After a hearty breakfast late Sunday morning cooked by the main man, we headed out to the barn for my tractor driving lesson. I didn't let on but I was extremely nervous about this, having never driven one before and knowing what an important part of Rob's family heritage this vehicle was. I was actually petrified but being me I stuck my chin out and and strode forth.
Rob took control and I felt at ease under his command; he was firm but not intimidating and slowly I found myself relaxing and trusting his teaching skills. We poodled out of the garage and trundled up the drive to the road. We were going onto the road! Yee Ha! In for a penny, in for a pound, and going through the gears we motored at a sedate pace down the hill with Rob perched behind me.
I was enjoying this and my confidence was growing so much that I started imagining how cool it would be to have a blinged out tractor with a metallic paint job, chromed light rims, diamond and alloy wheels plus a Coach or Guess compartment behind the seat to hold shopping bags. Hmmm.
Rob and me blasting down the road.
Oh Oh, there's that big scary truck behind me.
We turned around and headed back to the cottage where I had to reverse the tractor back into the garage. I managed that without incident and was extremely stoked that my tractor lesson had gone so well.
After mooching around for a bit, we headed into town and Rob took me past the house that a private plane crashed into and obliterated the residence. It was the first time I'd seen crime scene tape in real life.
I was then very excited when Rob took me to an abandoned mill he'd found previously when out cruising around on his motorbike.Was he a potential urbexer? We arrived at the mill and I was frustrated that I didn't have a tripod with me but Rob mentioned how beautiful the place would be with fall colors so I guessed that a trip later in the year would be an excellent idea.
The footbridge leading inside the mill was definitely hazardous so we had to enter from below.
Inside, it was dry and filled with old machinery, casks, sacking and a few old tools. The floors were treacherous with many holes and wobbly floorboards but I managed to navigate my way across to the stairs and headed upwards, finding more casks and machinery upstairs.
I caught Rob examining some pieces of paper but we couldn't find any business documentation. This page was the only information I could find online about the mill but it looks very much the same as it did in 1936.
We ascertained that as well as a grinding mill, the building probably doubled as a saw mill judging by the wood and machinery on the side of the building. On our way out, we bumped into a guy called Jo who stopped and chatted. He was staying at a local commune and was heading towards another a few miles away.
I loved his old bike which belonged to the commune and was obviously free for all members to use. I'm not sure that I could have completed my previous day's mileage on it, and Rob's also looking pretty sceptical as he ponders over the lack of gears.
After a long chat with Jo and an exchange of info, we drove back to the cottage passing this tumbling down house perched up on a hill. We pumped up the tires on Rob's mountain bike and had a quick ride up and down the lane. Swapping bikes, I decided to attempt a BMX stunt and was feeling pretty chuffed when I executed a jump over a tree root and landed successfully. Unfortunately, I thought a broadside skid would be pretty cool too but this didn't work as well especially when I locked the front brake instead of the back.
So I ended up with an awesome boo boo on my left leg which bled copiously and a dented ego. Whatever. My English teacher once said, 'you have all your life to grow up.' Not quite sure that I'll ever get there though...