With the families ever increasing acreage, dismantling engines and putting them back together became par for the course for Paul and by the age of fourteen he was happily rebuilding Fordson engines. “By the time I was sixteen there wasn’t much I couldn’t repair”, says Paul. “I taught myself how to weld and fabricate things, I just got on with it and I enjoyed it.”

Soon, the family were investing in more machinery to work the land which included a Massey Ferguson 726 Combine. “We then moved onto a Claas Mercury which was followed by a range of New Hollands from the 1550 to the Ford TF44 combine that I use today”, explains Paul. “For spraying we always used a tractor sprayer until about fiſteen years ago when I moved onto a Cheviot self-propelled which I have just recently replaced with the newer version.” As a young man Paul was honoured to be entrusted to also run Moles Farm in Ware by the late Mr Wodson. “Mr Wodson recognised and respected the way I worked the land, especially aſter my parents separate passings when I took over sole charge”, says Paul. “Moles farm is one of the heaviest land farms in Hertfordshire and you need to be on it and off it in breakneck speed, and in the right weather to make anything from it. However, if you get all those components right, the yield is amazing and it’s a joy to work.” Paul finds it hard to talk about Moles Farm as his long-term tenancy has been cut short by the imminent arrival of Ware’s

new mass housing development. “It’s terrible and I’m not dealing with it at all well”, admits Paul with a tear to his eye. “I have a commitment to the land and the farm and to the late Mr Wodson. I’m struggling not so much with the housing because that always has to be, but it’s everything else that goes with that.”

Change is something that Paul will readily admit struggling

with (especially when it comes to Moles Farm), but he is more than aware that he must move with the times. “You have to have the right varieties of crop, the right chemicals and all at the right price”, says Paul. “There is always a happy medium between the old and new techniques and black grass is a good example. We have kept to the old way of growing enough wheat as not to push our luck and continued to rotate our crops and this so far has kept us out of trouble.” Walking into Ware Park today is like stepping back in time and the farmyard is home to many old pieces of equipment and machinery. “We have a new New Holland tractor that is replaced every three years, but we still have most of the old tractors that were bought many years ago still working the farm today”, says Paul. “We have a Ford 7600 that’s donkeys years old, two Ford 4000’s that we still use to swipe the game covers and a Ford 5000 and 7600 for spares!” Pauls love of old Ford tractors is a relationship that has been built up through many ‘tried and tested’ years. “They hardly ever break down and if they do, they are very easy to fix”, states Paul. “Spare parts are also readily available due to the amount of machines Ford produced back then.” There is no denying that Paul’s heart lies in old machines, but he is not averse to modern day farming techniques or machinery. “The steering systems on the new huge rubber tracked crawlers, the big wheeled tractors and the combines is quite amazing”, says Paul. “However, it’s all very well when it works but if you can’t drive something manually in a straight line and it breaks down, you are going to be in trouble.” Another one of Paul’s pride and joys that most certainly is driven manually is his Caterpillar D6D crawler. “The D6D was the most amazing Caterpillar range ever built”, says Paul passionately. “They could pull a bloody house down and they go on and on and on. I use ours regularly for ploughing, cultivating and flat liſting.” For drilling, Paul still uses a Track Marshall. “It can get a bit

nippy and rattly at times”, laughs Paul. “We also have a Track Marshall 155 but that has a habit of eating gearboxes so that is in semi-retirement at the moment!” As Paul approaches his 70th birthday and with the sad end in sight of his beloved tenure at Moles Farm I ask him what he is most proud of as a famer, “Being able to do and by doing anything and everything that the world has ever thrown at me”, concludes Paul. “I will just keep getting up, doing what I love and I daresay, facing the many other hurdles ahead.”

Please mention THE VINTAGE SCENE when responding to advertisements SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 9

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