Thursday, 27 September 2007
Once upon a time, there was a tractor
A few weeks ago, in the Brighton paper, I saw a caption for a photo that read like this: “The winner of the beauty contest was [Name of girl] (pictured), aged 13. When she grows up she wants to be a forensic scientist, or a hairdresser.”
Here, surely, you’ve got to blame the TV. There are obviously far too many shows (“Cutting it”, “10 years younger”, “Queer eye”) giving young people the impression that a career in follicle management is for anyone. They should stick with Applied Maths and be happy.
That said, in our search for a man with a tractor to cut our waist-length grass, what better place to start than the local coiffure?
You’re right, the local café.
I also mentioned it to the parents at school. The accountant. The Notaire. And pretty much anyone else I found myself speaking to throughout the day.
It became a bit of a mantra: “We need to find someone with a tractor. Our grass hasn’t been cut for a year.” Sometimes I also said: “The guy we bought the land from had a tractor, but he sold it.”
Which is how I mentioned it to Mandy – the mother of one of the daughter’s friends – on Sunday. “Oh, there’s a tractor in the shed over there,” she said, waving her hand over there. “I think it’s for sale. You can see it later if you like.”
We did like.
And later, after a walk past the pool, through the barns, around fishing lake, the spare cottage (we never even went round the house) all swapped for a British B&B a few years ago, we opened a shed roughly the size of a hangar for a Learjet and saw, sitting slightly forlorn in the gloom...
A little red tractor (not pictured).
Straight out of a story book.
Or a kid’s cartoon.
Practically perfect in every way.
As boy (whose favourite word is “tractor”) sat at the steering wheel, too blissed out even to make “brrrrum” noises, and I wrote “sold” in the dust on the top, Mandy remembered something.
“This was Dominique’s tractor. It came from your land.”
[LONG PAUSE TO LET THAT SINK IN]
Apparently, the sale of the tractor fell through and it’s been sitting there ever since. Waiting for us.
It’s a (so-called) coincidence so massive, even we are finding it hard to believe. Enormously affirming, after so many days where nothing much seemed to be happening.
Apart from the drinking of coffee.
And a haircut.