28 Feb ’13
The romantic era of steam. It holds an irresistible attraction for both the Lovely Man and I. I’m not any sort of petrol head, but I’ve long held a fascination for all the shiny brass bits, the might and the power of steam driven engines. I love the fact that you can see all the working parts, pistons and cams and gears.
The Steam Traction Society, based just outside of Feilding, held its Great Manawatu Steam Fair over the last weekend. We packed up yet another picnic (I’m getting well practiced at baking up goodies on Saturday afternoon for our Sunday excursions.), gathered up our kids and a couple of hangers-on and headed over.
Wow. The sight of a field full of working traction engines is quite something. I didn’t count how many, they kept moving around, but there must have been at least eight. Which might not sound like much, but truly it was a sight to behold, all chuffing and smoking stacks. And huge wheels. Awesome.
First up we all jumped in the people carrier trailer for a turn around the paddock behind a smoking, steaming beast. Even Billy had to smile as we lurched along.
That’s smoke in the air, not lack of focus.
And the best bit was yet to come. We could have a turn at actually driving them! Well, steering anyway. I imagine it takes an apprenticeship of some kind to learn how to operate one of these behemoths.
My Lovely Man had to have a turn at driving Dirty Girl – seriously, that’s her name.
Then Trev had a go too, on a different engine.
Even I had a turn, handing over the camera to Cat.
Yes, that’s me. Flowery top and all. I hadn’t really dressed for the occasion. My wonderful guide, Andrew asked me if I was worried about my hat. I wondered if he meant that it might blow away, but no – he was concerned that I might not want to get it covered in oil spatters. Eh, how often do you get a chance to drive a steam engine? I can always wash the hat. I was a bit worried about the ‘no brakes’ issue, but Andrew seemed to have it all under control.
Both Jacob and Sean had a turn, too.
Later, after we’d checked out the stationary engines, the steam driven saw mill and the tiny model engines we were drawn back to the paddock.
The Lovely Man would have spent the rest of the afternoon tootling around if it hadn’t been for the sound of grumbling tums drawing us away for our lunch.
Thanks so much to the Steam Traction Society for putting on a great family day.