When my kids were little that cry, “Diggers!”, would go up whenever we were driving around town and we went past something big and yellow with caterpillar tracks or a scoop on the front. Invariably my son would look up from the comfort his scaggy, food-encrusted booster seat and look, with uncanny regularity, out of the wrong window. “Where digger?” “There! There! The other side! You’ve … uh. You’ve missed it.” Pause. “Bwaaaah!”

I still shout “Diggers!” every time I see something big and yellow with caterpillar tracks or a scoop on the front, but I do it quietly and inside my own head these days.

This thing, the thing that claws up the bitumen and hurls it backwards into a hopper like some Death Star tank, is particularly awe-inspiring.

Here’s one I tracked down in its natural environment, grazing in the park.

You can see that from the MacLean taxonomical perspective, “Diggers” is a very broad group that encompasses almost every large vehicle (i.e. those with big wheels, caterpillar tracks, a scoop or some large vessel on its rear).

I don’t know if it was just my family, but when the kids were little all things would be taxonomically reduced in this way, all species categorised by their broadest division or phylum. Thus, all small, flying creatures (except butterflies) were “bees” while all meat was “chicken”.

“What this chicken, daddy?”

“It’s pork.”

“Mmm. My like this chicken!”

I don’t know which road the above lot are tearing up but if you’re quick you too can get down Chatham Road and shout “Diggers!”

2 Responses to Diggers!

  1. DIGGERS! My sons had a special little song they made up to sing when they saw DIGGERS! Sung to the tune of Louis Armstrong’s “Jeepers, Creepers, Where’d ya get those peepers?”

    Diggers, diggers … where’d ya get that digger … etc.


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