Big, yellow, Massey Ferguson!

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When we moved to France, getting a tractor was a priority. Our property has over eight acres of land and a tractor would be a big help. We finally found just the thing – a big, yellow, Massey Ferguson with a front loader and a digger on the back – a monster machine! Although old, we’d been reliably informed that a Massey Ferguson lasts forever. Buying it in the UK and transporting it was still cheaper than buying one here. A tractor has to be insured and I also found that, if driven on the main road, it has to have a revolving orange light.

Hydraulic pipe splits

We started work digging out our drive to lay stones. The tractor did well. Then we started on the field, digging out a space for a vegetable patch and foundations for a polytunnel. Disaster struck when one of the hydraulic pipes sprung a leak. So we removed the pipe and headed to the local Massey Ferguson garage. Armed with French phrases, so we could explain what we needed, we spoke to the guy behind the counter… something was wrong… he needed something else… the non-return valve that the split pipe connects to. Problem – it was firmly attached to the hydraulic arm that raises the front loader and, no matter how hard we tried, it was stuck. I explained we couldn’t get the valve off – “C’est impossible!”  A shrug… I realised that meant they needed it anyway!

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So, I took a photo of the valve and returned, hoping they would recognise the type we needed. They laughed… they needed the part, as this particular type hasn’t been used for years. We had no option… some time later we returned, carrying the whole hydraulic arm, which we’d had to remove! This caused much hilarity… felt a bit like a scene from ‘Allo ‘Allo! However, an hour later and 30 Euros lighter, the new pipe was fixed to the arm ready to go.

More money

The following week, we needed a new inner tube for the small front tyre – 41 Euros. Two weeks later the same tyre was flat: this time a whole new tyre and inner tube were needed, as the rough metal rim of the wheel had re-punctured the inner tube… and the tyre was split – 154 Euros. There are loads of pipes and they’re all old, so we suspect several more trips are on the cards, so I guess it’s a bit of a liability. Still, it’s worth it, it has saved us so much time; we’d never have managed all the digging by hand and the polytunnel looks great!

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