Anne Marie Hamilton Column: 'When does autumn become winter'

Picture shows Jim Mawer, chairman of The Odd Wheel Club, trying to teach Catherine Cranwell how to plough. 

Picture shows Jim Mawer, chairman of The Odd Wheel Club, trying to teach Catherine Cranwell how to plough. - Credit: RICHARD CRANWELL

When does autumn morph into winter? I am never quite sure, and this year it is harder to decide than ever.

Apart from a few light ground frosts, the autumn weather has been benign, and we still have not needed to wear heavy, winter clothing yet. The trees look glorious, clad in their spectacular autumn colours, and we are beginning to relax a little, with all the autumn crops now safely in the ground.

One of the really happy events this autumn was being able to welcome back the Odd Wheel Tractor Club for another Working Weekend at Wood Farm in mid-October.

We missed everyone so much last year, when the event was cancelled because of the pandemic. This year, everything went like a dream. For once, the weather behaved, and the ground was perfect for the vintage tractors to be able to pull their ploughs through the soil – not too dry, and not wet and claggy, as it was in 2019.

More members than ever came on Saturday and Sunday, and the number of spectators was vastly increased too. There was a real party atmosphere. Everyone was ready to enjoy themselves after all the restrictions that had been affecting our lives for the past 18, plus months.

Even the dogs had a great time, as apparently sausages rained down from the sky (very generous donations from the wonderful bacon butty van that provided excellent refreshments throughout the weekend.

This year, the club introduced a new competition to the Working Weekend – a challenge to see who could plough the straightest furrow. The competition was held in memory of the club’s first treasurer, Diane Buddle, who sadly died very unexpectedly in 2019.

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Rob provided his little 1963 Massey Ferguson tractor and a single furrow plough, and members of the club and the public, were given the opportunity to have a go. It proved to be a great attraction.

I bet that Diane was having a chuckle up in heaven because, although a good ploughman herself, she often joked with other members about being unable to plough straight. To everyone’s surprise and delight, the winner was a lady who had never ploughed before.

Her partner is a regular competition ploughman, so she has very kindly offered to do all his opening furrows for him from now on.