Steering towards a tractor sized memory, circa 1976.
On a small fruit farm in Denmark behind shelter belt hedges and a squat farm house, where row after row of trees ran away from the eye, a little red tractor busied to and fro with boxes of ripe apples and plums. It was sometime in the mid Seventies that my family spent a short time here. The kitchen fizzed with flies, Abba played on the stereo and my sister and I were given colourful fly swats to amuse ourselves with. This rural idyll came wrapped in a sweet fog of apples, and if the sun shone, which I'm sure it did, it nestled in a thick crown of orchard hair and filtered through a large jar of marbles that radiated confectionery swirls across the floor.
The present day garden toy equivalent with power steering.
The real treat of these visits was the chance I got to ride pillion on an jolly red Massey-Ferguson. With my tiny hands gripped round the steering wheel, the huge rear wheels biting into the ground, my ears would rattle to the sound of its throaty engine. In a near perfect tractor driving memory I can recall the needle on the speedometer bouncing wildly and ineffectively round the dial as the horizon lurched drunkenly on the end of the tractor's nose. Throughout, the old farmer kept a strong controlling arm on our progress.
I don't want a car, give me a reconditioned Massey-Ferguson FE 35!!
These early driving memories have given me a life long love of tractors that remains undimmed to this day. I now get to play on a little green John Deere, but if I were to win the Lottery tomorrow, the unnecessary luxury that I would treat myself to would be the Massey-Ferguson of my dreams! I'd park it in the driveway, take it on the supermarket run and beetle back and forth on my daily trek to the college gardens. Luckily for the environment I don't think there is any fear of this fantasy becoming a reality!