Time to reflect on a difficult year with an impending lockdown

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    2020 is just starting to draw to a close but before it does we head for another lockdown due to this pesky COVID-19 virus. Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, be it just a few restrictions to normal life or possibly the loss of someone close.

    I just wonder whether the people on this forum are able to share experiences over the last year, good and bad and think about the things we got right and the things that we got wrong. There will undoubtedly be sadness, huge changes to our yearly routines with the cancellation of the many shows around the country, but I’m sure there will be good times which you will remember with affection.

    This really isn’t the forum for political debate or what the government did right or wrong, I just thought it would be interesting to record how people were affected since late February.



    One thing I did during the first lockdown, understanding that this COVID-19 was here to stay, is to hold a mini rally on my drive. The intention really was to sort the garage out, but there were loads of people walking around the estate doing their 1 hours worth of exercise unable to go to the shops, “working” at home and so forth.

    The three Colebys took pride of place on the drive which generated quite a bit of interest and I managed to talk to people who stopped keeping the requisite 2 meter (6 foot) distance.

    The attached photo shows the setup.



    That looks a very good lineup of Colebys. And the sun was shining!

    This year has certainly seen a significant rise in the amount of visitors passing through the VHGMC website looking for information or doing research. I noted that one major manufacturer (who will remain nameless) used some information about their vintage machines that had been compiled on the VHGMC, I only noticed it because it appeared on their social media!

    I have been able to compile quite a lot of information about horticultural machinery this year. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for several years but never had the time, although I’ll firmly point the finger at a certain member by the name Trusty220 who convinced me I should do the research – but I think he’ll deny it! Because of research I’ve also spoken to club members that I’ve not spoken with previous and that’s been really useful.

    Hopefully we shall get through this uncertain time. In the future I’m wanting to visit the National Archives in Kew and also MERL. I’m hoping that might happen next year.



    It’s not all the fault of the virus but more the Covidiots that will not follow guidance and insist on ignoring the rules; you may have seen in the news this weekend the illegal rave at Yate with 600-700 attending.
    The restrictions on movement and cancelled shows certainly saved me some money in fuel costs! Although since restrictions were lifted I have put in a good few miles with another hobby of mine, I am a member of GLASS (Green Lane Association) and have been busy out and about surveying lanes to add comments to the database GLASS have. These travels, all within 30 miles or so of home, took me to remote places and down country lanes I would never have travelled otherwise, some great views and scenery.
    I haven’t done as much as I could or should on the garden machinery front, very slow progress on a Barford Councillor.
    Like Alan I can’t wait for things to get back to normal so I can get back to MERL, there is still a lot of work to be done cataloguing the Geo Monro drawings.



    I’ve been going around all day today thinking that I’ve got Covid 19 again, but then I read Alan’s post and realized why my ears were burning!

    Many of you who are club members will have seen that I have spent my time this year finishing the second volume of the Trusty saga. I really love getting my hands dirty, restoring machinery and breathing new life into bits of metal that would otherwise have gone to the scrapman, but researching is just as rewarding and that is why I bullied Alan (sorry, Alan!) into writing a book on his particular interest. It is important that these things are written down for future generations- when I started collecting tractors there were only little titbits of information that I could find out, some of it was right and a lot of it was wrong, which is why I thought it best to put the record straight. Now I get people telling me all about Trusty stuff- most of which they have read in my books!

    Now that we are heading into another prolonged period of lockdown why not give it a thought? What do you collect? What information do you have on the machinery in your collection? You may not have enough to write a book about, but could that be enough for a chapter in a book? You could always send it to Alan Rogers, aka Will Haggle, so that it goes into The Cultivator.

    Think about it next time you’re at a loose end with nothing to do!



    I’ve found the same thing with my Colebys. There is very scant information on the internet, but have got quite a few original documents including shares certificates of Coleby Cultivators Ltd. These are probably totally worthless but to me, they mean the world.
    The little information available is at best incomplete and some is misguided. I wrote an article for the Cultivator a couple of years back which was published to try and save some of the history as we know it. Even this, a few errors have crept in.



    Yes a strange year, been working flat out, straight through the first lock down and will be doing the same now. I work on what they call remote sites and the only life I see is bloody rabbits, though last week was rather interesting as a Stag took a fancy to my topper finisher, perhaps he thought the handles were antlers!
    I’m afraid Covid is very serious stuff and not to be taken lightly, Charlie is absolutely right over the younger generation. There is only one word for it, SELFISH.

    On the collecting front we have done rather well, have managed to expand our range of early Tennis Court line markers by 11 ranging in years from the early 1900’s to the 1930’s,Along with a handful of Edwardian lawn sprinklers, I’m sure this was coursed by folks clearing out their garden sheds.
    Though just as the country was opening up from the first lock-down, I had to venture out to Whitchurch to collect a complete tennis court fixture from the 1920’s to include, posts nets, the original wicker basket and all the outside perimeter posts and outside nets, a right van load I can tell you. On the way back we stayed in Ironbridge which is well worth visiting.

    Yes I have missed the Shows particularly Malvern back in September, but I’m sure we will eventually get there one pace at a time!
    Regards to all



    I saw a pair of really nice looking antique tennis court posts in an antique shop near me the last time I was in there. Probably still there if you want any more. I did think they were nice but wondered who would want them. Now I know! Let me know if you are interested in them



    You’re quite right about the younger generation being selfish, Andrew. We’ve had a procession of “walkers” coming across the farm all year using the public footpaths; besides the litter they leave and the dog crap, I had to ask a very large “family” to get down from one of our oak trees the other day and as a result had to endure a tirade of bad language from the mothers. The tree in question was ten yards of the footpath and I pointed out that I keep the paths mowed on a regular basis to stop people wandering off them.

    Apparently I should have put a sign up.

    Does anyone ever remember the sketch on Not The Nine O’Clock News? When the young copper was hauled before his sergeant for being over-zealous and had arrested some bloke for “Being in possession of an offensive wife”. That was the woman I came across the other day!



    Geoff, the attitude of those walkers is typical of so many now. We have the same problem within the green laning community that think they can drive where they like and drive the legal lanes whenever they like irrespective of conditions and any damage they cause. The usual response is its only a bit of fun and not doing any harm. If only they would realise the harm it does to the lanes and the ammunition it gives the anti groups.



    I blame facebook and social media.



    Charlie it is more the idiots that use them sites we know the site owners should control but the DO GOODERS have took over



    Geoff/Charlie , it’s exactly the same where I live , it’s very rural , you know grass grows in the middle of the road type of thing. We have numerous “pull ins” on our roads to allow traffic to pass one another.Guess what, throughout these times clowns decide to park in them and go for an extended walk, when questioned they honestly do believe they are rural car parks……some people.




    Sadly, around here, those “ pull ins” are likely to be full of household rubbish . A couple of years back one by-way on the Marsh was completely closed by multiple Transit sized tips of builders rubble and discarded bathroom furniture etc. Then there are the burnt out cars with the matching length of incinerated hedgerow and melted tarmac.



    We used to have regular fly-tipping in one of the gateways; a retired gentleman who lived up the lane from it got fed up with seeing rubbish there that he put up a camera. On a tip-off from him last summer two coppers came from opposite ends of the lane and caught somebody in the act of emptying their trailer in the gateway and made them clear it all up again. I don’t know what happened after that but Mrs. Geoff got stuck behind one of the coppers and was highly amused at the time- the copper asked her if she wanted to get around and she said she would wait with a huge grin on her face.

    Revenge can be sweet, but unfortunately doesn’t happen often!

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