This rivalry about who has the biggest, could soon be consigned to the history books, as plans to recommend replacing large tractors with small robotic battery powered vehicles, which look similar to old fashioned Bubble cars take shape. A small army of them would replace conventional tractors, to cultivate the fields, drill and spray the crops.
The advantage we are told, is that these lightweight robotics pass lightly over the ground, thus causing little structural damage to the soil.
Having struggled to achieve a perfect seed bed this autumn, as we repeatedly waited for a window of two consecutive dry days, I wonder if such machinery would have helped the situation.
I suspect on our heavy weald clay, a small lightweight robot would have found the conditions somewhat challenging. However, if someone is looking for a farm for trials next spring, we are open to offers.
Reports that before long few of us will be buying cars is interesting. We shall instead hire them when we want to go on a journey. Our smart phone will alert an App, and a car turn up at the door.
For long journeys, beyond the range of battery powered vehicles, you drop into a depot and exchange it for another.
Those already in the car hire business such as Hertz and Avis are surely ahead of the game. Mind you, I doubt that farmers will be queuing up to exchange their 4 x 4s, or tractors for this brain child just yet.
What lucky children are those who attend Dandelion Education nursery, in the village of Marsham in Norfolk. They play outside all day, in all weathers. They mess about with mud, bricks, homemade bows and arrows, and drill holes in pumpkins and other objects, with power drills.
This nursery school was rated outstanding by Ofsted, and has been named Nursery of the Year by education magazine Nursery World.
The two ladies who opened the Dandelion, are former primary school teachers who were disillusioned by the state system. They consider it is no longer designed for children, but more for bureaucrats and spreadsheets. How refreshing to hear this reality voiced.
These fortunate little children are encouraged to get dirty, experiment and push the boundaries. They build fortes, make their own swings and slides, and if they want to create something they work together as a team. As their teachers say, ‘the only limit is their imagination’.
Perhaps Ofsted should use their influence to introduce this attitude into schools which currently ban conkers, running in the playground, competitive sports, prize-giving and tests.
I suspect the Dandelion children will be baffled when they move on to junior school and beyond, when faced with neutral gender loos and uniforms, quiet rooms to recover from ‘trigger’ words uttered in class room, such as work, dirt, competition, war and assault, which ‘may cause them stress’.
Schools are duty bound to reflect life’s experiences and prepare children for the real world. Having been cocooned through their childhood and adolescence, and wrapped in cotton wool, too many emerge as adults unable to face reality.
Life is challenging and competitive, there are hard knocks. School children deserve to be allowed to experience not coming first, and not being rewarded for moderate work, in a safe environment amongst their peers. They need to find out what they can do and be motivated, but also what they can’t do.
Many of today’s unfortunate kids will never face failure until they hit adulthood, when the reality of life will hit them hard; perhaps sinking them into depression or worse. They need to experience competitiveness, success and failure. It is all good character forming stuff, which never did anyone any harm.