Despite sitting in a pool of water that the waterproofs did not manage to keep out, this was really really enjoyable and I was so impressed how maneuverable it is, much more agile than a car, and no comparison with a Gator which is rather stiff.
Without a trailer, it is dead easy to drive around. With a trailer, reversing is a bit more complicated, as you have to turn the wheel the opposite way to where you want the trailer to go - will need practice on that.
Then I got a quick look inside the bonnet (luckily we have a mechanic on site, so we have help at hand when needed, but I found the tractor manual online), before I was finally taught how to adjust the seating (if you are not sitting straight and square the engine turns off, for safety) and drive off:
- turning on the diesel engine
- turning up the revs
- using the range gear
- accelerating (speed control pedal forward) and reversing (speed control pedal backwards)
- using the brake pedal and handbreak.
My instructor asked me to take a few rounds around the yard, doing the odd safety stop (engine off and all) before teaching me how to attach the trailer:
- reversing to align to the trailer
- safely firming the trailer pin
- lifting trailer jack stand completely so it's out of the way
- releasing brake
- attaching hydraulic pump
Finally I was taught how to tip the trailer, and, the complicated stuff: how to reverse!
It was hard work, but at the end, both instructor and instructed seemed pleased.
It was suggested I take a tractor on another rainy day when it's not needed and practice before the gardens' opening time, which I will be delighted to do. Some rain please...