind enough to rescue me with his tractor, and over the next few days the sloppy boghole actually filled itself in. Just another classic case of what happens when you don’t “look before you leap”.
And lastly, I have one of my personal favourites. A while after I bought the ‘Rover, I drove up to South East Queensland to visit some relatives who worked on a large farm. I managed to get in some interesting off-roading, on the sand and boulders of the Granite Belt, but my city-boy upbringing got me into trouble on this particular day. I had started to make a u-turn on a farm track, when the ‘Rover went off the verge onto the grass.
My cousin said “Careful – that’s watercress.”
I wasn’t worried – there was a lot of it, and I wasn’t going to drive over much of the crop. But it turns out that watercress grows on water! Who’d have thought?
So once again, a farm tractor had to come to my rescue. And I learned more than I really wanted to about the habits of watercress.