Normally on a Tuesday I'd try and do my Ten Happy Things, but as I had such a happy day on Sunday, this blog post is going to be about that - I figure a whole day of happiness counts as Ten Things!
Last Sunday was the 10th ladies' tractor road run in Norfolk, and my fourth time of taking part. Normally in the run-up to the event I have several practice sessions, including one with L. who drives our Fendt tractor. But life's been so busy lately that I'd only managed one and that was on the farm itself, and L. and I didn't manage to go out together either. Fortunately her tractor is easy to drive, a bit like an oversized car really, so she was okay, and on the day itself we drive down to the airfield for the start which is always a good way of boosting your confidence.
On Saturday evening 14yo and I spent a couple of hours adding pinkness to the very masculine tractor - what does he make of it...?! We left the balloons off till we got to the airfield, as they tend to pop quite easily. Afterwards we had a nice BBQ and I finished my pink crochet bunting, and we had an early night. I woke up with nervous energy and all the disasters that could possibly happen going through my head. It didn't help that we overslept and that L. wasn't sure if she could make it. But she turned up at 8.30am and by 9.30am we were packed up and ready to set off:
We're having a bit of a heatwave in the UK right now and it was a very hot day. Sun hats, sun cream, bottles of drink all at the ready... On the way to the airfield we met a convoy of other tractors who'd all set out from one location so we joined them and it almost felt like we were doing a road run already! We arrived with plenty of time to spare and by the time I'd reversed the tractor into position I felt on top of the world - I remembered how to drive this tractor and I could do it!
And at 11.30am we were off. As we were about 3/4 towards the end of the convoy, we had to wait about 20 minutes before we could go but it was worth it. The route has been the same each year I've taken part and people along the route now know to expect us. They sit on their driveways with tables, chairs, picnics, drinks, balloons, banners and flags. It's such an amazing sight, you just can't help but smile all the way through.
Harleston was the usual emotional rollercoaster. You think you're not going to cry - I mean, it's my fourth year, surely by now I'm used to it? But no, as soon as you see the first pavement lined with people and they start clapping and cheering, your bottom lip starts wobbling. It's hard to explain what makes you cry, but I had tears running down my cheeks from start to end.
B. was marshalling again and it's lovely that to know I'll see him along the route. He also has my camera with him so he can take a few pictures of me:
The lunch time stop was much needed, but was very hot with very little shade. On the tractor I was fine, as you have a bit of a breeze, but sitting down in the sun was just uncomfortable. L. started saying she wanted to go home! (I wouldn't let her).
After lunch we did the offroading part which I find uncomfortable - all the other tractors have their wheels in the ruts, but because I have narrow front wheels, I can't do that. I'm always glad when we're back on tarmac, although this year wasn't too bad as it's been quite dry the last few weeks.
Pulham St. Mary was amazing this year. The Pennoyer Centre had laid on vintage pink teas with proceeds going to Cancer Research, and there were so many people cheering us on, I almost cried again.
Before we knew it, we were back at the airfield:
Time for the group photo - a sea of pink:
Just want to finish with what I put on Facebook on Sunday night. I'm already looking forward to next year.
"loved, loved, LOVED every second of the pink ladies road run today - the sunshine, the people along the route having picnics and waving, the crowds in Harleston, the tears in Harleston, my surprise visitors at the picnic, the breeze on your face as you're driving, the Norfolk summer landscape, meeting another Dutch pink lady, feeling I've never driven the tractor so well, raising money for a good cause, and above all, gratitude."