Sunday, 12 February 2017

AA - Agriculture Anonymous

They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, so it's only right that I start this post by saying "Hello, my name's Dave and I'm a tractorholic".
I wouldn't say I have a particularly addictive personality, although I do fight an ongoing battle to keep my alcohol consumption to sensible levels, and least said about JaffaCakes the better.
Apart from music, I've also never been a collector since a brief pre-teen period of stamp collecting.
The trouble with collecting things is the room they take up, but I'm working on a degree in space utililisation and hold a black belt in origami, so the single shelf that I've been assigned to house my agricultural machinery model collection will soon be subjected to some serious folding of space and time.
And not a moment too soon, because it is now as crowded as the M25 on a bank holiday.

So how did this strange and slightly sad state of affairs come to be? It's not as if I grew up on a farm or anything, but on the other hand, living in the Fens does mean farming machinery is as common a sight to me as a cameltoe is to a swimming pool lifeguard.
Let's not forget that most small boys have a fascination with tractors and suchlike, and when you have an engineer's brain there will always be an attraction to pretty much anything mechanical.
Indeed, I remember being awestruck by the vehicles on display when my mum took me to the 'East of England Show' in Peterborough when I was a kid; agog at the monstrous tractors and combine harvesters that would dwarf me now, let alone as a wee ten year-old.
The real culprit behind all this however is the 'Farming Simulator' video games.
I've been a lifelong gamer, but while the 'Call of Duty' and 'Far Cry' franchises may have reasonable longevity, eventually I always got bored and wanted something new to get frustrated with and swear at.
The recent 'Farming Simulator' offerings from Giants Software have been different.
There's no raised blood pressure, no frustration, and to the wife's relief no swearing or gunfire either.
If anything it has become my own sort of meditation, and I can happily lose several hours at a time immersed in a world of crops, animals and forestry. There's also still no sign of getting tired of it.

Since getting into this I've found myself on the road to becoming a fully fledged farming anorak - more excited by the sight of a Case International Quadtrac than a Lamborghini Murcielago.
The collecting of 1:32 scale diecast models is simply the latest symptom of my affliction, and although the shelf is now unable to accomodate additional similar models, I suspect it may be possible to fit a few smaller scale ones in the gaps.
In the meantime, I'm going to investigate whether the companies that sell experience days like driving a Ferrari have anything that involves dragging a cultivator up and down a field with a 300hp New Holland.
Or is that just feeding the addiction?