Auld Lizzie

The Happy Farmer’s childhood tractor. It has lain, an unrecognisable rusted heap, in the corner of the Happy Farmer’s shed for many years. The childhood tractor was rescued from the spot in the field, where it had ground to a halt in, after its last day of work.

Always on his ‘to do list’, a tractor very close to his heart, as he began ploughing on it from the age of seven. With the pandemic sweeping the country, and life becoming slower and quieter as the country went into lockdown, the Happy Farmer finally had an opportunity to breathe new life into this ‘auld girl’.

We have a new star on the farm

Well not quite ‘new’…quite old in fact. Quite old, unique, and more than a bit of a relic.

New life has been breathed into the very soul of ‘Auld Lizze’, fondly named by my late father in law.

Auld Lizzie arrived at Persabus way back in the early 1950s

She was a bit of a star back in the day too. The first four-wheel drive tractor to come to the island.

The Happy Farmer grew up on auld Lizzie. From the age of seven, when he first learnt to drive, he could be found happily skipping school at every opportunity, to help plough the fields, turn the hay, and generally do any tractor work that was required about the farm.

Many happy evenings in his youth were spent, with his pals, after school, on Auld Lizzie, bucking the stooks up for making corn stacks, as they all enjoyed shots driving the tractor.

For the last forty odd years, Auld Lizzie has lain, a rusty relic

quietly gathering dust, in the corner of the Happy Farmer’s shed, with just the occasional visit, from a passing farming enthusiast or two, keen to pay homage to one of the last remaining Massey Ferguson TE-20 Perkins P3 four wheel drive tractors.

Over the past couple of years, in between the madness of life on the farm at Persabus, the Happy Farmer has been turning his hand to reviving his old tractor

It began with a helping hand from the younger members of the clan

When the family were over visiting, the young cousins, under the guidance of Gregor Fletcher, of Fletcher Fabworks, set about brushing down the old rusty bonnet and wings, before carefully spraying them back to their original gleaming grey colour. Quietly and methodically whenever he had a spare minute, the Happy Farmer set about reconstructing the old engine, ordering new tyres and generally giving the old lady a much needed over haul.

Last week then the Happy Farmer’s grin could not have got any wider

as when beaming with pride, he drove ‘Auld Lizzzie’ from the shed once again. This time she was gleaming and running like clockwork, as he drove down to the fields, happily making sure each one of the clan got a shot behind the wheel.

At this point I must assure you it was my full intention to just stand back and watch the proceedings

The thought of actually getting behind the wheel, being left to my own devices and expected to get on with it and drive her forward….that was for me… quite hair raising and definitely not on my agenda. However the Happy Farmer was most insistent, and once behind the wheel, after a few kangeroos forward in the right direction, I gleefully sped off, with a final shout in the distance, pointing me to the direction of the brakes. Happily I survived.

I then watched as the Happy Farmer sped off in glee, at a rate of knots, for a lap of honour around the field. Worryingly, as he sped back into sight, he appeared covered from head to toe, in what looked like a huge oil spillage. My heart was in my mouth as I assumed Old Lizzie must have sprung a leak. I was gladly reassured then, when a still smiling, mud splattered, Happy Farmer climbed from the tractor, with just a few muddy puddles to blame for the mass of freckles he appeared to now have.

There’s a lot to be said for modern tractor cabs, but I know the Happy Farmer would not swap his Auld Lizzie for the world.

Happy ‘tractoring’.

Until next time….