Is fixing things in the blood? My wife, a dogged problem-solver, has regular “daughter of an engineer” moments. This is more than an observation of family history, rather a state of mind. If the washing machine breaks, her first recourse is not to reach for the warranty, but for a spanner. She will search YouTube for a diagnosis and “how to” advice on repairs.

Crucially, and in stark contrast to her husband, she does not despair at the first setback. She is methodical, logical and patient. Looking on, I feel no sense of emasculation, only gratitude that we have swerved a call-out fee.

Brilliantly, too, she is determined to hand on this mindset – sensibility, more like – to our children. I recently heard her laud our eldest, flushed with success at having unblocked a loo, with the highest praise dispensable in the Brazier household: “Granddaughter of an engineer!”

I am not utterly hapless with a wrench, so long as the problem can be remedied quickly. But this slapdash attitude must change. The reason for this sits, at the time of writing, immobile in our pony paddock. My 30-year-old John Deere tractor is a source of wonder and the setting for a sharp learning curve. When I bought it to harrow our fields and pull a poo-trailer, I didn’t know one end of a grease gun from another. Bit by bit, I am getting there.

But it’s important to walk before running. I am calling in help to get the fuel filter changed and pump bled. Next year, I might have a go myself.

Is it possible for effete TV-types like me to make out like a mechanic? A few years ago I read a book by someone who asked themselves the same question.

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