Saturday, 13 March 2010
This week I took delivery of a shiny new tractor-mower. Not exactly essential, but since the garden was renovated last year (grassed area about 80 feet x 80 feet), and I try and keep quite a large area of grass around the house tidy, it's a bit much for my walk-behind mower. Although to be fair my neighbour, Mick, has been doing a lot of the mowing for me as the grass bag is too heavy for me to empty, but he has other things to do as well as my grass! So after much consideration and consultation with friends who know a thing or two about proper tractors and machinery, I selected my shiny new tractor - see photo above of it arriving on the island.
Now.... I'd not driven this before - didn't have a trial run, but how hard could it be? It's only a mower, with a forward and reverse pedal, and a clutch/brake. So I'm at the pier in Stromness when the chap delivers it to the boat and explained how to start and drive it - as I thought - easy peasy. It gets loaded onto the boat with lots of comments from the crew, unloaded off the boat with even more comments AND they put it the wrong way round deliberately so I'd have to reverse or turn it round - Boys!
Anyway, I sit on the tractor - I do, of course, by now have an audience of neighbours, all offering advice on how to start it. I smile smugly, I KNOW how to start it and drive it. I start tractor - vroom vroom..... I take foot off clutch/brake - it stalls. M gets on, it moves, I get on - it stalls, much laughter and comment about women drivers. M gets on again, it moves - repeat - it stalls for me. C gets on, it moves, I get on.... yup it stalls. More laughter and comments about my inability to manage a clutch. By this time I'm getting cold and a little cross that I can't drive my shiny new tractor..... So I sit on the tractor, A works the go-forward pedal, M works the brake and I work the throttle..... all three of us slowly traverse up the pier. M takes hand off brake, I shove foot hard on pedal and off I go up the road.
Slight consternation from those left at pier as I disappear over the horizon - alarmed that I wouldn't be able to drive it in a straight line, I suspect - harumph! So everyone hastily follows me up the road. I turn to smugly wave at them. I stall the tractor...... BUT I have now figured out the problem .... as had the neighbours but were enjoying the entertainment too much to tell me! There is a safety switch underneath the sea - I don't WEIGH ENOUGH to drive my peedie tractor!! Well to be truthful, if I sit in the middle of the seat it works, but as I lean forward to reach the pedals I shift my weight off the seat - hence all the stalling. So - a slight modification is needed so a pixie sized person can drive a pixie sized tractor without being "supervised"!! I did eventually manage to sit still enough to drive my new bright green John Deere mini-tractor mower all the way home. I did, however, refuse to reverse it into the barn where it will be safely stowed till needed.......