A breath of fresh air amid the smoke.

It is a modern day dilemma when we often feel that we are operating in a world where no-one really knows what they’re doing. It is hard to get good advice or good service, and we have become increasingly sceptical of the advice we receive for fear of that advice being devoid of facts and being tainted by some sort of agenda.

On the weekend, I had a breath of fresh air in the most unlikely of places. I found myself surrounded by knowledgeable experts who where honest, genuine & humble. I was at the Lake Goldsmith steam rally; a place where all manner of combustion engines were popping, grinding and blowing smoke with teams of people obsessing over them amid the fumes and the noise.

At this point you might be thinking primarily of the emissions from the machines. We could talk about the efficiency of these engines, (some of which were surprisingly efficient even by modern day standards) but that’s not the point I’m getting at.

The point is that the people at the rally understand how their machines are made, they understand how they work, they know how to operate them, and they know how to repair them. These people also share their knowledge, learn from each other, help each other and generously welcome newcomers. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get the building industry back to this level of competence?

It was also refreshing to be in a place where every so often you have to step off the path to make way for an enormous steam roller or an 11 year old boy driving a tractor. Many of the mechanical contraptions looked dangerous and would never be allowed to be produced under today’s OH&S standards but they came from a time when the safety procedure would have been, “Know what you’re doing, be careful and don’t be stupid.”

So, if you want to experience what it’s like to be surrounded by experts in their field who know what they are talking about, are passionate about what they do, are willing to share their knowledge, and are humble enough to listen to and learn from others; then head along to the Lake Goldsmith steam rally. The next one will be in early November.