I’m usually good at going backwards
The plan was to trim a few hedges in my mother’s garden as a prelude to spring. Knowing when to stop, alas, is not one of our shared talents and I admire those ringing tones, “That’s enough!” Those possessed of such discipline know there is little point in launching a frenzied attack on a garden if the result is several tonnes of cuttings and clippings you have no way of removing.
The O’Connor way, however, is to indulge in the frenzy with little thought for the consequences and so, as Mother watched apprehensively from the window, my wife and I launched into her garden. Three sweat-drenched hours later, Mum and the house had all but disappeared behind the yard. “I think we might have overdone it,” I said to my wife. “We need a truck.”
“We’ll be back next weekend,” I said to Mum, leaving her standing in the yard wearing a worried look and dwarfed by the Everest-like pile of rubbish.
The following Sunday dawned, and so did inspiration. “I know!” I said.
“Why do I always get this uneasy feeling when you say that?” replied my wife.
“Oh ye of little faith,” I said. “We’ll rent a trailer. It will be cheaper than renting a ute.” The trailer, a large, boxed affair with high sides, turned out to be a wonderful idea. Apart from a slight delay while I recovered from walking into a power pole on the footpath with an armload of cuttings – which is easier to do than you might think – it all went smoothly. “To the dump!” I cried, and we rattled off down the street, trailer fully laden.
“Have you ever reversed a trailer?” asked my wife as we arrived.
“I don’t believe so,” I said. “How hard can it be?” a worker waved me forward and pointed to a gap at the tip face. I reversed carefully and the trailer spun in the opposite direction to which I intended. I drove forward and back and the same thing happened. It was now at right angles to the driver’s side of the car. I went forward and back and it speared off to the passenger side, narrowly missing the car beside us. “I think you’re getting the hang of it,” said my wife. “Pardon me while I crawl to the
A queue of cars had now formed and the council worker was standing with his hands on his hips as he watched me do the Trailer Two-Step – forward one-two, back one-two. I tried twice more and stopped when I almost ran over a man’s foot. I got out and walked over to the council worker. “What are you like at reversing trailers?” I asked.
“I’m not allowed to do it for you but I’ll direct you,” he said, and with a series of “left hand down, right hand down, now straighten up” directives we reversed, arrow-like, into our slot.
“How did he do that?” I asked my wife, who
“Everyone’s good at something,” she replied.