Two little boys and too big toys
The Times We Lived In – Published: May 5th 1980. Photograph by Tom Lawlor
Run, lads! Run! Oh, help. This is not a good time for your little brother to trip and fall. Today’s picture shows that a) dancing diggers have been a thing for longer than most of us realise, and b) a JCB which is poised on its toes like a giant malevolent crab, claws poised to grab a couple of yummy toddlers and eat them for dinner, is a seriously scary sight.
It doesn’t even have to grab them. It might just topple over and squash them.
Given that this picture was taken at a rehearsal for the dancing diggers at the 1980 Spring Show, however, it’s safe to assume that the driver knows what he’s doing and the boys – Rory and Gary Maughan from Tallaght – are perfectly safe. In fact, given that most boys of that age are mad about diggers, they’re probably in monster-machine heaven.
I chugged along to the JCB website to see if I could find out what a machine such as this would weigh. I learned a lot about JCBs. They’re named after the company founder, Joseph Cyril Bamford, an Englishman who made his first tipping trailer in a garage and sold it for 45 quid.
I learned that the machines are yellow, not for aesthetic reasons, but for safety reasons – scientists say you’re more likely to spot a yellow machine than any other colour, even if it’ s not in your direct line of sight. Still, the iconic colour has now become a standard paint shade, “JCB yellow”.
So although I wouldn’t know a backhoe loader from a Fastrac tractor, from the inscription 3C on the side of this machine, I confidently suggest that it weighs around 8,000 kilos.
Of course our photographer – with a little help from the driver and his assistant – has made it look so light that it might, at any minute, fly off, over the roofs of the houses in the background and away to the RDS.
And rarely have two little boys looked so very, very small.
These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99.