I had to learn. At the beginning of our life together, I went on three courses: farm management, sheep handling ( that's a whole other story), and tractor maintenance. And I had to learn how to plough a field. That was really a fine example of practice making perfect. How satisfying to look back and see row upon row of straight furrows. Mostly.
I had to learn the hard way (but is there an easy way, I wonder) how to reverse a tractor and trailer. I really found it difficult. And eventually I quietly gave up, thinking I would never need that skill anyway. Then one day my husband rang me to say he was having some mechanical difficulty in a field some way from our house. He needed me to bring the tractor and trailer. "It's okay," he said. "They are already hooked up, so,it'll be fine." (His favourite phrase is "it'll be fine."). "You won't have to do anything." (Well, wasn't that lucky?). What he didn't tell me was that the tractor and trailer, all hooked up and ready for work, were parked in such a way that I would have to reverse them out of the farmyard.
There was no-one else. The children were at school. No-one was around. It would have to be me. I girded my loins ( I really need to look up the origin of that phrase) and walked down to the farm buildings. By the time I got to the dreaded machines I was in a bit of a state.
And yet. Tears streaming down my face, I did it. I did it.
So when I was outside a tractor dealership in central Florida today, husband inside talking incomprehensibly about bits of machinery for an old Fordson Major, I wasn't really surprised to find myself inspecting the old tractors. In fact it was a pleasant distraction on the road to the tax office. To pay our property taxes. On the first day of our holiday.
Welcome to Florida.