13 Aug 2016

And Then, Tractors...

While out for a run the other day, tootling round A and B roads, it quickly became apparent... Say what now? No, ‘apparent’, meaning clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment. Not a parrot which entirely different and is in fact a brightly  plumaged bird native to somewhere else that can, with a little kindness and a lot of cruelty, be taught to ‘talk’.

Anyhoo, it quickly became a parrot that the harvest is getting into full swing going by the number of tractors and tractors towing sundry large lumps of agricultural equipment on the roads.

I don’t really have a problem with this as these guys have a job to do and I like food. Think back, those of you wot still can, to the days when you could quite often round a bend and find yourself in amongst a flock of sheep, or herd of cows, on their way to pastures new. Remember the killer time? Cows on their way for milking, right? Yup, you remember. Stuck behind a tractor is small beer in comparison to getting through one of those crowds.

I believe the maximum speed limit for farm stuff has been lifted to 40 MPH to aid the flow of traffic locked behind and I’m sure farmers are delighted with this as it means getting their kit where it’s needed a tad quicker. Us older folk, just out for a run are pretty much not phased either way to any great extent.

Sadly, this upping of the speed limit seems to have had unintended consequences going by my observations.

Before, with farm kit going at slow and below, on bendy country roads, with the cunning use of eyes, gears and the go faster peddle, it was pretty straight forward waiting your turn and getting past the tractor and whizzing on your way. Now, with the kit hitting 40 MPH, it’s a whole different game and, on many roads, the line of sight to the next blind bend is dramatically shorter at 40.

I was about three cars back of one tractor and a glance in the looking backwards mirror reviled a line of traffic of unknown length owing to the same bends being behind that, just moments ago, where in front, but it was considerable.

Thus, in my humble opinion, the lifting of the speed limit seems, on certain roads at least, to have had a detrimental effect on the go and flow and we were locked-in until the tractor turned off. We were locked-in for so long we lulled into 40 dreaming and almost followed the tractor into the field.

It was interesting to note the number of young bucks who  repeatedly stuck their noses out, hoping for a run at it only to quickly tuck it back in. They obviously had somewhere to be at a certain time. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t us old folk grow up with a basic knowledge of seasons and what was happening in the countryside through the seasons? If we had an appointment involving the use of bendy roads during harvest time, did we not adjust our leaving time accordingly? Then, if we got a clear run at it and got there early, we took a coffee or a scotch, dependant on the importance of the appointment, or on a cluttered run, arrived on time.

This simple concept seems to have been lost and sadly, at time of typing, there doesn’t seem to be an App for that.

Quote;  Leonard Cohen.

“A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go.
I tidied up the kitchenette;
I tuned the old banjo.
I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
They’re saving me a seat.”


Ripper said...

Our Fastrac has a top speed of 65mph. Unfortunately all the tractors I come up behind on my way to work are not Fastracs. They are usually towing and tottering along at less than 15mph. It can be painful, especially knowing I'm going to be late for work and losing money. Some are considerate and pull in to the various gateways and places to let the queue of traffic past, some are not. So I'm afraid that I'm one of those young bucks that sticks his nose out. Due to the sleep time I get, leaving early is not an option.

I've never trusted being behind a tractor since the early 70s. One day I had decided to overtake a tractor on my bike. I had the power to get the manouvre done in less than a couple of seconds but as I started to overtake and came up alongside, the tractor suddenly turned right. My bike embedded itself in the side between the wheels and I hit the front wheel then bounced off into the road. Apparently the guy had given hand signals but I had not seen it because of the height of the tractor cab and me being focussed on the road ahead. I spent the rest of the day in hospital, no real damage but I couldn't say the same for the bike.

Mac said...

Points well taken and glad it was only the bike that suffered in the accident.
It’s an age thing and I well remember tottering along behind aging couples out for a run, a slow run, with nowhere to be at any specific time.
In my defence, I’ll say I do remember my annoyance and now I’m that age, I do all I can to let other folk get by me. Even when doing 60 and, especially post office vans and any box vans screaming up behind, I do my best to hog left and give them every chance to get by. The post must get through and to the guys in the box vans, time is money. The same, you’ll be delighted to know, with motor bikes. My efforts are, nine times out of ten, greeted with a double flash of hazard lights or waves of thanks.
If I do get stuck behind a tractor and am unsure of my aging overtaking capabilities, I keep at least three car lengths back so anything coming up behind has plenty of room to hop out and in and get past us both.
Back in the day, I never thought I’d be an old guy driving, with nowhere special to go, but, in a blink of time, here I am.
This post is worth a revisit. Possibly print it and keep for future reference. You’ll spot the ‘symptoms’ as time passes - all too quickly...

Ripper said...

The quote at the end of that post is pricelessly comical but very true. I don't think I'm that far behind you in age and I noticed these symptoms a while ago. I read somewhere that there is a part of the brain which constantly analyses the level of danger and controls our immediate decisions, and it develops as we go over the peak of youth, making us more cautious as time goes on. But I think there are other factors beside age, young males of any species, including humans, have a very competitive streak - when I were a lad my bike had to be the fastest and most powerful, and caution to the wind, I rode it like I had stolen it. Of course, this is all part of the mating thing - one-upmanship and showing off to impress the ladies. When we get over the hill, and on the downward spiral, possibly with the experience of marriage, kids and a divorce, we don't feel the need to be very competitive any more. Another factor is that today, the roads are far more crowded than they were in the 70s and 80s so the chances of an accident are much greater. That also makes us more cautious.

Despite blurry vision and creaking joints, I will class myself as old when I can no longer physically ride the bike. By then I will probably be getting bathed by a smoking hot 19 year old nymphomaniac nurse, so I won't care.

Mac said...

Yup, you’ve pretty well nailed it there my friend. The thing that fills me with dread is arriving in a ‘new’ large town and finding yourself in the inside lane of three - all nose to bumper - knowing a roundabout is ahead but having no idea which lane you need to be in for your exit. The signs usually become clear 100 yards before the roundabout and I’m usually in the wrong lane...
“By then I will probably be getting bathed by a smoking hot 19 year old nymphomaniac nurse, so I won't care.” If this should come to pass, please drop me a line and I’ll join you.