Location: Manning Valley
Date: November 2011

November 22, 2011. Below is a paste of what I wrote on Waffle yesterday about the LP gas tanker crash just outside my house in Taree. But first, let me explain a few things. Just after the crash occurred at about 6:30am, and before police arrived, a bloke in a truck drove up the street not realizing what had happened and didn't see a dangling live wire until he struck it with his windscreen. He backed off quick smart and was told by a cop who had just arrived to get out of his truck and stand on the footpath. Later, the same cop told the driver to go back to his truck and turn off the engine. You'll see the truck in the first and third pics of the album. Other than that, the pics are all pretty much self-explanatory. Now, here's the paste and the link to the album at the end. If you've already read it, you can scroll down and go straight to the link.

Up at sparrow's this morning for some reason. Made a cuppa, checked email, etc, then went back to my bedroom where I heard a helluva loud bang, followed by a second very loud bang, and then some kind of noisy ruckus at the front of the house that sounded like a serious collision. I took a peek out the window and saw a power pole just 10 or 15 yards away, snapped at the base and hanging by the overhead wires, some of which were loose and causing sparks. I went straight to the phone in the middle room (my office) and phoned Triple O (emergency). I was quite shaken and having some difficulty collecting my thoughts. The person who answered the phone asked me to describe what happened, and I told her, except that I couldn't see a thing from where I was. So she asked me to leave the phone and check out the scene. It was a large LP gas tanker up on the nature strip right in front of our house. Lindsay has already bolted outside and was chatting to some other bloke. "Anyone injured?" I asked but they ignored me in favor of continuing their chat about what happened. So I yelled as loud as I could. "IS ANYBODY INJURED?" The answer was no, so I ran back inside and finished the call to emergency.

I soon discovered that the large tanker had collided with a car and trailer parked two houses down the road. That was the first bang. Then the truck pushed the car and trailer up the road until the truck hit a power pole in front of the house next door, snapping it off at its base. By the time the driver (whom I assume had nodded off) realized what was happening, he'd pushed the car and trailer 80 meters further on, and half way across the roundabout in front of our house. The base of power pole had been moved several meters so that it was sitting in my driveway between the fence and the roadway. The only thing holding it semi-upright was the wires. Damage to the front of the truck was minimal... a bent bullbar and a broken windscreen. The car's rear end was pushed in by the force of the trailer being hit so hard, and the petrol tank had been ruptured, which spilled fuel all over the road.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the truck had hit the second power pole (which it missed by just inches) and brought down the lines, with the resultant sparks igniting the petrol? We're talking umpteen liters of liquefied gas in that tanker, ladies and genitals. It would have blown a giant crater in the ground and this house would have been reduced to splinters and rubble. And I wouldn't be here writing this Waffle. I'm here to tellya, ya don't have to go lookin' for trouble, mate. It can find you easy enough even when you're having a morning cuppa in quiet li'l ol' Taree.

It's also quite possible that the truck could have veered a little more to the left which would have sent it careering into the front of this house.

Anyway, when I calmed down a little (it was quite a shock), I grabbed the camera and started taking a few pics. By then, about 7am, the cops and a fire truck had arrived on the scene, and one of the cops told me to get back inside because of the leaking fuel. So I went out the back door and around the side of the house to take more pics hehe. Then the power company trucks arrived and people were everywhere. It was all very interesting really, and I proceeded to take more pics as the morning progressed. It was about 2pm before power was restored. Meanwhile, I got a pretty good look at how well organized those power crews are. It was like a precision military operation, with each bloke knowing exactly what he had to do. The professional coordination was most impressive. Within a few hours, they had the old pole out and a new pole in, ready to have everything reattached and secured. While one bloke was doing one job, another was doing another job, and another doing something else... but it was all very well coordinated.

I spoke to one of the guys and congratulated him on the team effort. "We do this kinda thing every day, mate. We're used to it." The guys were also working in light rain and drizzle, and hadn't had a break for several hours. The bloke also mentioned how close the truck had been to creating a major disaster by missing the second pole by just inches. "Otherwise it would have been goodnight Irene," he said. He also suggested that the driver had been overcome by fatigue and had nodded off. I agreed. I'd say that driver is now in deep shit with both his employer and the law. He must have been in shock when he finally realized what a trail of devastation he'd left behind - all in just 5 or 10 seconds. Had it been an hour or so later, there would have been more traffic, not to mention pedestrians, and more devastation. Click here for the photo album.

November 9, 2011. Here I go again. I found this old 1925/6 Dodge Buckboard on a newsgroup. Original condition, still going, and registered in Queensland Oz. Now THAT would be something to tour Oz in! A real head-turner. Click here for the photo album.

November 6, 2011. Yesterday, I took delivery of a 1993 XG Ford Falcon Longreach ute (utility). The seller wanted $2850 but it needs a few jobs done... new windscreen and valve guide seals so he dropped the price to $2000. It's not a bad rig... ex-country car with no rust and drives really well, smooth as a baby's bum. 4-speed auto, electronic ignition, fuel injected, power windows, power steering, power brakes, sports steering wheel, air conditioning, CD player and Sunraysia wheels. And a lockable fibreglass canopy. Not bad, ay?

There's a bit of a ding in the tailgate and a blob of birdshit on the bonnet. But don't worry about that. Wait a sec! That's not birdshit... that's a jacaranda petal!

My latest thinking is to forget about campervans and towing anything. Somewhere down the track I'll buy a used slide-on camper and slip it on the back of the ute. Voila! Ready to rock and roll. Click here for the photo album


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